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Murrieta Paramedic Fee Effective in January

Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert said that while the $350 fee—or less-expensive annual subscription—is effective in the new year, January will bring a "soft" launch of the program.

A fee for emergency medical response provided by the Murrieta Fire Department is set to go into effect Jan. 1.

The EMS Subscription Program is a cost-recovery program that charges $350 per response, per person for each medical aid response that is performed by Murrieta Fire Department, according to an informational posting on the city website.

This does not include charges incurred by patients who are transported in an ambulance or provided other care by an ambulance company—which are covered by medical insurance or bill separately by the ambulance provider, the city stated.

After a series of public hearings, the Murrieta City Council in July voted 4-1 to establish the voluntary program and related response fees. City officials including the fire chief recommended it as a way to recoup paramedic-related costs incurred by the cash-strapped Fire Department.

“We didn’t invent this program,” said Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert. “We are adopting a mainstream program other departments have been doing for decades.”

Revenues for the Fire Department fell by 24 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to city officials; the Fire Department has been using economic contingency funds—and dealing pay cuts—because a fire assessment collected along with annual property taxes does not provide for paramedic services required under the state’s emergency medical act.

As an alternative to being charged $350 per response, the EMS Subscription Program gives residents and business owners the option of paying an annual fee ranging from $48 per household and—based on the number of employees— between $75 and $300 per business.

Shobert said that while the program does begin in the new year, the month of January will bring a "soft" roll out of the program.

“It is a soft launch. No one is going to get a $350 bill if they haven’t had an option to sign up yet,” Shobert said. “The responding crews will have no idea if they are a subscriber or not—that will not come into play.”

In November, a third-party company that will handle billing as well as a website for payment of subscription.

Since then, a public awareness campaign has been underway, he said.

Letters—31,000 of them—explaining the fee were mailed out during recent weeks, Shobert said.

The next piece of correspondence to households and businesses will be a notice containing a special combination of numbers, he said.

That code may then be used to sign up to pay the subscription fee, he said.

“No one is going to get a bill without ample opportunity to join the program.”

Shobert said some details are still being worked out, such as who is responsible for payment when paramedics respond to large public facilities such as schools.

"That issue came up last week and we are still researching how a multi-location business situation would apply."

Something that will never come into play when Murrieta firefighter/paramedics arrive on scene to administer emergency care, Shobert said, is whether a person is subscribed.

