Iola ambulance profitable

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Iola ambulances have made 700 runs this year resulting in billings of about $400,000, city commissioners were told Tuesday afternoon. Mark Michael, firefighter and emergency responder with the ambulance service, prepared the report.
Anticipated collections from the billings were about $300,000 after write-offs, mainly through Medicare, Michael said. About 85 percent of the city’s runs are billed to Medicare, with the totals to date at $200,000 and $114,210 collected. Transfers from nursing homes typify such runs.
“Medicare payments run about two months behind,” Michael noted.
Iola started its own ambulance service Dec. 1, 2008 after having a falling out with Allen County. For years ambulance service was a joint venture of the county and three cities, Iola, Moran and Humboldt.
As part of his report, Michael recommended no change in rates. The county, which serves all citizens outside Iola, raised its rates recently to industry averages.
“We just want to break even,” said Mayor Bill Maness.

CITY ADMINISTRATOR Judy Brigham said she was certain a place could be found to store National Guard equipment being transferred to Iola with the closing of several armories in southeast Kansas.
Commissioner Bill Shirley said he had been contacted and stressed “we should help however we can. We’re fortunate to have the armory here.”
Suggested sites were near the warehouse at the northwest edge of town or in green spaces created by demolition of flood-ravaged homes in south Iola.
Shirley also questioned whether the city would give raises on the pay scale in 2010. “I thought we’d frozen raises,” he said.
Brigham said it was her understanding — it also was Commissioner Craig Abbott’s — that no cost of living adjustment would be made to the pay scale, but step increases would be honored. The city uses the Social Security Cost Of Living Adjustment as a guide, which is zero for 2010.
Commissioners asked for an accounting of personnel costs for a year’s time. That information, including pay scale consideration, will be given them at their Jan. 11 meeting.