The city provides emergency medical services as part of its contract with the County of Riverside for fire protection services; however, the city does not recoup any of the costs for providing the emergency medical services portion of these services.
The city is operating under significant budgetary limitations as a result of California’s ongoing public fiscal crisis. The high volume of calls for emergency medical services represents a significant drain on the finances of the city and could jeopardize the city’s ability to continue providing first-class emergency medical services.
The costs for emergency medical services have skyrocketed in recent years and the city can no longer afford to continue providing these services unless costs are recovered from those utilizing the services. Therefore, the city is in the process of establishing a voluntary Emergency Medical Services Subscription Program (EMS Program). The program is modeled after programs that have been implemented in the cities of Murrieta, Corona, Norco, Sierra Madre and many cities throughout Orange County.
The City Council adopted the first reading of Ordinance No. 187 during a Special Meeting of the Council on Sept. 26. The adoption of the first reading of Ordinance No. 187 is just the beginning of the City Council’s action of an involved process of preparing a new Emergency Medical Services Subscription Program for implementation, which is not expected to occur until early 2021.
At the Oct. 2 Regular Meeting of the City Council, the second reading of Ordinance No. 187 was pulled from the Consent Calendar in order to incorporate feedback from the City Council and to give residents additional time to better understand the ordinance. Ordinance No. 187 will appear on the Nov. 6 City Council Meeting agenda for a second reading. Should the ordinance be approved, the city will then conduct a fee study in order to accurately determine the amounts that should be charged for the EMS program and for EMS service fees.
The EMS Program will be open to all persons in possession, charge or control of any residential premises within the city, permanent residents and any business with a physical location in, and possessing a business license issued by, the city. Eligibility may be established through current utility billing records, rent receipts, or other forms of identification which clearly reflect residency, property ownership, or a business location within the city.
A subscription to the EMS Program will cover the eligible participant and all permanent residents at the eligible participant’s residential premises, regardless of the location where the emergency medical services are rendered within the city.
For business subscribers, covered persons under an EMS Program subscription will include all employees at the business address or employees who are elsewhere in Canyon Lake in the course of their duties. A business subscriber’s EMS Program subscription will not cover customers or other visitors to the premises of the business.
All eligible participants will automatically be subscribed in the EMS Program on June 30 of each year for the upcoming fiscal year. The EMS Program subscription fee will be collected on the property tax roll by the city. The City Council has not yet determined the amount of the subscription fee.
By subscribing to the EMS Program, residents and business owners can avoid having to pay otherwise significant service fees when EMS services are rendered.
Participation in the EMS Program is voluntary. Any eligible participant may decline to participate in the EMS Program by submitting a written notice to the city clerk.
The city will charge an EMS response fee to any person receiving emergency medical services or any eligible participant who is not subscribed to the EMS Program. The EMS fee also will be charged when the patient refuses emergency medical services when a call was made at his or her request or by any person within the patient’s household or business. The EMS response fee will not be charged to any person refusing treatment where the call for emergency medical services was not made at his or her request or was made by a person who is not within the patient’s household or business.
Once the EMS Program is ready to be implemented, the city will do extensive public outreach to make sure all residents and business owners are aware of the new program.