By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County Commissioners pledged the Tucker County Ambulance Authority $72,000
to help the authority meet remaining obligations through the end of the fiscal year.
“We can get you $72,000 now. We’ll revisit it in July,” County Commission President Mike
The Commission said they were dedicated to doing what they can and helping the entity
make payroll and serve the community.
Tucker County Commissioners met with the county
Ambulance Authority to discuss budget concerns and revisit the authority’s financial
status. “I’m happy with what you’ve done,” Rosenau said. “It’s a completely different conversation.”
TCAA President Dennis Filler reported that the cost per run to the authority had decreased
from $1123 in February of 2022 to the current rate of $734. He attributed this to changes
the authority has made as well as reductions in overhead.
“There’s a lot of variables, but we’re holding our own,” Filler said.
Employment and labor cost decreased from $880,000 to a current $658,000. However, the
authority stressed the need for additional staff, especially the need to hire on paramedics.
The authority expressed concerns over being able to deliver service with a minimal
personnel. Filler said the authority currently can only staff one station 24 hours with the
current staff they have.
Filler and the authority reported that due to staffing issues, they have lost runs to other
services and in more critical cases, have to rely on other services for paramedics. The
authority reported that it is costing the authority $1200 every two weeks in paramedic
“That’s not the call where they came into the county and picked up the run. That’s just
because we don’t have paramedics on staff and the person needed that level of care,” Filler
The authority currently employs seven full time EMTs and one driver as well as PRN staff that
can be called upon based on availability. “We’re doing everything. Kudos to the workforce. They are raising to occasions to working way above their paygrades,” Filler said. “How long we can sustain that with the few members we have. You burn out.”
The authority reported that staff were working well beyond their scheduled 48 hours. It
was reported that overtime can be 24 to 36 hours beyond their 48 hours scheduled.
The authority said they seek to hire three paramedics at a cost to the entity of $65,000 a
year per paramedic. The authority said this would help to eliminate a current rate of $200
per run with an expected raise to $250 a run that they are currently paying out to other
entities for paramedics because they would have paramedics on staff to fill the need.
The authority also said there was a need to staff a second unit full time. The authority did
acknowledge the pay discrepancy between Tucker and Randolph Counties. The authority
reported that Randolph County pays an average of $23 to $27 an hour. Tucker County
only pays $14 to $17 for the same positions. The authority said this has led to problems
getting people to hire on.
Despite these difficulties, the authority said they are always actively seeking to hire
another medic and are planning to send two to three individuals to medic school and one
next year. The authority also stated several ideas targeted at developing and retaining staff,
as well as continued personnel development which has led to the increased confidence in
their staff in regards to their duties.
The authority has also increased their collections from February 2022’s number of 481,000
to a current 525,000. Filler said the percentage of money collected remained about the
The Authority reported that cash collections had decreased in the past year.
“We’re charging more, but they’re paying less,” Filler said.
In February of 2022 the authority was receiving $614 per call, but the current rate has been
reduced to $587. Filler attributed this to rates set by insurance and other entities. The
authority and commissioners discussed the issues with Insurance reimbursement,
especially in regards to Medicare and Medicaid programs which reimburses at a lower
The authority said that Medicaid calls are the number one call they have in Tucker County,
due to the majority of calls being made to older and poor individuals. It was also said by
the authority that when a call has Medicare primary and Medicaid secondary, they often do
not receive reimbursement by Medicaid which results in a 20 percent loss.
Despite these issues, the authority reported that they have been able to decrease their loss
per run from $409 in February of 2022 to $147 today.