Md. Firefighters Drop Opposition to Ambulance Fee

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    The Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association is ending its effort to put a controversial ambulance fee to a public vote.

    The firefighters announced Monday that they have struck a deal with country that would give them 15 percent of the revenue generated by the fee. They had opposed the fee, which would range from $300 to $800, because they feared it would deter some residents from calling 911.

    County residents, however, will not be billed. If they have insurance, their insurance companies will be billed. If not, the county will pay for the ambulance service.

    Eric N. Bernard, executive director of the volunteer association, says he will monitor ambulance calls to make sure they don't drop off.

    The ambulance fee is slated to go into effect Jan. 1. It is expected to generate more than $18 million a year.