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Monday, March 8, 2021

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Ambulance Service in Jeopardy

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Whether it is you or a family member when facing a medical emergency, every second counts.

Since 1998, Enloe Emergency Medical Services as been the exclusive provider of ground ambulance services to Colusa County Residents.

“We feel it is important to provide Colusa County Residents with a quality, reliable and rapid response for medical emergencies,” said directory of Enloe Emergency Services, Marty Marshall.

With a population of around 21,000, Colusa County is a unique challenge as most of the population is spread out between seven communities with a span of 1,151 square land miles.

“It is necessary for us to provide two 24-hour ambulance services to help keep the response time low,” said Marshall, “however, it is not sustainable, and adjustments need to be made.”

Marshall compared the County of Colusa to the City of Gridley.

“Gridley has the same number of calls within its city, as the County of Colusa has in just one year.” Said Marshall.

With the ambulance service losing an estimated $300,000 a year, Marshall commented that costs are going up, and reimbursements are going down.

“Our operating and staffing costs are increasing, and our reimbursement from insurance companies is minimal and decreases each year.” Said Marshall, “and in Colusa County, many of our calls are Medicare or Medi-Cal patients and we receive pennies on the dollar for reimbursements.”

With the Ambulance Service contract up for renewal, operation changes may be necessary.

“When we renewed our contract in 2010, we were given the option to automatically renew in 2014 – however, we did a financial analysis and found that we needed to make some changes,” said Marshall, “When we approached the County of Colusa about these changes they said that they would have to go out to bid again and we’d have to present a new proposal.”

With the January deadline looming, Marshall commented that they are discussing several options to maintain a viable ambulance service.

“We are looking at the possibility of havening one full-time ambulance and one part-time ambulance based on call history,” said Marshall.

Additionally, Enloe Emergency Medical Services has a Ground Ambulance Membership Plan for Colusa County that helps save members money and helps support the Ambulance Service.

“For an annual payment of $100, individuals or families in Colusa County can participate in the Colusa County Ground Ambulance Membership Program,” said Marshall, “the program provides a cap on out-of-pocket expenses for costly ambulance transports while supporting the county-wide ambulance program.”

How does the Colusa Ground Ambulance Membership Program work?

The average cost of transport of a ground ambulance in Colusa County is approximately $4,000 – and with most insurance plans covering 50% to 80% the patient can be stuck with the remaining balance.

“With the Membership Program, we will accept the reimbursement from the patient’s insurance company and will not charge the patient with the remaining balance,” said Marshall.

Furthermore, if a member does not have health insurance at the time of ambulance service, the patient will be responsible for paying the Colusa Ground Ambulance just $500.

“It is a great savings program, and beneficial to Colusa County Residents,” Marshall added.

The membership is not an insurance policy or a substitute for insurance. Members assign their benefits from their insurer to Colusa County Ground Ambulance.

To join the Colusa Ground Ambulance Program, download the application by clicking here, or ask your local Fire Department for an application.

“Enloe Medical Emergency Services is very committed to Colusa County, and we are working to solve this issue to ensure the continuation of quality service,” said Marshall.

EDITORS NOTE: This is Article One of a series of upcoming articles regarding the Colusa County Ambulance Service, in the Williams Pioneer Review.

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