By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The proposed budget of $439,121 for the Colfax Rescue Squad for 2015 is $3,617 more than this year’s budget.
Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad, presented the proposed budget at the rescue squad’s annual meeting August 26.
Some portions of the rescue squad budget have increased and some have decreased, Knutson noted.
Bad debts have increased by $24,000, but employee benefits for insurance have decreased by $24,000.
Knutson said that he declined to take the insurance offered by the village, and instead, now is covered under the insurance offered by his wife’s employer.
The increase in bad debt is partially due to the difference between what the rescue squad charges for a call and what Medicare will pay and also because some old accounts needed to be written off, said Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.
According to the annual report, in 2012, for example, Colfax collected nearly $56,000 in Medicare payments but billed out between $100,000 and $125,000.
Boyceville collected $23,086 in Medicare payments in 2012, while Menomonie collected $241,166 in Medicare payments.
Bloomer collected over $42,000 in Medicare payments in 2012, and Chetek collected over $100,000 in Medicare payments for that year.
While information is available about the amount of Medicare payments paid to the ambulance services, there is no information about how much each service billed out, Knutson noted.
The rates charged by the Colfax Rescue Squad will increase by between 2.6 percent and 3.2 percent based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index for healthcare, transportation and medical services.
The basic life support base rate for a resident of the ambulance district will increase by $16.57 to $653.72.
The basic life support base rate for a non-resident will increase by $20.43 to $806.25.
The base rate for advanced life support for a resident will increase by $19.88 to $748.47.
The base rate for advanced life support for a non-resident will increase by $23.75 to $936.99.
Basic life support on scene when the patient refuses transport will increase by $4.97 to $196.12.
The Colfax Rescue Squad’s per capita rate for each of the municipalities in the ambulance district will remain $16.17, the same rate for the past three years.
The Village of Colfax will be paying $18,223 for 2015, a decrease of $210.
The Town of Colfax will be paying $20,066 for 2015, an increase of $307.
The Village of Elk Mound will be paying $14,197, a decrease of $16.17.
The Town of Elk Mound will be paying $29,930, an increase of $436.
The Town of Grant will be paying $6,241, a decrease of $16.17.
The Town of Otter Creek will be paying $8,020, a decrease of $32.34.
The Town of Sand Creek will be paying $9,281, an increase of $32.34.
The Town of Tainter will be paying $19,258, an increase of $177.87.
The Village of Wheeler will be paying $5,708, an increase of $97.02.
The fluctuations in the total amount per capita is due to increases and decreases in the population of a municipality.
Knutson said one of the municipalities in the Colfax ambulance district had been approached by another ambulance service to join the other ambulance district.
According to the formula for the other ambulance service, instead of $18,000 for the year, the Village of Colfax would pay $103,000. The Town of Colfax, instead of $20,000, would pay $54,000. Instead of $14,000, the Village of Elk Mound would pay $56,000. The Town of Elk Mound, instead of $29,000, would pay $70,000. The Town of Tainter, instead of $19,000, would pay $38,000. And the Village of Wheeler, instead of $5,000, would pay $36,000.
The alternate formula from the other service includes a charge of $715 per hour every time the ambulance rolls into the municipality. The charge is billed directly to the municipality, Knutson noted.
The ten-year plan for the Colfax Rescue Squad for this year includes purchasing two defibrillators for $68,000 and purchasing a new ambulance for $191,000.
The defibrillators were paid for by a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, Knutson said.
The rescue squad’s second ambulance was scheduled to be replaced next year, but the vehicle started leaking just about every kind of liquid it could leak, so the ambulance was replaced this year, he said.
Every year the rescue squad budget has included $20,000 for a replacement ambulance, and the difference between the ambulance price and the money set aside and money left over from last year’s budget was about $15,000.
At the time the Colfax Village Board approved the ambulance purchase, it was with the understanding that the rescue squad would borrow the extra money from the village and pay it back when the 2015 appropriation from the municipalities was received.
The new ambulance was scheduled to be delivered the following week after the annual meeting.
The plan for next year is to purchase a computer television monitor to allow the use of the county’s electronic maps and to purchase new shelving units for the crew quarters upstairs.