By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
The Ambulance Authority President, Dennis Filler on the behalf of the authority as a whole presented Commissioner Lowell Moore with a certificate of appreciation for his work and dedication for the past 12 years. Filler said to Moore, “This certificate is presented for your tireless dedication and steadfast support to the citizens of Tucker County as the champion for the improvement of EMS service delivery throughout the county during his 12 years as County Commissioner. Thank you for all you have done.” Moore responded by saying, “It has been my pleasure and if I had to do it over I would have done it again. I am still going to work with the authority and give it my best. Thank you all.”
After recognizing Moore, the board presented updates. During his report to the authority board members Filler said, “I have been trying to collect resources to help with our work on getting policies and those kinds of things like bylaws. I know the subcommittees have been working on it, but I have been spending some time with Randolph County EMS. I spent about a day in a half looking at their operations and having a discussion with their director. Yesterday I went to their ambulance authority board meeting. Some things are going to come up and there is potential changes forthcoming in the new calendar year with a mutual aid agreement.”
Filler explained he received a drafted copy of the agreement where Randolph County is potentially going to be charging a $200 or $250 intercept fee. Randolph County does not currently charge for taking EMS calls for Tucker County. Filler explained further by saying, “There is no fee right now for mutual aid but, they (Randolph County EMS) have had discussion with the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services (WVOES) and their ability to impose a fee. Tucker County is not the sole source of this but, needless to say we are a major contributor to some of the burden they are having.”
According to Filler the mutual aid calls have raised dramatically in recent months and the responding out of county EMS can not recover the cost back through traditional ambulance charges particularly if they make a call or run to Tucker County and it is a non-transit call.
Filler went on to say that the WVOES has tried to reach out to the Tucker County Commission several times but had received no response. After the meeting Commissioner Mike Rosenau reached out to Director of WVOES Jody Ratliff to verify if this was true and after his conversation with Ratliff it was determined to be a false statement. Ratliff informed Rosenau he had not been trying to call but had sent one email. Rosenau informed Ratliff that the commission’s office had not received that email.
EMS Director Shelia Marsh stated that she was under the impression that the Tucker County Commission would be responsible for the intercept fee, and Filler responded by saying that he was unsure if that is how it worked but the details of the agreement would have to be worked through. Randolph County EMS will continue discussion of the agreement at their January meeting.
Filler then introduced an idea to the board about providing Timberline Sky Resort with paid on-site EMS services. The crew would stay on-site at the sky resort for six hours a day for a per hour fee during the weekends. The resort would need the services from late December to around March as needed. Filler explained this would be a potential revenue offset and additional work for the EMS staff.
Treasurer Chris Davis presented the board with the financial standing of the organization. At the current time the authority is on track to make it through the fiscal year and into the next. If nothing is changed from the one crew running 24/7 then the authority has the funds to last until August of 2023 with the over $200,000 still in their escrow account. Filler accredits the extended exhaustion date that was reported before was due to the mass reduction in staff. For the third portion of the fiscal year the authority stands at a 5.4 percent debt ratio.
The authority has received 305 donations for the total amount of $31,510 and after expenses for the donation campaign the account has a balance of $29,819.89. Davis reported that was an estimated $400 difference between the charges per run and the cash collected per run. From a cash accounting standpoint, the authority is $84,000 in the red with the difference in cash flowing in and out. This is not a projected accrual budget for the fiscal year. The fiscal year runs July 1 to July 1.
Board member Diane Hinkle wished to thank the community for acknowledging and donating to the campaign by saying, “We just wish to acknowledge and thank everyone that has been appointed to the donations campaign. It has done pretty much as expected.” Hinkle continued by saying, “We need to know what the direction is going forward. If we can leverage the donated money so we can maximize its use. I hope that the commission can help with that. Any time you run a donation campaign you always want to maximize those dollars and if you can leverage other dollars it sends a strong message to other potential donors. It is a good use of the money and I think we need to be very transparent in how we are using the money because donors also like to have that information.”
Filler followed up with explaining he was working in his spare time to create a website for the Tucker County EMS to get the information out to the public.
The board voted accepted a sealed bid, from Angie Eldridge, for $1,500 for a Dodge Durango ($500) and a totaled 2009 Ford ambulance ($1,000). They had also received a bid for the ambulance for $1,000. Taking the offer for the $1,500 was the obvious choice for the board.
The next Ambulance Authority meeting was not scheduled during the meeting.