County OKs EMS rate hike
By RANDY GONZALES
The Ellis County Commission approved a rate increase for EMS services at Monday's regular meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.
"The last time we increased fees was the first part of '09," EMS Director Kerry McCue told commissioners during his presentation.
At what rate to determine fees is not easy, McCue said. He added the county's current fees are generally lower than other counties, according to a survey.
"We have to try to keep a balancing act, to try to keep in the middle, so that we get what insurance providers will pay us, without increasing our write-off," McCue said. "We believe these are the numbers that will help us meet those guidelines."
Commissioners approved the rate increase, effective Jan. 1.
"Clearly, your costs are going up, just like everyone else's," Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said. "At first glance, I don't have a problem with it, especially since you haven't had a rate increase in four years."
Among the rate increases for ambulance services:
* From $375 to $450 for BLS (basic life support) non-emergent.
* From $450 to $500 for BLS emergent.
* From $375 to $550 for ALS (advanced life support) level 1.
* From $550 to $650 ALS emergent 1.
* From $650 to $750 for ALS level 2.
* From $750 to $950 for specialty care.
* From $10 to $15 for mileage.
* From $20 to $50 per half hour wait time.
* From $50 to $175 for drug administration, plus drug cost.
* From $90 total to $125 for the first four hours and $50 an hour after the four hours for non-profit ambulance stand-bys (at a high school game, for instance). From $125 total to $75 per hour for ambulance stand-bys for a profit location.
In other business:
* The oath of office was issued to Treasurer Ann Pfeifer. According to the Ellis County Historical Society, she is the county's first female treasurer elected to the office.
* Commissioners accepted the retirement of county appraiser Dean Denning after more than 24 years in office, effective at the end of the year.
* The county will open up for bid Oct. 23 a road construction project on Old U.S. Highway 40 east of Hays.
* The county received funding from the state that will cover the majority of the cost for a bridge project.
* The commission will send a letter to both parties involved, setting a time and date for a fence viewing, to address a complaint by a property owner.
* After discussion, commissioners will consider at their next meeting a change in meeting time to 4 p.m. Mondays to enable county counselor Bill Jeter to attend.
* Commissioners named Lon Frahm, Keith Miller and John Blackwell as their preferred candidates for Midwest Energy's board of directors.
* Commissioners were informed of a change needed in how reimbursements are accounted for, starting in 2015. Until then, the issue needs to be addressed in the interim. An amendment will be needed to the purchasing policy for the 2013 and 2014 budgets.
* Commissioners were presented with a bill from Nex-Tech for work on radios and the radio system since the re-banding project through Motorola was completed. However, commissioners delayed payment until they could get an estimate how much more work needed to be done and to be given a cost estimate.
* Commissioners opted to end the process for hiring a construction manager at risk for the county's building projects, feeling one was unnecessary and would cost taxpayers money.
* Commissioners discussed the type of table needed for future meetings at the new administrative center at 718 Main.
* Commissioners went into executive session for 15 minutes to discuss the annual evaluation of County Administrator Greg Sund. No action was taken.