Sunday, August 16, 2009

76% Want The CIP Project Bundle

76% want the CIP Project Bundle done, with 23% opposed.

That brings us to the other half of the question: how to pay for them? Property Tax increase, imposing an Ambulance Fee (as Chesapeake and Norfolk do), Cut Elsewhere to make funds available, or something else?


Ken said...


Unlike Chesapeake and Norfolk, the City of Virginia Beach has primarily a volunteer rescue squad which own the ambulances and provide the transportation. Thus, the City can not charge for transportation as the City does not transport, the volunteer squads transport. Therefore, any fees charged would go to the rescue squads which own the ambulances.

Norfolk and Chesapeake EMT are City run and thus fees can go back to the City.

William Bailey said...

I'm not going to attempt to deminish the service provided by the volunteer EMS providers as they are icing on the City EMS cake. However I'd point out that Ken's comments are mere excuses for not billing for transports. Yes the rescue squads do own the equipment but the City of VB provides insurance, fuel, storage and maintenance for the vast majority of the 34 ambulances. And the VB Human Services Department already has the billing accounts to begin the collections once a decision is made to put this fee in operation.

The volunteer rescue squads do own the ambulances but the city operates the entire EMS system and has the vast majority of the staff that provides the actual transports. I'd point out there are approximately 120 career(paid) paramedics and 350 career (paid)EMT city employees and they do provide the majority of EMS services in Virginia Beach. Yes there are hundreds of volunteers but do the math: Everyday without change there are 120 career EMS employees 24/7 vs. the 8 to 20 volunteers each day(numbers can vary from day to day and holidays or weekends)Folks will provide roadblocks to preserve their "turf" but with minimal set up the City of Virginia Beach can impliment this fee.

BTW: I've been told the Volunteer Rescue Council(all ten rescue organizations) has been considering billing to help raise funds. I've spoken with the State's largest ambulance billing company which happens to be located in VB and have been told it is completely realistic to expect significant income from this effort.

Roadblocks do nothing except protect turf and result in tax increases to all property owners in VB. User fees are our future.

Jason said...

As Mr. Bailey pointed out, though the volunteer organizations own the ambulance units and supply volunteers to staff them, the Department of EMS is a City agency run by a career staff. Also, Mr. Bailey is correct that the City does provide a staff of career paramedics, captains, and chiefs that also man these same ambulance units. They Department of EMS also just held an employment seminar several weeks ago signaling the intent to hire more employees.

In my system billing has been around for some time. Contrary to popular belief most people will not even see these bills. For those who have health insurance these bills are dealt with by the insurance companies, not the individuals. With most patients not even seeing the bill and the significant revenue brought in, how could this ever be a bad idea?

Anonymous said...

I feel that implementing a fee system is one way the City of Va Beach can bring in revenue. The EMS and Fire Departments don't charge for their services and this trend should be reviewed. EMS departments throughout the state charge and insurance will cover the cost of a true emergency transport. This will cut down on the BS calls that EMS goes on and will bring in Revenue. When the career ambulance in Knotts Island transports anyone, they charge. Maybe it is time that our city looks at this.

Another way the City could cut cost to evaluate the vehicles that each squad runs, and the city insures, pays fuel for and other associated cost per truck. There are trucks out there that NEVER go out the door. I know of one truck that hasn't responded to any calls in over 2 years and the only time it has rolled out the door it behind a city wrecker to the garage to be repaired.