Deejai December 30, 2012 at 07:43 PM
remember when Congress was going to have OBAMA care just like all of us and then they opted out?? wasnt good enough for them. So I want to know if all these fire fighters families who reside in Murrieta are being charged this fee or are they exempt? Just curious? What about city council members are you all paying too? Seems everytime I turn my taxes go up and they simply do not cover enough so now they give us fees!!! This is unjustice and I for one say we all need to rebel and take to the streets .. enough is enough.. Dont ask me to fill your boots this year!
Baby Daddy December 30, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Lame. What a bunch of incompetent shisters. Cops & firefighters should be appreciated, but are way overrated
Theotis December 30, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Popeye, please thank your Mom for the beautiful Blumpkin. You might not notice her when you get back to your trailer as I shaved her back. ha ha ha
woodysroundup December 30, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Mr/Ms. EQ, I'd want to find out exactly how much of our property tax dollar goes to the FD. Then we can figure out if we are getting ripped off like you feel. All I know at the moment is that my family who live in Rancho Cucamonga pay over $200.00 a year on their tax bill for fire protection.
Scott Tucker December 30, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Well, I'm going to pay their $48, I can't afford not to. Chances are I'll need the FD's resources at some point in the future. However, I do it under protest, for all the good that will do me. Now, for a couple of points. First, FD staffing is set by State law. That is to say that a certain number of engines/trucks will be staffed by firefighters and or paramedics for every so many residents. They must be staffed 24/7/365. Most of the time the equipment and staff sit in the stations, waiting for a call. So think about this. Say, as some of you suggest, you cut some of these resources to save money. What this will result in is extended response times, doing more with less remember? Now, say it's your house that's on fire, or it's you laying on the floor doing the funky chicken while you wait on the Paramedics to save your life. Do you want extended response times?? This may be a case of "Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it".
ges December 31, 2012 at 12:24 AM
We died out along time ago. A former volunteer.
Crash Croggins December 31, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Somebody has to pay for their outrageous pensions and pay raises while the rest of us suffer. Keep voting for more taxes suckers!
Rob December 31, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Scenario - you are riding your bike and a car side swipes you. The car stops, the nearby home owner calls 911 and 5 minutes later a cop and paramedic pull up. You never called and feel fine. Who pays the bill the driver of the car the bike rider, the home owner? I assume it will be the one who is provided care..... Do we now need to REFUSE care to avoid the bill?! ALL of the comments about Murrieta city employees pay, fiscal mismanagement, etc are ones I support. I could toss in link after link about their outrageous pay. 35% of all city staff make over $100K, from clerks to the librarian. The WORST of this lot are the COPS. Average pay is near $130,000/year. 20 years to have full pension. 34% make over $100K How makes over 100K? The librarian, Community Development Director, HR Director, The Director of Finance (HELLO!) (who should be fired) and THIRTEEN Paramedic Firefighters. Two are under $100K. I wonder if they help you while grocery shopping if you get a discount? http://gcc.sco.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/City.aspx?entityid=349&fiscalyear=2011 http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/murrieta/article_96628400-f010-5b80-b597-e9eb957e79d5.html Murrieta is every bit as bad as Bell, they just spread the money around more evenly. (The public sector unions must go. Stand up or lose California to the radical leftist who use the public sector unions as the point of their spear.)
all-c-ing-eye December 31, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Well $48.00 isnt going to put most of us in the poor house but even if its only a buck is it right? As so many here have asked, lets see the paperwork that justifies it. Remember it was the council that tried to ram through that red light camera thing although most residents did not want any part of it. [it was voted on] Perhaps this should require a vote as well. If its justified, so be it.
Ed P. December 31, 2012 at 03:55 AM
This has nothing to do with your house on fire. Jeesh.
suny December 31, 2012 at 04:50 AM
I want to know why the people are not being heard? This should be brought to vote. Our military men/women save lives ,they do not prosper from such pensions, salaries, benefits like that of the FD dept, city employees, gov employees. They not only save our lives but they secure our freedoms. Yet, the city of Murrieta seems to think it is okay to take those freedoms away, no vote? I am sick of being dictated too. I want in writing , a contract, that these rates will not go up each year when the recipients feel a need for a pay raise or better benefits then they already have. Right now there is NO assurance. 45 today is 450 tomorrow. When does the madness end. It might not be alot to some but to some its all. . By the way, those AMR EMTs and Paramedics make minimul momies, have terrible benefits and they are the ones who show up first at your doorstep , they will benefit none from any of this. In fact, the insurance company still pays the tab for their transport and services. Why dont we have an opption to call 811 for medical response, using AMR and let the fire department stay sitting in their fire houses watching ball games and cooking on the tax payers buck? Seems to me this whole thing is distorted and taken out of content. Where is the MONEY? We are all paying hefty taxes already. Where is the MONEY?
Mr. Logical December 31, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Randon Lane has my vote for Mayor or any other office he chooses to run for. I am going to email him and see if he can fix this mistake. What is the process for bringing it up for another vote with a chance for the public to voice their opinion?
Mr. Logical December 31, 2012 at 05:28 AM
