Boyceville ambulance district plagued by cash flow problems

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE — Many rural ambulance services suffer cash flow problems.

And the Boyceville ambulance district is no exception.

Tom Kortas, a CPA with Clifton Larson Allen LLP, spoke at the February 13 meeting of the Boyceville ambulance district about the district’s finances.

The ambulance district had a deficit at the beginning of this year of $26,719, Kortas said.

In 2009, the Boyceville ambulance service was $100,000 in the black, he noted.

Wages are the biggest expense for the ambulance service, Kortas noted.

According to a financial report distributed to those attending the meeting, the ambulance service generated a gross payroll of $13,542.09 for January.

Last year, the Boyceville ambulance service switched from a volunteer service to a paid service.

The amounts that have been budgeted also present a problem for the ambulance district’s finances, Kortas said.

“You are not taking in the money you think you are taking in,” he said.

The ambulance district tends to collect less in revenue than has been included in the budget and tends to budget more for expenses than is actually spent, Kortas said.

“The problem is on the revenue side and not on the expenses,” he said.

Income

Matt Feeney, director of the Boyceville ambulance service, pointed out that Medicare and Medicaid only pay a certain percentage of the amount that the ambulance service charges.

In addition, Dunn County is a low income area, so the Boyceville ambulance service has a larger percentage of the population eligible for Medicare and Medicaid than might be the case if the service were located in another county, he said.

“We get more money if the patients have their own insurance,” Feeney said.

Feeney also noted that the Boyceville service is receiving more calls to transfer patients and that the ambulance service receives the full amount charged for transfers.

According to the financial report, the ambulance service received $75,663.04 on February 1, had expenses of $6,330.41, and had funds on hand of $84,931.52.

Out of the amount received, $67,000 came from the assessment paid by the Village of Boyceville, and another $8,500 came from accounts that had been paid, said Cindy Swanepoel, village clerk-treasurer.

Out of the nearly $85,000 in funds on hand, however, $30,000 of that amount came from a line of credit at the bank and another $25,000 was from a loan from the village, she said.

A total of $55,000 “is not ambulance money,” Swanepoel said.

The ambulance service implemented a rate increase last year, and assessments from the other townships will be paid shortly, Swanepoel noted.

Cash flow problems “may be more obvious now because (the ambulance district) is meeting monthly,” she said.

The Boyceville ambulance service is writing off 40 percent of what is billed, Kortas said.

The ambulance service is writing off what the state says should be written off, said Gilbert Krueger, village president and chair of the ambulance district and the fire district.

The Boyceville ambulance district meets next on March 12 at 7 p.m. and will be discussing setting up a committee to write a five-year plan for the ambulance service.

Fire district

The Boyceville fire district also met on February 13 just prior to the ambulance district meeting.

The Boyceville fire department has gone out on ten runs so far this year. Several of the runs were for structure fires but the remainder of the runs were for EMS assists and car accidents, reported Brian Marlette, fire chief.

The Boyceville fire district approved the following officers for 2013 that had been elected by members of the fire department: Brian Marlette (chief); Chris Wisemiller (first assistant fire chief); Troy Kostman (second assistant fire chief); Dan Knops (captain); Jamie Mittlestadt (lieutenant); Don Rose (safety); Theo Curvello (engineer); Lisa Pederson (secretary/treasurer).

According to the financial report, the Boyceville Fire Department had funds on hand of $162,899.19.

The Boyceville fire district meets next on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. and also will be discussing a committee to put together a five-year plan.