POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission has assumed control of the Mason County Ambulance Service.
At this week’s county commission meeting, Commissioners Tracy Doolittle, Rick Handley and Sam Nibert, first accepted the resignations of all the members of the Mason County Ambulance Authority Board, of which Handley was also a member. This effectively dissolved the authority board.
With the resignations accepted, commissioners then unanimously passed the following motion: “…members of the Mason County Commission with this resolution do hereby assume full management and control of the Mason County Ambulance Service.”
“The Mason County Commission assumes all responsibilities, liabilities and assets of EMS,” Nibert explained. “This is the best for EMS employees, and best for our senior citizens and it’s the best for all people in the county. Our primary goal is to focus on two areas and those are financing and quality assurance, to make sure we have the amount of funding available for the EMS…and our goal is, as a county commission, to take a good EMS system and turn it into a first class system.”
EMS Director Dylan Handley, also present at the meeting, said he was supportive of the commission’s decision. He explained, Mason County EMS received a “clean audit” in the fall of 2017 and expenditures were down 10 percent in 2017 to save money. However, he added, EMS’ contractual adjustments, which EMS has no control over, continues to be an issue.
“The cost of doing business continues to rise, and the revenue received from insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, continues to fall,” Dylan said.
The issue of funding facing Mason County EMS, is being seen across the state by other ambulance services and one the Mason County Commission has been dealing with for some time now, including attempting to pass an EMS operating levy in 2016, which ultimately failed. Those voting for the levy were 5,807, those voting against the levy were 4,170. However, the levy required 60 percent of the vote in order to pass.
Doolittle stressed EMS services will remain in Mason County.
“As president of the Mason County Commission, I want to assure everyone that our ambulance services are, and will, remain operating,” she said.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.