One of the core functions of Michigan’s local governments is ensuring public safety. As such, the Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) focused its latest Michigan Public Policy Survey on police, fire, and emergency medical services.
The fall 2015 survey, which was sent to local government leaders across the state, finds that most of Michigan’s local leaders are more concerned about police and fire services than emergency medical services. In their July 6 report, "Emergency medical services in Michigan: Challenges and approaches among local governments," CLOSUP administrators write that only 14 percent of local jurisdictions reported having insufficient funding for emergency medical services.
This could be for a number of reasons:
- Only 18 percent of Michigan’s local jurisdictions are in the business of directly providing emergency medical services (another 47 percent contract with an outside service provider);
- In jurisdictions where emergency medical services are provided, these services often receive funding support through direct billing to citizens and reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies;
- Of the 23 percent of jurisdictions that attempted to raise funding for emergency medical services through a millage or special assessment, the vast majority (95 percent) report they were successful; and
- Some 84 percent of local officials statewide say the majority of their citizens believe first responders will arrive in time to handle a medical emergency.
Even so, local officials across the state do have concerns—which vary by jurisdiction size and region—related to their ability to respond in a timely manner to medical emergencies.
In the state’s smallest jurisdictions, and more broadly throughout Northern Michigan, distance to the nearest hospital is the chief concern, with 24 percent saying hospital access is a significant problem and 50 percent saying it is somewhat problemmatic. By contrast, the primary concern in the largest jurisdictions is traffic accidents, which often place demands on emergency medical responders.
The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is a census survey of all 1,856 general purpose local governments in Michigan conducted by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan in partnership with the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, and Michigan Association of Counties.
The MPPS takes place twice each year and investigates local officials’ opinions and perspectives on a variety of important public policy issues. Respondents for the fall 2015 wave of the MPPS include county administrators, board chairs, and clerks; city mayors, managers, and clerks; village presidents, managers, and clerks; and township supervisors, managers, and clerks from 1,418 jurisdictions across the state.