Commentary

2,957 ambulance calls in Milam last year

A merican Medical Response, Inc. has been providing emergency ambulance service for Milam County since Jan.1, 2005 after Scott and White Pre-Hospital Services discontinued their service to the county.

An EMS Committee made up of representatives from Cameron and Rockdale City Councils and Milam County Commissioners Court negotiated the contract with AMR.

We each pay one third of the cost which currently stands at $95,000 each per year with a five percent increase scheduled in 2013, the last year of the current contract extension.

Thorndale is the only area of the county not included in the agreement. They still maintain their own separate EMS service.

AMR keeps three ambulances in the county, one each in Cameron, Rockdale and Milano staffed ‘round the clock.

They have 18 full time employees in Milam County including nine paramedics and nine basic trained personnel.

These units are called “mobile intensive care units” and are capable of delivering a full range of field care services including cardiac capabilities.

The contract calls for a response time of eight minutes in town, 12 minutes within five miles of town, and 20 minutes in the remaining rural areas of the county, with 90 percent compliance. The patient is responsible for the cost of the service with the amount of the billing based on the level of service required and the distance the patient is transported.

They only charge if the patient is actually transported.

Byron Sedlacek, AMR’s local operations supervisor, tells me that about 55 percent of their calls involve Medicare/Medicaid patients, 20 percent have private insurance and 25 percent are “private payers.”

Practically speaking, the contractual rates end up applying mostly to those with private insurance because Byron explained that less than 10 percent of the “private payers” actually pay their bill.

The overall collection rate runs less than 50 percent year in, year out.

Sad, but true. That’s why the three parties ended up having to subsidize the operation by $285,000 this year.

It costs AMR about $2.2 million per year to run the Milam County operation according to Byron.

In 2011 they responded to 2,957 calls in Milam County and actually made 2,133 transports. If you do the math, that’s a little over $1,000 per transport.

The patient normally makes the call as to where they are transported to, if he or she is capable of making an informed decision.

Their medical condition is the second factor to consider according to Byron.

In 2011, 870 runs were made to Scott and White in Temple, 460 to Little River in Rockdale, 350 to Central Texas in Cameron, and on down from there. AMR is the nation’s largest ambulance provider with more than 18,000 employees, 3,000 ambulances in service in 39 states across the nation.

If you have questions are comments you may call Byron Sedlacek, AMR operations supervisor, office: 512-697-4391; cell: 512-632-6520, or e-mail him at Sedlacek@amrems.com.

dbarkemeyer@milamcounty.net


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2012-08-02 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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