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This report examines the complex relationship between city- and county-funded emergency medical teams in Travis County, Texas. Traditionally, City of Austin EMS units have provided service to Travis County residents outside the city limits, with limited funding and support from the county. While the county shares some responsibility for emergency services by operating its own helicopter rescue service, it reimburses the city for only a fraction of the cost of providing EMS services in unincorporated areas. Additionally, City of Austin residents continue to pay both city and county taxes to support EMS service. As the Austin metropolitan area expands beyond county limits, and as population growth continues outside of city limits, new demands are being placed on the current EMS network.
Austin EMS Responding discusses future options for expansion and management of the Austin and Travis County EMS services. Models include establishing a new countywide system based on current services but controlled and funded by the county, or creating a new hospital district or EMS tax district to serve the entire area independent of city and county governments. The report recommends creation of an EMS tax district as the most viable solution, and outlines necessary steps toward the establishment and oversight of such a district.
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