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Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 7:09pm

Car Tag Fee for Trauma Care 'Easy Choice'

Trauma care in Georgia is better than it was a year ago...even without an increase in funding -- so says a member of the state’s trauma care commission. 

"The fact that we have the funding (around $20 million currently) and people know we’re working on it and we’re working to organize this system makes our case every day”, says Ben Hinson, a commission member and president/CEO of Mid Georgia Ambulance.

In the past three years, state funding for trauma care has been cut from $58 million--down to $23 million. And now commission members are operating on a worst case budget given the economy—down to about $20 million.

But Hinson is hopeful.  He says a bill passed by the General Assembly to ask voters to approve a $10 car tag fee for dedicated trauma funding could be the positive tipping point. 

Hinson says this should be an easy sell to voters:

“I have been there when the 6-year-old died because there wasn’t enough resource to take care of her.  So my thing is real easy—does the beautiful 6-year-old girl die or do you save 10 bucks?”  

Approval of the fee would generate about $80 million specifically for trauma care. 

Hinson says that money could finally build a network and go far beyond simply maintaining a bare-bones status quo.

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