WCEMS Touts Membership
At the Wetzel County Commission meeting held Aug. 4 Wetzel County EMS President Jim Colvin, Joyce Raper, and Carla McBee were present to promote their Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority Membership Program. This program offers members life and money-saving services. In the case of an emergency where an ambulance transport is required, a member or anyone in the member’s household will be transported with no out-of-pocket costs. The WCEAA works with a member’s benefits provider to secure payment for any emergency ambulance transport. Whatever a benefit provider pays is considered as paid-in-full for any emergency ambulance transport within a 50-mile radius.
A yearly membership costs only $55 and covers everyone living in a member’s household. Colvin also stressed there are discounted rates for businesses and corporations. Generally speaking, a corporate membership only covers employees during work hours. Full membership, however, covers every employee at all times as well as anyone in the employee’s household. McBee explained that in an emergency an ambulance trip to Wheeling can easily cost $1,000, but a member can save several hundreds of dollars with the membership. The membership is also tax deductible. Additionally, Colvin pointed out that the Wetzel County EMS and Air Evac Lifeteam honor each other’s memberships. One can apply for membership at the Pine Grove station 50 located on Boyd Hayes Drive (304-889-3393) or the New Martinsville station 20 located on 1020 Third Street (304-455-5931).
Also, becoming a WCEAA member helps to support the healthcare needs of the community. The membership base helps support all of the ambulance stations in the county. The Wetzel County Commission moved to extend this membership offer to every full-time county employee and hopes many more businesses and individuals will sign up. The WCEAA Membership Program is just one fund raiser the Wetzel County EMS is implementing to help with their current financial crisis. In April Jim Colvin approached the commission requesting emergency funding. Colvin stated that for the first time ever the county EMS had lost $27,000 in the first quarter due to new problems with Medicare. He also cited vehicle repair and equipment as the other large expenses on the EMS.
The commission agreed to give financial assistance in the amount of $88,000 divided between the next two quarters. In that time the EMS squad is to continue to look for funding and raise funds on their own, as President Don Mason stressed they have their own financial obligations to meet and can most likely not offer much more financial assistance beyond the next two quarters. It was also noted the extra $88,000 is in addition to the already $26,000 slated for the EMS in the county’s budget. The EMS can expect the first quarter’s installment in only a few weeks. Colvin expressed his sincere thanks for the commission’s generosity and assistance. He and Raper then stressed the need for volunteer EMTs and paramedics, particularly in the outlying areas of the county. “We just don’t have the volunteers we once had,” said Colvin. “It’s time to make changes and that’s what we’re doing.”
In other matters, Rosy Cozart and per diem employee Becky Loy of the Wetzel County Animal Shelter were present to give the commission the monthly report for the animal shelter for the July 6 through Aug. 2 period:
Dogs euthanized, one; adopted, 13; rescued, 30; returned to owner, one; taken in, 43; in approval/fostered, one; impounds, zero; quarantines, zero. Cats euthanized, one; adopted, zero; rescued, nine; returned to owner, zero; taken in, seven; in approval/fostered, zero; impounds, zero; quarantines, zero.
It was also discussed and approved that the animal shelter’s Saturday hours be changed to appointment only.
During their appointment Rosy also shared the news that the animal shelter is presently collecting raffle tickets for a beautifully constructed Victorian doll house made by Buzz Miller. Donated in memory of his late wife, Judy Hill Miller, the doll house will be raffled to benefit the animal shelter. Tickets are $5 each and are available at the shelter. They will also be sold at various events and locations until the day of the drawing on Nov. 27.