CHS recently wrote about some small but life-saving changes in the way Seattle Fire responds to medical emergencies. This fall, King County residents will have the opportunity to vote to continue funding one of the underpinnings of 911 response in the city and through the county — Medic One. While it seems unlikely the levy could possibly fail at the ballot box, the announcement below from the King County Council is worth a read for a better understanding of how this vital service was created and how it works today.
Voters to decide in November on six-year levy
for Medic One services
Voters will have the opportunity to reauthorize funding for the regional system of paramedic and ambulance services with today’s unanimous adoption by the Metropolitan King County Council to place a six-year Medic One and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy on the November general election ballot.
“The Emergency Medical Services system in King County is nationally known for its success at saving lives,” said Reagan Dunn. “I look forward to the voters of King County determining the worthiness of this measure and I am pleased to sponsor this legislation.”
“Today’s vote marks the culmination of a regional process involving EMS providers, labor leaders, and elected officials,” said Larry Gossett, Chair of the King County Council. “Now it is up to the voters to have the final say in the process.”
“Medic One saves lives, and now voters can decide whether to reinvest in this service,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “My thanks to the County Council and all the cities involved for putting this important question on the ballot.”
Founded in 1970 as a Seattle Fire Department program, Medic One was an innovator in bringing physician-level assistance to cardiac victims at the scene of a heart attack. Medic One was expanded in 1979 into a countywide levy-funded program that serves all of King County.
“This levy provides the voters with a direct voice regarding reauthorization of funding for Medic One and Emergency Services,” said Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson. “This proposal will determine the level of emergency response services for residents throughout the county.”
“I welcome having the voters of King County review and consider reaffirming Medic One’s nationally recognized services for the next six years,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “The stakeholder inspired strategic plan for the next six years builds on Medic One’s historical success and legacy.”
“For four decades, King County’s EMS system has been in place for County residents. Now the voters will have the opportunity to decide if they want it to continue for years to come,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget & Fiscal Management Committee.
The Medic One/EMS system uses a tiered response model to help provide patients with medical care by the most appropriate care provider. The system relies heavily upon coordinated partnerships with fire departments, paramedic agencies, dispatch centers and hospitals to deliver services.
“Voters in King County will decide this November whether to renew support of Medic One,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Since 1979, MedicOne has provided life support services to people throughout King County; the levy would provide funding for six more years.”
“I’m proud of the quality of King County’s Medic One/Emergency Medical Services Program. We deliver quality care to our citizens in medical crisis. The EMS program continues to work on improvements to offer cost efficiencies to taxpayers,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “This levy will address a more efficient management of the calls received through the expanded Community Medical Technician (CMT) pilot program. We have maintained the same cost per ambulance as in the last levy.”
“This proposal is a model of regional cooperation and partnerships throughout King County,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “I thank the EMS Advisory Task Force for its work in proposing this renewed levy program.”
If adopted, the measure would assess a levy of up to $0.335 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That is the rate recommended in the MedicOne/EMS 2014-2019 Strategic Plan developed by a 19-member EMS Advisory Task Force and over 100 stakeholders representing all parts of the regional system – paramedic providers, fire agencies, hospitals, emergency doctors, communications centers, and labor.
Their proposal would cost the owner of a $320,000 home approximately $107 a year.
As required by state law, the nine cities in the county with populations of more than 50,000 must support placement of the countywide measure on the ballot. Those cities are Auburn, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Renton, Shoreline and Seattle, whose City Council today approved placing the measure on the ballot.