Proposed Johnsburg Ambulance District

Information on the proposed Ambulance District

10.02.14 SAY YES to EMSJohnsburg Ambulance District

Currently the Town of Johnsburg funds the Ambulance Squad from the general fund for $65,000 a year.  This is a somewhat arbitrary amount and could be higher or lower depending on the needs of the Ambulance Squad and more importantly on the financial health of the town and political concerns for and against the Ambulance Squad.

For an excellent piece on the crisis of Rural Emergency Care – Visit Vermont Public Radio’s story – originally aired on October 20th

Formation of an Ambulance District will ensure a fixed amount levied against every taxpayer in the district and would generate monies totally separate from the existing Town’s tax fund for the exclusive use of funding the Johnsburg Ambulance Squad.

The Town’s current assessment of $65,000 to the Squad costs each household $9.43/1000 assessed valuation for EMS service. Check your tax bill to find your current assessment number. Multiply by $9.43 to find what you’re paying now. An average house is assessed at 3.0 which means 65% of households now pay $28.29 or less per year for EMS service.  We’re asking to increase the town’s annual support level by $143,341, or $15.19/1000 assessed valuation.  At the average assessment of 3.0, 65% of property owners will see an increase of $45.57 or less a year.

The ambulance district is similar to a water district or a fire district and will have its own line on the tax bill.  The 2015 total ambulance district budget–current support plus increase–will be $208,341. This will have an assessed valuation of $24.62/1000.  Patient insurance billing will continue to supply 57-60% of EMS income.  The district will be subject to the annual 2% cap.

For over twenty years the Johnsburg Emergency Squad has been here to help you in the most difficult times. Now it’s we who need your help. Vote yes to create an ambulance protection district. Safeguard for years to come the kind of quality emergency care you want and expect when a family member most desperately needs it.

How Far We’ve Come!

The Johnsburg Emergency Squad has a long history of service to this town, but by 2002 we were struggling. With the increasing demands of time and training, the squad couldn’t meet the demand. Our medical director was threatening to pull our license. The squad started billing patients in order to pay for paramedics. Most calls now are dispatched as ALS, or Advanced Life Support, requiring highly technical equipment, “mobile emergency rooms,” as well as highly trained technicians.  The last ten years:  Averaged nearly 480 transports a year.  Guaranteed 24/7 Advanced Life Support Coverage (ALS).  More efficient: 2 ambulances instead of 3; smaller van ambulances.  Increased revenue by changing billing companies, watching every dollar.  Started non-emergency transports; taking patients back from hospital.  Voted “Agency of the Year,” in 2013, by the regional council of medical directors.

Your Tax Investment

Assures you of timely professional medical care
Insures you a well-managed business with roughly $550,000 assets and $178,000 in receivables.
Allows us to hire part time management, to ensure accountability, success and sustainability
Allows us to hire and keep good paramedics.
Allows us to hire drivers when it becomes necessary.
Keeps us on top of annual inflationary increases.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the good care I got from the Johnsburg Emergency Squad. These people need our support, as we need theirs.”  William Bibby, North River


Budget Numbers10.02.14 SAY YES to EMS

What was our budget last year?
Revenue                             $438,471
Insurance billing             $331,997
Town Contribution          $65,000
ORDA Donation               $6,000
Fundraising                       $35,500

Expenses                            $438,471
Payroll and billing.          $274,418
Ambulance operations:  $124,582
New Building costs          $28,000
Second ambulance loan  $11,741

Our budget is balanced, why the ambulance protection district?

We’re losing volunteers. The same story all over the country, but we have to have them to drive the ambulance. If we don’t, then we have to pay.  We’re losing staff. Paramedics are leaving for better pay and benefits downstate. We lost two this summer. We need to be able to offer vacation, a small health stipend, and competitive pay.  We need to pay part time management. We can no longer expect volunteers to run and be responsible for a half million dollar business with 10 employees and 15 volunteers.

Why can’t we just increase our Billing Monies?

There are built in limits to growth in the business.  We can only be paid for transports we do, and the numbers have been steady around 480.
Type of call determines amount of pay: Advanced Life Support (ALS) or Basic Life Support (BLS). Cannot be changed.  Type of insurance held by patient also determines amount of pay:

Medicaid is a fixed rate per call, pays 10-13% of our cost of each transport.  Medicare is also fixed cost, pays about 35-45% of our  cost per transport.  Self-insured—lucky to collect anything.  Commercial insurance—Blue Cross,etc., pays what we charge, an amount similar across area. Most revenue comes from here.  Contractual money—other agencies pay fee for us to respond to their area, either mutual aid or ALS intercept.
53% of our patients have either Medicaid, Medicare, or are self-insured; thus reduced payments.

We cannot increase revenue to cover future costs. We need outside help.