MRH weighs changes to emergency services line amid high costs |

MRH weighs changes to emergency services line amid high costs

First responders in Craig tend to victim-actor and Councilman Steve Mazzuca, who played a seriously wounded police officer during Memorial Regional Health's mass casualty drill Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Clay Thorp/Staff

Memorial Regional Health’s EMS division is an Advanced Life Support (ALS) service, which is just one part to an essential service to all 4,754 miles of the county. However, the cost of the service line is more than $1 million a year in cash for the hospital, which has led to more than $750K in losses over the last year.

In addition to MRH’s EMS division, Maybell has a volunteer ambulance service, while Trapper Mine and Craig Station have an in-house ambulance service. Craig Fire/Rescue has EMT’s on staff, but does not have an ambulance, while Classic Air also operates in Moffat County. Maybell and Trapper Mine/ Craig Station routinely rendezvous with MRH’s ambulance service in the field for care.

MRH’s service line is not the only one having financial issues locally, but the financial loss is staggering.

The deficit loss of $754K last year alone was too much for MRH to handle, so Chief Executive Officer Andy Daniels implemented a working sub-committee of Board of Trustees members at the Feb. 20 BOT meeting, recommending the sub-committee study the issue of the deficit loss in hopes of coming up with alternatives to try and lessen the loss moving forward.

BOT members Todd Jourgensen and Terry Carwile, as well as MRH employees Michael Buda, Amy Peck, and Sam Radke were appointed to the sub-committee.

According to Daniels, MRH spent $1,116,322.00 in cash on the EMS line last year, collecting just $361,698.13 in cash on gross EMS charges, which totaled $1,307,150.00. In total, MRH lost $754,623.13 in cash on the EMS line last year.

The issue, according to Daniels’ report to the board, was that Medicare and Medicaid made up 76 percent of the EMS business. Medicare and Medicaid are the two slowest payers when it comes to claims.

“I don’t have an answer for you on how we fix this,” Daniels told the board. “That deficit loss is just unsustainable; we just can’t keep doing that. I’m asking for some help with the sub-committee.

“There has to be options out there; we don’t know the answer, but there has got to be options and answers out there for us.”

With the formation of the sub-committee, the BOT hopes to have some solutions presented at the next meeting in late March.

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