Posts Tagged Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board

Antioch renews contract with Superior

The Lake-County Sun has an article about Antioch’s decision to extend their EMS contract for another year:

Metro Paramedic Services will continue to provide emergency medical services in the village for at least another year. Village officials agreed to renew the contract with Metro to provide six paramedics and six emergency medical technicians to staff the two village-owned fire stations 24 hours daily. The 12 state-certified ambulance personnel employed by Metro are all local volunteer firefighters.

Metro has been providing both equipment and personnel since the village terminated its 72-year relationship with the not-for-profit Antioch Rescue Squad on June 1, 2013.

Metro is a contract agency that employs trained firefighters, paramedics and EMTs to many fire agencies throughout northern Illinois. “It is a cost effective alternative to municipalities hiring their own full-time employees,” said Fire Chief John Nixon. Metro also provides all applicable benefits to their employees.

The village will save about $106,000 annually by contracting for only personnel and dropping a contract for equipment. Antioch Firefighters Association last month donated an ALS (advanced life support) ambulance bringing the village’s fleet to three fully-equipped ALS ambulances. The personnel-only contract will cost the village $795,376 annually or $66,281 monthly.

Last year, the village purchased a used 2000 International Ambulance with 22,000 miles and obtained another used 2000 ambulance with funds from the state Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board. The vehicles and equipment had to pass state inspection before they could be used by the village. That step was completed Friday, said Nixon.

Even though the village is saving money by providing its own vehicles, revenue falls far short of costs, said Nixon. The average cost of an EMS call is $920. Nixon estimates the cost for 1,863 projected annual EMS calls will total $1.128 million, but estimated revenue will probably be at only 42 percent of that total for the first year or $475,000.

Nixon said about 32 percent of rescue calls are reimbursed by insurance, 33 percent are covered by Medicare and 12 percent are covered by Medicaid. The balance of patients have no insurance and in many cases, can’t pay the cost for the service. To help balance revenue with expenses, village officials also agreed to raise ambulance and life safety fees.

Nixon said the new rates are comparable to rates charged by other neighboring municipalities that do not levy a tax for EMS services. He projects the combined cost for EMS and fire services in the village will total $840,000.

The village is working with the township, served by the First Fire Protection District, to jointly provide fire and rescue services and reduce costs. The villages shares costs with the fire district for fire protection but each entity is responsible for providing its own rescue service. The township is continuing to contract with Antioch Rescue Squad for rescue calls in the township. The contract with ARS expires May 8. Because EMS is not funded through tax revenue the village and fire district are exploring the option of a tax levy to help offset ambulance service costs.

“If a tax levy were in place for EMS we could significantly lower fees,” said Nixon, explaining the higher fees adopted by the village board will help cover the costs to serve all residents, including those who can’t afford to pay.

“Right now the revenue to cover those expenses is coming from the village’s general fund, which also pays for fire, police, village and parks services.”


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Antioch buys 2nd used ambulance

The Lake County News Sun has an article about the Antioch Fire Department’s purchase of a used ambulance from the Town of Paris.

The purchase of a used ambulance may allow the village to save significant funds as village officials consider renewing a contract to provide emergency medical services with Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Services. Village officials contracted with the private ambulance service company when they terminated a contract with Antioch Rescue Squad on May 31. The contract expires Nov. 30.

Superior’s contract with the village is for a turn-key operation, providing two fully-equipped ambulances, each staffed by two state-certified paramedics 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the two village fire stations.

As the village considers how it will provide future EMS service, the $20,000 purchase of a 2000 International Ambulance with 22,000 miles on the odometer is an excellent buy, said Fire Chief John Nixon, who oversees the village’s fire and rescue services. “This puts us closer to the goal of moving away from leasing ambulances and will save us a lot of money as we look toward renewing a contract for EMS services.”

used ambulance bought by the Antioch FD

The Antioch FD purchased this used ambulance from the Town of Paris, WI. Paris FD photo

He said the current lease costs the village $53,000 annually per each equipped ambulance. Equipping the used ambulance from the Town of Paris in Wisconsin would bring the total up to about $35,000, but it would be a one-time cost that could result in big savings over the next few years, Nixon said. The village already has one used ambulance and would like to own a total of three to allow for one back-up vehicle in the fleet. “I already know of another used ambulance that may soon become available, and by the time we would need to replace any of the used equipment, we would know our cash flow and be prepared to look at purchasing new equipment.”

The village already has one ambulance donated in June by the state Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board, purchased from the village of Winnetka with 55,000 miles. By law, the funds paid by out-of-state fire insurance companies that sell fire insurance in Illinois must be used to benefit Illinois fire departments.

“Both of the ambulances are in excellent shape and will allow us to deliver service for several years. We are looking to acquire a third ambulance in early 2014,” said Nixon, explaining as other fire departments acquire new equipment, they often sell their used equipment to departments just starting up. “We jump on these deals when they become available.”

The department also acquired two donated portable Lifepak monitors/defibrillators donated by the local Antioch Firefighters Association to be used in the ambulances.

Nixon said a new fully-equipped ambulance costs about $220,000. Funds to purchase and equip the used ambulance will come from the village’s capital funds earmarked for the fire department. “There is a very limited market for used equipment. I think this is an excellent buy and puts us in a good position to eventually eliminate the need to lease equipment.”

Nixon said the goal is to eliminate the lease for one ambulance for the next contract year with Superior and the following year eliminate the lease for a second ambulance. Before the ambulances are put into service they have to pass an inspection by the Illinois Department of Public Health. “I am trying to move the contract from labor and equipment to labor only,” said Nixon. “We are not yet ready to go into hiring full-blown firefighter/paramedics for our department that could allow us to eliminate an outside contractor entirely.”

Right now Superior responds to emergency medical calls only within the village because ARS has a one-year contract with the First Fire District to serve unincorporated Antioch Township. While the fire department is overseen and funded jointly by the village and first fire district which represents the township, each entity is responsible for contracting for ambulance services for their respective geographic areas. The final decision on how the fire department and paramedic services are integrated may not be decided until the First Fire District, serving the township, and the village resolve a proposed consolidation.

thanks Ron

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