Weigh In on Two Big Decisions Facing Our Fire Department

The Long Beach City Council is considering two vital policy decisions on how our fire and paramedic services are funded and staffed. They are considering the implementation of an Alternative Paramedic Deployment Model and also considering the policy on the use of Ground Emergency Medical Transportation funding to restore fire fighter staffing levels.

Should the revenue from AB 678 go to the fire department as a “net gain” to their budget to help restore resources that have been cut over the past several years?

Assembly Member Richard Pan of Sacramento sponsored AB 678 and it was passed unanimously by the Senate, Assembly, and signed by Governor Brown in 2011. This bill allows local fire departments to be reimbursed for Medi-Cal ground emergency medical transportation services that Long Beach firefighters perform every day. AB 678 was brought forward to help restore fire engines and paramedic rescue units that have been eliminated due to the weakened Long Beach economy. The proceeds from this bill were clearly intended to become “net gains” to fire department budgets. Firefighters, in an effort to help restore staffing to the citizens of Long Beach, worked with Sacramento elected to bring forward this legislation. The money from this legislation can restore fire engines and rescues if it is used by the City Council as intended. The intent of the legislation was to restore service cuts and be realized as “net gains” to fire department budgets. Firefighters have brought forward the ability to restore services at no additional cost to the citizens of Long Beach. The following are what some of long beach’s elected state representatives had to say about the intent of the funding: Former Senator Alan Lowenthal (now Congressman): “AB 678 was clearly intended to give fire departments a “net gain” in their respective budgets as a way to compensate for their previously unreimbursed costs of transporting Medi-Cal patients.”
No. The funds should be absorbed by the general fund.
Yes. The Fire Department should be reimbursed for its existing Medi-Cal medical transportation services and utilize the generated revenue to restore staffing levels and improve response times.

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