DARLINGTON – Members of the Rural Medical Ambulance Service presented a proposal to the Rural Medical Board of Directors stating changing the by-laws in order for the ambulance service to become a membership operated service.
Membership representative Jeff Berget explained the proposal to the board. The proposal stated that in discussions with an attorney, a simple re-write of Article 3 of the by-laws to change the Board of Directors would need to be changed. The Board of Directors would then be comprised of service members and members-at-large from the communities that the ambulance service serves in their district. The community members-at-large would hold more seats than the membership does.
The municipalities in the district would enter into a contractual agreement. Nothing would change in the service. It would still be a non-profit. They agreed to provide one ambulance staffed 24/7 by an on call group that would respond to 911 calls. The second ambulance would be staffed and available to people that respond to the garage.
They would operate on a subsidy from each municipality in the district. They would continue with the per capita of $5 in 2018. In addition to the $5, an increase of $2.50 would take place in 2019 and again in 2020, so the subsidy for operation expenses would be $7.50/capita in 2019 and in 2020 it will be $10/capita.
Dave Meister asked a board member from each municipality would be on the board. Berget stated not necessarily. A citizen will be selected from each municipality.
Berget said they spoke with the Service Director for the Mineral Point Ambulance Service, who has always been solely membership run ambulance. The Rural Medical members used similar ideas to that of Mineral Point.
“You think you can get it done for $10?” Board member Andy Schilling asked.
“We’ve run numbers and looked at the budget that we currently have. We are considering some steps to tighten our belts,” Berget explained.
Tim McComish reminded them that they would be accumulating a $28,000 deficit.
Berget stated that membership would take on the debt. Nothing would change except for those persons on the board.
“Who will be legally responsible for the financials and liability? Right now, the municipalities are liable for everything. Is everyone accepting this liability?” Dave Ohnstad asked.
Nikki Goebel said it would be the same as it is now, that the board would take responsibility.
Meister said that they are using the entire $15/capita just to stay even.
“The members and the board are both talking the same but with two different perspectives with the discussion of where do you want to go with this whole operation,” Meister said.
Schuchart commented that they also spoke with Green County EMS and stated their board is structured with members of the ambulance service and others from the community that have varied occupations.
Meister asked if the insurance premium was included in the $5/capita. He thought that they would need to increase the coverage because currently they have insurance for the vehicles and workers compensation.
“Ultimately in a lawsuit, the municipalities are the last stop. If you change this, then it has to be set up and someone has to assume that liability and you would need financial backing to do that,” Ohnstad said.
Schuchart stated she would have to speak with their insurance agent to see if anything additional would have to be added.
Ohnstad spoke for the board in saying they were happy to have the proposal and would meet as a Long Range Planning Committee to take into consideration the idea.