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Ambulance fee battle apparently going to court


The next battle between the Reese fire company and the county firemen's association over billing for ambulance services apparently will be in court.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. refused Friday to bar the Carroll County Firemen's Association from withholding $12,500 in quarterly county funds from the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company.

The order sought by Roger N. Powell, a Baltimore lawyer representing the fire company, was returned by Burns to the civil clerk's office with a signed notation: "Court refuses to sign this order. Court will not issue an injunction."

That means the judge wants a hearing scheduled so he can hear arguments from both parties, Powell said.

"Judge Burns told me he thought the matter was too controversial to be resolved without a hearing," Powell said.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Burns was not available to comment, his clerk said Friday.

The battle between Reese and the firemen's association began when the association began billing for ambulance services two years ago.

Reese at first refused to bill its patients or their insurance companies for providing ambulance service. But under growing pressure, Reese has begun charging $5 for each call for ambulance service.

The association countered by ordering Reese officials to begin billing at the minimum rate of $200 or risk losing its share of the county money.

County officials give a lump sum to the association for emergency medical services, and the money is apportioned among 12 of Carroll's 14 fire companies.

Of the two other companies. Harney's does not have an ambulance, and New Windsor's did not request county funding until this month.

Although the Carroll County commissioners initially told the association to begin billing to compensate for the escalating costs of ambulance service, they have since refused to get involved in the dispute.

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