Medicare Change Hurts WCEMS
At the Wetzel County Commission meeting on Tuesday Wetzel County EMS President Jim Colvin-along with EMTs Jim Estep, and Raymond and Margaret Renaud-met with the commission to ask for emergency financial assistance. Colvin stated that for the first time ever the county EMS has lost $27,000 in the first quarter due to new problems with Medicare. Colvin said 90 percent of EMS runs are for patients with Medicare and Medicare has held back some reimbursement funds to the point that they aren’t sure when or if they will receive the appropriate checks.
Another huge expense they’ve incurred is the repair of two newer ambulances. So far, roughly $12,000 has to go toward repairing two ambulances. It was also noted these vehicles are past the maker’s warranty so the cost rests fully on the EMS squad.
Additionally, as of June 30 all ambulances are required to have 12 lead heart monitors. The cost for a new monitor is $25,000 and used models are still several thousand dollars. Chesapeake Energy and the New Martinsville Quota International club have helped to purchase several lead heart monitors, but the county is still strapped to find funds to purchase more.
The crux of their request is that they need a large amount of money in the next week or two to cover some expenses. The Wetzel County EMS has pulled money from their line of credit to make ends meet, but frankly speaking there just are not enough funds available. “Unlike larger companies, we just can’t absorb these costs,” said Colvin. It was stated around $43,000 is needed within the next two weeks. This money would sustain the EMS squad until the fall.
The commission said they would take the request into very serious consideration and have an answer for the EMS as soon as possible. “For the sake of everyone, we’ve got to keep you alive and going,” said President Don Mason.
Also at this week’s meeting, the commission passed a resolution declaring April 26-30 as Wetzel County Association of Retired School Employees Week. The adopted resolution reads:
Whereas; the Wetzel County Association of Retired School Employees is an organization of retired teachers, school service personnel, administrators, and college personnel. Whereas; the Wetzel County Association of Retired School Employees is the only county organization that represents all retired school employees. Whereas; the Wetzel County Association of Retired School Employees have contributed numerous volunteer hours to the county of Wetzel in 2009. Whereas; the Wetzel County Association of Retired School Employees continue to be a vital information link between the membership and issues of importance to retirees. Now, therefore, be it resolved and ordered by the Wetzel County Commission that the week of April 26-30 be proclaimed as Wetzel County Association of Retired School Employees Week.
In other matters, the commission signed many financial agreements. The commission approved a grant of $5,000 from the Governor’s Community Participation Grant to put up lighting around the track and parking areas of the 4-H grounds; a grant of $6,500 from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History to rehabilitate record books in the County Clerk’s office; and a commission of $9,390 for Jim Klug to fix roads, culverts, drainage, etc on the 4-H grounds. Under state code this project did not require an open bid. Also, the commission moved to divide $6,000 of lease money from Air Evac equally and biannually among the six EMS units in the county. Lastly, the commission approved the levy estimate for 2010-2011.