Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County Commission seeks change in law on EMS funding

County commissioners have agreed to ask the Legislature to rewrite state law so they can change the way they pay for emergency medical services in Pinellas.

Under current law, the county must provide enough money to make sure that the level of service does not fall below that which existed in 1989, when the statute was passed, without consent of the fire districts that provide EMS service. County officials have interpreted that to mean they must give the districts whatever amount of money they ask for with no questions asked.

Now, however, County Administrator Bob LaSala says the EMS system is facing bankruptcy in 2013 if nothing is done. The solution, he says, is increasing income and cutting back expenses.

Last month, the commission agreed to increase the countywide property tax rate for EMS by 46 percent. And last week, LaSala increased ambulance fees by 3.3 percent to bring more money into the system.

Next, LaSala wants to change the funding for the 18 fire districts by, among other things, paying for fewer firefighter-paramedics and paying the countywide average salary and benefits for those in the system rather than reimbursing their actual salaries and benefits.

But to make that change without fear that one of the districts will file a lawsuit objecting to it, state law must be altered. The proposal is to have the Legislature change the EMS statute to allow the county to determine what the funding level should be.

State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, have agreed to sponsor the bill. It must be approved by the Pinellas County legislative delegation and the Legislature and signed by the governor before it would become law.

If it does pass this coming session of the Legislature, that would clear the way for LaSala's funding proposal to take effect Oct. 1, 2012.

The legislative delegation and the County Commission are scheduled to meet Oct. 25 to discuss both the EMS proposal and other initiatives the county wants lawmakers to pursue. The commission is scheduled earlier that day to discuss LaSala's overall proposal. Both meetings are open to the public.

Reach Anne Lindberg at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Pinellas County Commission seeks change in law on EMS funding 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest

    BY AMY SCHERZER

    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.