A Program to Reduce Ambulance Tax and Increase Service.
The Gates Volunteer Ambulance Service, Inc. has proudly served the Town of Gates since 1964. It has been the continuing goal to provide quality professional emergency medical service for the sick and injured residents of Gates.
Over the years the financing of the operation has gone from private donations and a fund drive to the establishment of an ambulance tax district in 1995. The residents have always been totally supportive of the services of Gates Volunteer Ambulance. With increasing costs of supplies, insurance, payroll and increase call volume is climbing greater every year. The training required now is more than ever for quality care. The residents require and deserve the best quality care possible.
The challenges that are facing Emergency Medical Services at the national and local level include:
- Population growing older than ever before.
- Increased complexity of medical calls.
- Increased in-home care of sick people.
- Preparation to be prepared for bio-terrorism and mass casualty incidents.
One of the biggest challenges is the ability to recruit and maintain volunteers members. Since 1994, GVAS has hired career staff to maintain ambulance coverage when volunteer members not available. This trend has been declining nationally for the past 10 years. Volunteer members are increasingly difficult to attract, the biggest issue is people’s time. With the economy today, it takes two incomes to make ends meet and people have less time to volunteer. The training required to today to be a New York State Emergency Medical Technician is 140 hours of classroom training, then additional training on the ambulance to make sure you are able to apply that training under a variety of situations.
Since 1995, GVAS main source of finance has been the ambulance tax district. This account for approximately 60% of the 2002 ambulance-operating budget. Without the funds from the ambulance tax district, GVAS would have been possibly closed financially years ago. In, 2002 a resident of the Town of Gates paid an average of $9 for ambulance service. An extremely small sum. This form of financing will not be sustainable for the future needs of Emergency Medical Service in the Town of Gates, increasing medical demands. The Board of Directors has spent considerable time this year in looking at long-term financial sustainability.
The Board of Directors has proposed a program that will stabilize or possibly lessen the community ambulance tax, while increasing services. In order to reach the goal GVAS proposes the following changes:
- Institute a 6% tax decrease for ambulance services in 2003. This means you will pay fewer tax dollars.
- Implementation of third party billing practices of resident’s health insurance.
Third party billing is a process by which am ambulance service charges a patient’s insurance company for services rendered. In this case Gates Ambulance would bill a resident’s health insurance company for services rendered, and the balance (co-pays, deductibles, rejections or no insurance) would be paid through the ambulance tax district funds. In this manner Gates Ambulance would be able to recoup the significant costs of emergency medical services to the residents of Gates, meanwhile ensuring that No Gates Resident would be responsible for a bill for services provided by Gates Volunteer Ambulance. This plan would also include residents that do not have health care insurance.
These additional funds would be used to increase service to residents.
The Gates Ambulance Board of Directors would like to assure the residents that this is the best possible solution for long term financing of Emergency Medical Service in Gates without major tax increases.
If you have any questions, please feel to call our base at 247-5519 during normal working hours. Thank you for your continuing support