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Levy proposal introduced by Ada-Liberty Joint Ambulance District

**CORRECTIONS 9.18.22 regarding training and benefits

On Monday, September 12, the Ada-Liberty Joint Ambulance District held a public meeting to introduce plans to put an additional property tax on the November 8 ballot. The increased funding would ensure adequate EMS staffing throughout the day and later develop accomodations for EMTs who need to sleep at the station.

The district will ask voters to approve a 2 mill levy which would generate an estimated $213,500 per year. The current levy is for 1 mill but the amount being collected is .6179 mill. Supporting documents are attached HERE.

EMS Chief Tom Miller cites the increased number of runs per year, the difficulty of staffing runs during the day and increasing costs among the reasons the 2 mill levy is needed.

With additional funding, the Ada-Liberty Joint Ambulance District would become a “paid on station” facility with two EMTs working from 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. The later addition to the station of sleeping rooms and bathrooms would help attract EMTs who take overnight shifts. Currently, those who do not live close enough to respond to calls are sleeping on the couch at the station or in their cars.

The total number of runs made by Ada-Liberty EMS crews grew from 527 in 2019 to 626 in 2021. These calls are answered by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who must serve a minimum of 40 hours per month. This year staffing levels have decreased by 17%.

Miller noted that the requirements for EMTs have changed dramatically since 2000. He said that being an EMT “is no longer a hobby” and that employers no longer allow EMTs to leave the job for a call.

He added that EMT training is two-three nights for six-seven [months]**. EMTs are now highly skilled medical professionals who administer drugs and protect airways. They are the first line of response in a home or work medical emergency, providing what can be life saving care.

Fiscal Officer Nancy Kindle calculates that it would cost $162K/year for two daytime staff at $16/hour with retirement**. It is beyond current funding to pay $20/hour, which would cost some $202K/year. 

The current 1 mill property tax was implemented in 2000. Miller called it “virtually the only income source” for the department, which serves some 6,000 residents in the district. Hancock County contributes just $1,800/year. Ohio Northern University has made annual donations but there is no official agreement in place. 2022 grant income for equipment has been just $700.

Billing income does not come close to the cost of making EMS runs. The amounts collected from private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid are significantly lower than the amount billed. Also significant in a rural district is the fact that the cost of traveling to a call cannot be billed. 

No transport runs–when a patient declines to go to the hospital or wants a service provided such as a blood pressure check–are not currently billed. Miller commented that area EMS departments are beginning to question whether this practice is sustainable.

Representing the EMS district were Chief Miller, Fiscal Officer Nancy Kindle, and board members Jeff Acheson, representing Liberty Township; Sheila Coressel, board chair, representing the Village of Ada; and Terry Keiser, member at large.