UNION, WV (WVNS) — June 29, 2020, 5:38 p.m. UPDATE: Monroe County Commissioners told 59News STAT EMS rented a building in Union where they will house a temporary station. This will help people living in the county receive faster emergency care.
This comes after commissioners decided to halt the Ambulance Fees after June 30, 2020. Starting Wednesday, July 1, that motion goes into effect.
The commission owes more than $800,000 in ambulance fees.
UNION, WV (WVNS) — They are the first to respond in life threatening situations, but that comes at a cost, and for the people in Monroe County, that price is $100 a year.
At the Monroe County Commission meeting on Thursday, June 18, 2020, commissioners announced only 54 percent of the community paid the county’s ambulance fee.
“We asked for a motion, it was made, seconded, approved that we put the ambulance fee on hold after June the 30th,” Bill Miller, President of the Monroe County Commission, said.
After Union Rescue Squad stopped operating in Monroe County, an annual fee paid for by community members was the only option to bring EMS workers to the county from surrounding areas. According to Miller, the cost of keeping ambulances in the area is at least $700,000 a year. By dividing that by 7,000, the amount of habitable homes in the county, county administrators established the ambulance fee at $100 per year, per residential home. Miller said right now, more than $800,000 is owed in Ambulance Fees.
Miller said starting June 30, 2020, anyone who needs an ambulance will have to pay their bill out of pocket.
“What they collect on the bill, they can collect the whole bill,” Miller said. “It won’t be the guidelines that it is now on the ambulance. They’re paying a hundred dollar fee and after they send the bill to them once, they waive the rest of the bill. They will owe it all.”
But that is not all it means. Without the fee, EMS workers will not be paid to come into the county, leaving community members with the potential to see no ambulances, even in the face of an emergency.
“The ambulance contract is done June the 30th,” Miller said. “They’re here after that at their own will.”
Miller said people living in Monroe County can expect to see an Ambulance Levy on the ballot in November.
Miller added those who have not paid the fee have already been sent to collections.