Archbold Village Council voted to support a proposal that calls for a $137,373 increase over five years to continue to operate ALS-1, the Archbold-based, countyfunded paramedic unit.
The current contract between the four major fire departments in Fulton County and the Fulton County commissioners expires at the end of the year.
For the county paramedic program to continue to operate, a new contract needs to be in place at the start of 2015.
Speaking to council at its Monday, July 7 meeting, Andy Brodbeck, Archbold Fire Department chief, said he developed the proposal.
Currently, the AFD, through the village of Archbold, receives $358,000 per year, plus $100 per EMS call, to operate ALS-1.
For 2015, Brodbeck proposed increasing the amount by $60,000, to $418,000.
The amount would be frozen for two years, 2015 and 2016.
In 2017, he calls for an additional $40,000, bringing the total county support to $458,000.
For 2018 and 2019, Brodbeck’s proposal calls for adding 4% per year to the cost, for figures of $476,320 for 2018 and $495,373 for 2019.
Brodbeck also calls for raising the $100 each department receives per rescue run to $200.
He also called for wording changes in the contract, changing it from an emergency medical service contract to simply an emergency services contract.
That way, workers employed by the county would be available for any emergency, not just EMS.
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Jim Wyse, mayor, told council Brodbeck had dis- cussed the issue twice with the council police and fire committee.
Wyse told council it soon will read about proposals from other communities in area newspapers, so he wanted to make sure it was aware of the proposal from AFD.
Jeff Fryman, chairman of the police and fire committee, said some parts of the proposal are in response to ideas “floated around in county fire chief meetings.
“We looked at a lot of things. We have a good volunteer program here with a very strong commitment to service,” Fryman said.
In response to a question from Kevin Eicher, a councilman, Brodbeck said the proposal could become a model agreement for other county departments.
EMS funding in Fulton County comes partly from two mills of property tax levy (set to expire in 2016), and money the county receives from billing patients for rescue runs.
Current policy states a Fulton County resident is billed for an ambulance run, but the county accepts whatever that person’s medical insurance pays, and does not bill the patient for the difference.
Patients who live outside Fulton County are billed for the difference between what their medical insurance pays and the actual amount billed.
Brodbeck said last year, the county received $800,000 from rescue run bills.
Of that money, $200,000 went back to the fire departments who operate the EMS service.
The county commissioners earmarked 40% of the money received from EMS billing for the county general fund.
By increasing the $100- per-run reimbursement to $200, that would raise the total reimbursement figure to $400,000 if the number of rescue runs per year remained the same.
Brodbeck said Brett Kolb, county auditor, believes the trend for revenue from rescue runs is declining.
He budgets $750,000 a year for rescue run revenue, but actual receipts were better than that last year.
Vaughn Bentz, a councilman, asked how many rescue run bills go unpaid.
Dennis Howell, village administrator, said Kolb is doing very well at collecting EMS bills.
Council was told its vote would not be to approve Brodbeck’s EMS funding proposal, but to support it.
Brodbeck said he will take the proposal to the county commissioners when they begin negotiating new contracts.
Brodbeck said he doesn’t know whether the next contract will extend for one, three, or five years.
“Wehaven’tlanded(reached agreement) on anything yet,” he said.–David Pugh