Update, Friday, Dec. 1: From Holmes County EMS Director Steve Connell: “After further research concerning the matter of Fire Department fees, it has been determined that Holmes County will not move forward concerning this matter. I will be presenting my findings to the BOCC on the December 5th meeting with a recommendation to retract the motion.”
The Holmes County Fire Department has set billing fees for when they respond to motor vehicle crashes.
The costs are $350 for extrication, $150 for a fire department response, and $50 per hour for on-scene wait time, among other charges.
The Holmes County Board of County Commissioners approved the fees on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
The fees were introduced after Ponce de Leon Fire Chief Doug Remmel raised concerns over a funding shortfall with his department at a Nov. 7 County Commissioners meeting.
Holmes County Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Connell presented the fees to commissioners at the Nov. 28 meeting.
“I got up (on Nov. 7) and said I basically had a plan I was working on,” Connell said. “We had a meeting on (Nov.) 14 with all the fire chiefs here and I kind of laid out what I was trying to do to help with the fire departments. We came up with what we call a fire fee schedule.”
The fees will be paid for by personal injury protection insurance associated with the crashes and not assessed to taxpayers.
“Once they respond to a motor vehicle crash, they’ll fill out a Form 1500, which is a Medicare/Medicaid form that gets sent to billing and they will be reimbursing the money back to that fire department,” Connell said. “That’ll go straight to their coffer.”
The fees and reimbursements will “hopefully help some of the funds that the fire department is needing without the board having to come up with those funds,” Connell said.
“It’s dependent upon the person in the vehicle,” Connell said. “That person’s vehicle covers that person. Their own insurance covers them. That’s the way Florida works with a no-fault state. I will make sure I educate that.”
The hope is that unincorporated areas follow the county on the matter and incorporated areas pass similar measures under their charter, Connell said.
“Everybody would be doing the same thing across the county,” Connell said. “There won’t be a city doing different than a county.”