Asks for Return to EMS Millage
Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Operations, Newtown Ambulance Squad, presented the Squad’s Annual Report at the October 11, 2017 Newtown Township Board of Supervisors meeting.
Resnikoff compared funding of the Newtown Squad to funding of neighboring municipality ambulance squads. Lower Makefield Township, for example, provides $248,000 in annual funding for its ambulance squad, which averages 1500 calls per year compared to an estimated 2600 for Newtown’s Squad. Currently, the Newtown squad receives 25% of Local Services Taxes, which for 2017 is estimated to be $490,000 – the squad would receive about $123,000 of that.
About 90% of the squad’s revenue comes from fee for services (see Figure 1, below). Resnikoff reported that the Squad has $74,000 in collectibles for the period of January through August, 2017, due to the fact that patients are not turning over checks they receive from insurance companies. In general, the squad collects only about 60 cents of every dollar billed.
When Resnikoff revealed that the response to opioid calls was up 58% in the first 8 months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, the audience let out an audible gasp! This adds a significant cost to the healthcare system including EMS because greater than 80% of these patients have no insurance and cannot pay the fees.
Resnikoff said the Squad’s Paramedics on average earn $3.75 per hour below market rate for Bucks County and EMTs average $4.00 per hour below market rate. These first responders have not been given base hourly rate raises since December 2015. These hourly wage levels have made it challenging to recruit for open positions, resulting in more overtime hours to fill open shifts.
Resnikoff suggested “going back to the EMS millage” instead of a percentage of the Local Services tax, which varies from year to year. The maximum allowable would be 0.5 mill. That would generate about $172,000 of funding for the squad in 2018.
[Updated on 14 December 2017] Mr. Evan Resnikoff re-iterated his plea for an EMS tax millage at the December 13, 2017 Newtown Township Board of Supervisors meeting. The proposed 2018 budget was the main issue before the board at this meeting (read "BOS Approves Publication of Preliminary 2018 Budget"). See video below.
Posted on 14 Dec 2017, 14:08 - Category: Budget