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Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: fire

A veteran Baltimore County career Fire lieutenant died early this morning in a motorcycle crash in Prince George's County. Another motorcyclist also died in this crash.

Hubert Harrison Jr., 63, has served with the Baltimore County Fire Department for nearly 29 years. He was promoted to Paramedic/Firefighter in 2004 and achieved the rank of lieutenant in 2009.

His most recent assignment was Fire Dispatch, where he was responsible for assigning equipment and personnel to emergency calls. He worked at Fire Dispatch in Towson last night and left when his shift ended at about 4 a.m. He apparently was on his way back to his home in Bowie when the fatal crash occurred.

"This is a terrible loss for the Fire Department and an even greater tragedy for Lt. Harrison's family," said Fire Chief John Hohman. "We offer heartfelt condolences to his wife and loved ones, and will offer all the support we can in the difficult days ahead."

The Prince George's County Police Department is handling the investigation. Preliminary information from PGPD indicates that the crash occurred at about 4:40 a.m. in the 11500 block of Laurel-Bowie Road. Harrison's 2014 Honda Goldwing motorcycle collided, head on, with another motorcycle. Both motorcyclists died at the scene.

Questions about the crash should be referred to PGPD.

Baltimore County Police are investigating a crash on Reisterstown Road Thursday afternoon that left a woman deceased.

At 3:09 p.m., police responded to Reisterstown Road and St Thomas Center for a report of a serious crash.

The preliminary investigation into this incident has indicated that a Baltimore County EMS Supervisor was en route to a priority call when his vehicle collided with a Honda passenger car.

The driver of the Honda, 72-year-old Delores Scott, was declared deceased at the scene. Her dog, rIding in the car with her, also died in the crash.

The EMS supervisor was taken to Sinai Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Reisterstown Road was closed in both directions at St Thomas Center while the preliminary investigation was conducted. It re-opened at 6:40 p.m.

This incident remains under investigation by the Baltimore County Police Crash Team. The investigation is expected to take several weeks.

The Baltimore County Fire Department plans to begin recouping patient transport costs from private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid and investing those funds in public resources.

A proposal to begin billing and collecting funds for emergency medical  transports from private insurers, Medicaid and Medicare is scheduled for County Council discussion on July 28 and a Council vote on August 3. The proposal includes contracting with MED3000 Inc., a Pittsburgh-based health care management company, to handle billing and collection.

Across Maryland and the nation, such billing and collection has become a standard, accepted part of Fire administration and an important mechanism for offsetting the costs of medical transport. In Maryland, Calvert and Baltimore counties are the only jurisdictions that do not charge insurers for transport fees or levy a fire tax to help cover the cost of such transports. EMS service accounts for the overwhelming majority of calls received by fire departments.

Baltimore County residents will not be personally responsible for paying for ambulance transport as a result of this change. Residents without insurance, residents with insurance co-pays and residents whose insurers refuse to pay for transport will not be responsible for transport fees; their local tax dollars will be considered payment toward the fee.

“No county resident will pay one penny out of his or her own pocket for ambulance service,” said Fire Chief John J. Hohman.

The County will seek payment for emergency transport from non-county residents and their insurance companies. However, no resident or non-resident should ever hesitate to call 911 in a medical emergency; no one will be denied transport based on ability to pay.

Millions in New Revenue

County officials estimate that the new transport fees – levied on approximately 85,000 medical calls annually – may generate as much as $26 million per year in future years, after the program is fully implemented. This revenue will be placed in the County’s general fund.

The program is scheduled to begin September 1.

 The County’s 33 volunteer fire companies – especially the 21 companies that provide medical service – will benefit from the transport fees. The BCVFA and BCoFD plan to develop a revenue sharing program in which transport fee funds will help companies that provide medical service cover reasonable EMS-related operating expenses.  The fees will benefit the companies that do not provide EMS service by freeing up other funds for maintenance, equipment, fuel and training.

In a recent report, the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association strongly endorsed billing insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare for emergency transport.

How the Transport Fees Will Work

The new fees will be $700 or $750 per transport, depending upon the level of care required. In addition, private health insurers, Medicare and Medicaid will be billed $10 per mile of transport.

Other important information:

  • The new fees will be levied only when a patient is transported by medic to a hospital; EMS calls that do not involve transport will not involve a fee. Patients who refuse transport will sign a form documenting their refusal.
  • All patients will be transported regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.
  • No payment will be collected at the time of transport, and EMS responders will not seek patient insurance information. EMS responders will obtain authorization to bill the patient’s insurer along with permission to transport. After transport, the contractor, MED3000, will work with the hospital to obtain the patient’s information.
  • Non-county residents who use Baltimore County EMS transport will be billed for transport fees not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. The County will seek collection of these fees.
  • MED3000 customer service representatives will handle questions or concerns about billing and insurance related to medical transport.

MED3000 will receive about 4 percent of the amount collected based on the annual average cost per transport.

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