Md. town asks county to cover more EMS costs

The town wants to be repaid nearly $400,000 for service to another part of the county

By EMS1 Staff

OCEAN CITY, Md. — A Maryland town is asking county officials to cover more of the town’s EMS operation expenses and pay them about $400,000 for service to a nearby unincorporated area.

Ocean City officials say the cost of covering nearby West Ocean City in Worcester County has grown to more than $1 million over the last year as continuing development projects have led to more medical emergencies, Delmarva Now reported. County grants have covered just over $650,000, leaving a deficit of nearly $400,000.

Another factor in the rising costs is the transition of EMS services from the town's volunteer fire company to the paid fire department. 

The town says it estimates costs to add more full-time staff to its West Ocean City station will be $1.2 million, plus another $400,000 for a new ambulance and station modifications.

In a letter to the county, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan gives four options for the county to resolve the issue, including the repayment of any deficits left by grants, year-round reimbursement for the staffing and maintenance of the West Ocean City station, increased grants to the town, or the establishment of “medical response districts” and a new tax to pay for them.

Meehan says he wants the county to begin conversations about EMS funding issues by January.

Should the county reject all requests and discussions, Meehan says the town “would have to consider all options,” including ceasing EMS service to West Ocean City.

Worcester County Chief Administrative Officer Harold Higgins said the request would be addressed as part of the county’s budget process next spring.

“Not only Ocean County, but all the other fire companies are asking for additional funding so to address this issue it’s now going to be a budgetary issue for the fiscal year 2021,” Higgins said.


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