EMS responders promise faster responses in Eugene

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- The Eugene fire and EMS department is mounting a six-month experiment with its rural county counterpart in an effort to improve ambulance response times.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports the departments have obtained permission from the county to shift some of the Eugene department's calls to Lane Rural Fire and Rescue.

Shrinking budgets forced the move as reimbursement rates for emergency services drop. The majority of calls in the area are covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Fire and EMS officials say they'll likely have to propose a new tax in some form to maintain service. That could be from a straight tax or the creation of a fire protection district.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com