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EMS Levy will appear on ballot

By Staff | Sep 29, 2010

Throughout Tyler County, residents and healthcare professionals are rallying behind a measure that will direct much-needed funds to emergency medical services.

The EMS Levy was narrowly defeated in May’s Primary Election with 57 percent of the ballots cast in favor of funding, however, the it fell short of the 60 percent margin required for passage.

According to those in favor of the measure, the funding is critical in insuring the continuity of emergency services in the county.

Funding would provide vehicles and equipment which allow EMS to respond to the community’s medical emergencies, provides money for supplies and maintenance and allows EMS to provide the citizens of Tyler County with a sense of security should they ever have a medical emergency.

Levy money will be used to purchase and maintain the ambulances and medical equipment and will be put toward the upkeep and operational expenses for the squad buildings. These expenses alone exceed $150,000 per year, but levy money would cover approximately 37 percent of the operating expenses.

With continual cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and insurance reimbursements, billing now brings in 64 cents for every dollar invoiced. This figure is expected to go even lower with massive cuts in Medicare due to take effect as part of the new government healthcare initiative.EMS supporters adamantly feel this will threaten the survival of many squads in West Virginia, including those operating in Tyler County.

“EMS is facing many challenges with coming changes in the healthcare law; we are likely to see a significant decrease in reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and Third-Party payers. The Levy is vital to the continued operation of Tyler County’s EMS agencies.” Dave Cutright, Ambulance Services Manager, Sistersville General Hospital.

The measure will appear on the ballot once again on Nov. 2.