I just read what Council Member Lane said when this was being put up for vote; (this is a quote from an earlier report on patch) "Councilman Randon Lane said he preferred to let residents vote on whether they would support a fee. "You are calling it a voluntary $48, but the $350 on the back end is not voluntary," Lane said. "Let's ask the voters to make a decision on that and not dictate from here that (they) are going to be assessed that fee...I believe our citizens would support a $48 a year...but to do this tonight, I can not support it."
jenn December 31, 2012 at 06:36 AM
I understand our city needs the money to pay but to some of us barely holding on to our mortgages... $48 is a lot. We have no extra money right now. Can there be payment plans for those that can't pay right away?
C.E. December 31, 2012 at 08:12 AM
"Whatever happened to volunteer firefighters?" Are you serious? This isn't Mayberry. Who has time to work and risk their lives for free? To those that complain about salaries and benefits. You have the same freedom to pursue those jobs just Like they did. I'm against the fee/tax for the record.
jim monaco December 31, 2012 at 09:21 PM
It is hard to add anything to what has already been written. I did not think there were any people left in california that had not drank the cool-aid. Thank God there are some of us that are not liberal sheep. This corrupt state is determined to maintain the bloated union pensions and bennies so they can keep their bought and paid for votes.
LetsBfair December 31, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Many men and women would volunteer at the fire department. There are thousands of people waiting to get on a fire department. There are many firefighters looking for work. Murrieta would easily have experienced volunteer firefighters sitting in the station just waiting excitingly for a call. Some Firefighters would do this job for free. Murrieta and Temecula have been tricked by their RICH city council members and being told that "you pay" while all of our friends get RICH. We are suckers and we keep voting the same people back into office but want different results.
Scott Tucker January 01, 2013 at 12:25 AM
You know Jim, you have a point about the Kool-Aid drinkers. Everyone I talk to is against the current Kalifornia Administration, yet somehow they got elected. Things that make you go hmmmm.
MissVelia January 01, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Wonder what would be more cost affective, getting a speeding ticket for racing to a hospital or call the Fire Department! Next thing you know they'll be asking for tips and charging you by the gallon of water it takes to put your house fire out? I am the wife of a firefighter in another county and I think this is just sad. Can't imagen how many people will die because of these fees. Truly heart breaking.
Scott Tucker January 01, 2013 at 06:13 AM
Well check this out. I got my "Bill" so I figured I'd go online and pay it (like I said previously, I can't afford not to). Guess what??? It wouldn't let me!!! I kept getting a server error message. So I left a nastygram on their contact page.
SA January 02, 2013 at 10:58 PM
The City is a thief, bully and thug. This new fee is wrong across the board.
Shakeyconpanales January 02, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Move
Alek J Hidell January 05, 2013 at 05:20 AM
Now hopefully many will be to afraid to call 911 when they think they might get charged. Good. So now we can start laying off the unnecessary firemen waiting around doing nothing. Let's start with this chief Shobert, we can start by cutting his salary...by 50%.. No mention of course is made to Murrieta renters, only property owners get these absurd "subscription" notices
Aaron January 06, 2013 at 04:28 AM
Harry Ramos
Aaron January 06, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Many of you share the same feelings as I do about this unconstitutional, illegal, 2nd tier tax enacted on us Murrieta residents. I am in the process of drafting a letter to the council, mayor and (new) fire chief. I will not pay this fee. I will not stand for this extortion. I will not allow my legislators to hold hostage my basic safety services, education, etc. However, please remember that these firefighters are our first responders and as a veteran of the USMC, I appreciate the job they CHOSE to do for us when they are willing to put their lives at risk. I ask that you remember that as well. But, when you read the staggering numbers of overtime and income across ALL of these public service offices/jobs, it is time to be smart and make changes to function within the budget allotted.
Aaron January 06, 2013 at 06:07 AM
Strike that. I believe it was Randon Lane.
Aaron January 06, 2013 at 08:20 AM
look at this...I'm not an attorney but it appears that this fee is illegal according to prop 26 which was approved by CA voters back in nov 2010 by 52%... http://www.lao.ca.gov/ballot/2010/26_11_2010.aspx http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_26,_Supermajority_Vote_to_Pass_New_Taxes_and_Fees_(2010) essentially, this says the city must place this fee to the voters if the city wants to levy this fee/tax. while there are exemptions for government product/service...the medical response qualifies...the service must be provided to those who pay and cannot be provided to those who dont. because medical response/care cannot be withheld, the service is therefore given to everyone and therefore does not meet the exemption standard http://www.californiacityfinance.com/Prop26faq101218.pdf so... does this MRF violate the law as set forth in prop 26?
Aaron January 06, 2013 at 09:00 AM
First and foremost, you might want to learn English if we are to take you seriously. Then vs than? Nobody vs no buddy? You're vs your? Also, the firefighters will have a job (it is a job that is in demand) they will simply earn less, i.e less overtime, pay cuts, etc. Lastly, if every person took your lemming approach to government, nobody would have any money because everyone would simply stop complaining and just pay.
Aaron January 06, 2013 at 09:09 AM
RC is also a higher fire danger area...i.e wind, low mountains, plenty of brush that goes unabated, etc. This is not about a rip off, scam, etc. It is about the city legislators imposing their will on tax payers without a voter approved raise for fire protection and medical response. this program is not voluntary, it's not a donation, but a levy, a tax...that we voters/citizens did not approve
Dalene Becerra January 08, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Yes, and I am a paramedical examiner and have been to a couple houses here in murrieta, the firefighters own, they are huge and they drive top of the line cars! These firefighters are making bank!

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