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Mich. city council considers billing senior living facilities for non-emergency EMS calls

Warren city council voted to have an ordinance written billing the residential facilities for lift assists and other non-emergency calls


City of Warren Fire Department/Facebook

By Susan Smiley
The Macomb Daily

WARREN, Mich. — The Warren City Council is seeking to implement a cost-recovery ordinance for non-emergency EMS runs to residential living facilities and fire runs due to utility power failures.

“We have discussed this over the years with the fire department and the former EMS chief, and especially when there are new administrators at some of the residential senior living facilities, nursing homes if you will, they will call EMS for lift assists and non-emergency services that the facility itself should be providing,” said Council Secretary Mindy Moore.

Moore said with EMS having to respond to those non-emergency calls, it takes away from units being able to respond to emergency situations.

The City Council voted 6-1 to direct its attorney, Jeffrey Schroder, to write an ordinance that would require those facilities making non-emergency EMS calls to pay the city for that service. Moore directed Schroder to speak with fire personnel when fashioning the ordinance.

The City Council also asked Schroder to write an ordinance addressing situations where downed power lines are not immediately addressed by utility companies and Warren’s fire department is called to the scene.

“We are looking for some means to recover the costs of responding to those situations,” Moore said.

Sterling Heights recently implemented a similar ordinance where residential facilities are charged $500 for non-emergency transport and $800 for lift assists.

“It is not that the fire department does not want to provide these services, but with the change in management at some of these facilities it seems that some of the owners are looking to cut costs and see they can call the city for things like this and it is free,” Lafferty said. “You want to leverage that, then you are going to receive a bill for those services.

“We just want to make sure these businesses are paying their fair share.”

Councilman Gary Boike voted against the motion to create the ordinance.

Boike said he is not against charging for those services, but believes the proposed $500 fee might be too low to curtail businesses from relying on EMS for non-emergency services. He said the fire department should have input into the ordinance and what the charges for a non-emergency run should be.

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