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Annapolis, MD (October 20, 2014) – County Executive Laura Neuman today hosted a press conference to stress the important role cultural sensitivity plays in the diverse workforce that composes Anne Arundel County government. Spurred by a recent isolated incidence of racial and cultural insensitivity – in which three employees were disciplined for fashioning and displaying a noose and exchanging inappropriate jokes – the event highlighted efforts present and future by county government to develop a more culturally sensitive workforce.
“Our employees are our greatest asset, and it’s critical that we facilitate a diverse work environment in which everyone is given equal opportunity,” said County Executive Neuman. “Understanding the sensitivity of racial and cultural differences is the first step in preventing discrimination and harassment. This administration recognized early on the need for Diversity Training and for the creation of a compliance officer position, and this incident reinforces both.”
At the administration’s directive, the county’s Office of Minority Affairs has to date hosted 30 Diversity Training sessions for over 360 supervisors, managers and assistants across nine departments to help county employees develop the cultural competence needed to support workplace diversity. Most recently, Minority Affairs also hosted a session for employees in the department in which the incidence of insensitivity occurred.
In the interest of improving how incidences of cultural insensitivity are handled, the administration began discussion over a year ago regarding the establishment of a compliance officer position. A resolution to create this position will be heard by the County Council tonight. If passed, the compliance officer would be responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment in county government.
“As with any continually progressing issue like cultural sensitivity, there will always be room for growth in any and every organization,” County Executive Neuman said. “Anne Arundel County is not far off from where it should be, but we can do better.”
Annapolis, Maryland (October 14, 2014) - The Anne Arundel County Fire Department today reported it has witnessed a 27 percent decrease in average paramedic response times over the last 12 months due to improvements in Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance service. Additionally, the department has seen a 21 percent decrease of 90th-percentile response times for the arrival of paramedic level care to incident scenes.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the most critical service the county provides to our citizens – public safety – and I am so proud of our Fire Department for implementing best practices that better enable it to save lives quickly,” said County Executive Laura Neuman. “I am especially proud of Fire Chief Michael Cox, who brought about these improvements in part by deferring the purchase of a tower ladder truck to reallocate the funding for six new ambulances.”
Because medical emergencies account for 85 percent of the calls to which the department responds, the six Basic Life Support units were purchased to meet the county’s growing need for ambulance service.
“The initiative to provide additional Basic Life Support units for BLS calls has significantly increased Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit availability for more serious and life-threatening calls,” said Fire Chief Michael Cox. “The increased number of BLS units allows our paramedic units to remain available in their primary response areas for life-threatening and critical calls.”
An additional five Basic Life Support units are slated to be placed in service this fall. “Once these units are in service, we should meet the National Fire Protection Association guidelines for ALS response time for the first time in the department’s 50-year history,” Chief Cox highlighted.
A citizen report of ALS response times using data from the fourth quarter of 2010 showed that the average ALS response time in Anne Arundel County was 7.75 minutes. The average response time for an ALS unit in the first three-quarters of 2014 decreased more than two minutes to 5.67 minutes, a 27 percent improvement.
National Fire Protection Association’s Standard 1710 recommends an eight-minute 90th-percentile response time for ALS units. In the 2010 report, the county’s 90th-percentile response time was 12.52 minutes. In the first three-quarters of 2014, that time has dropped 21 percent to 9.85 minutes, a nearly three-minute improvement.
The response time improvements, paired with the implementation of the Rapid Dispatch Protocol that substantially reduced 911 call processing time, have decreased the time from 911 call to ALS unit arrival time by almost three minutes over the last 14 months.
Media Contact: Lieutenant Russ Davies
410-222-8746 (PIO Line)
Policy will generate an estimated $1-3 million in revenue, affect insurance providers only
Annapolis, Maryland (October 2, 2014) — Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman today announced her administration has put forth legislation to defray the county’s cost of ambulance services by raising ambulance service fees, a change that will come at no cost to county residents. If passed, Bill 64-14 will generate an additional $1-3 million annually in ambulance fee revenue, and will only affect the cost incurred by insurance carriers.
“Our ambulance service rates have not been adjusted in five years, so I am pleased that this policy will put our fees in line with the actual cost of providing these services – with no fiscal impact on our citizens,” said County Executive Neuman. “This legislation will generate additional revenue for the county’s general fund that will be used for priorities including public safety, education and delivery of services.”
The ordinance, which is slated to be considered by the County Council on October 6, provides for increasing the fee for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support I from $500 to $700, and would increase the fee for Advanced Life Support II from $500 to $750. Additionally, the new policy would allow the county to charge a fee based on Medicare allowable amounts for each mile of transport. Anne Arundel is currently the only county in Maryland that bills for ambulance services that does not charge for mileage.
“Insurance providers reimburse at rates considerably higher than what the county is currently billing because they recognize the cost for these services,” said Fire Chief Michael E. Cox, Jr. “With ambulance calls accounting for 85 percent of our calls for service, I am glad that our fees will better reflect the ever-increasing costs incurred by our department.”
The proposed adjustments will affect the amount billed to insurance companies, but will not cost county residents anything. As set forth in the County Code, if any balance is remaining after a county resident’s insurance carrier has been billed, or if a resident is uninsured, it is considered prepaid by the resident’s payment of various county taxes.
If a balance remains after a nonresident’s insurance has been billed, or if a nonresident is uninsured, the nonresident will be billed, and will be given an opportunity to establish residency or apply for a hardship waiver. Because the county employs compassionate billing practices, cases will be reviewed on an individual basis before additional collection measures are considered.
The adjustments in ambulance service fees included in Bill 64-14 were recommended by the county’s new billing company, Intermedix, and were established based on national averages. Intermedix projects the county will receive an estimated $1-3 million annually in revenue under the adjusted rates and addition of mileage charges.
To learn more about Bill 64-14, go to www.aacounty.org/countycouncil/pendinglegis.cfm.
Community and environmental leaders to discuss improvement of watersheds
Annapolis, Maryland (September 29, 2014) – County Executive Laura Neuman today announced the county’s Department of Public Works will host an Environmental Summit on Friday, October 17. Local community and environmental leaders are encouraged to attend to learn how to prioritize and implement watershed restoration projects.
“I am pleased that we are hosting this summit to spotlight how local leaders can collaborate with government and nonprofit agencies to help improve our waterways,” County Executive Neuman stated.
The Environmental Summit will be held from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, located at 975 Indian Landing Road in Millersville, and will include presentations from the county’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program (WPRP), Maryland Department of Natural Resources, South River Federation, Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy, Chesapeake Bay Trust and Unity Gardens. An optional rain garden tour will follow.
Registration is available online at www.aarivers.org, and will also be accepted at the event. For more information about the Environmental Summit, go to www.aarivers.org, or contact the WPRP at 410-222-4240 ext. 3015.
The WPRP, a division of the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering, is responsible for implementation of the county’s stormwater restoration project strategies that meet mandated federal and state water quality requirements. For more information about the WPRP, go to www.aarivers.org.