What we reported: Friendswood has been planning to implement its first-ever billing protocol for emergency medical services. Up to now, the service has been subsidized by the city’s general fund.
The latest: In December, Friendswood City Council approved a rate structure, allowing the city to move forward with implementation in January.
“I cannot emphasize enough that this is not a situation where the service is free, and now it’s costing something. … The differentiation at this point is that we are no longer placing the entirety of this burden on our taxpayers; it is now being shared by the insurance companies,” City Manager Morad Kabiri said.
Kabiri estimates the program could generate around $400,000 in revenue in the first year. The annual cost of providing EMS is $1.8 million, with $600,000 in ambulance services, Kabiri said.
The city receives $230,000 per year in donations to its volunteer fire department, and donations from water bills will still be necessary to reimburse the city for equipment, City Council Member Robert Griffon said.
“This isn’t a panacea. It’s not going to cover all of our costs,” Griffon said.