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  • Last modified 70 days ago (Feb. 13, 2019)

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EMS expenses average $676 per run

Staff writer

Marion County Emergency Medical Service is one of the county’s largest departments and budget activity reports reflect that, but determining how much each run costs can be difficult.

For 2018, there were 1,419 ambulance runs, and 76 first response runs. The department generated $598,603.67 in revenue from these, usually from charging insurance companies when responding to a call.

That generated $400.40 per run, but is not the only source of revenue for EMS. The department also received $1,385,859.43 in tax money through the county.

Expenditures of $1,010,761.89 include contractual expenses, employee pay, commodities, and individual department expenses.

By dividing expenses by the number of calls, the average run costs $676.09, with $275.69 covered by county tax revenue.

While not all expenses correlate directly to ambulance runs, things like Internet and heat should be factored in, EMS director Travis Parmley said.

“The state requires that we keep the ambulance bay at 50 degrees,” he said. “I have to have a heater, electricity, all these things to keep the service running.”

One of the difficulties with defining the cost per run is that supplies and services needed vary between calls, Parmley said.

State law requires the ambulance be stocked with oxygen, specific drugs, and designated supplies at all times, though not all supplies are needed for every call, Parmley said.

“They all cost money.” he said.

October was a profitable month, generating $62,553.84 from 139 calls.

While the runs took place in October, profits were not finalized until November, department secretary Jamie Shirley said.

Omni Billing, the company contracted to handle EMS billing, and filing insurance claims, can’t always collect payment within a month, she said.

Money collected by EMS usually runs behind ambulance calls by a month or longer.

On November’s report, there was $84,401.12 in total expenses, with $68,343.82 spent on employee pay, and $16,057.30 on all other expenses.

Despite having higher total expenditures, the cost of $607.20 per run was lower in October because it was spread over more calls.

That, coupled with higher revenue of $450.03 per run, meant the service cost taxpayers significantly less in October. Taxpayer funding for that span was $157.17 per run, $118.52 below average.

Last modified Feb. 13, 2019

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