All parties in agreement to support proposed rate increases for Ken-Tenn EMS

by Barbara Atwill

Mike Gunn, secretary of Ken-Tenn EMS, reported all partners, city of Fulton, city of Hickman, city of South Fulton, and Fulton County, are on board for the rate increase in ambulance service effective July 1, during the May 20 monthly Ken-Tenn EMS Board meeting at Hickman City Hall. EMS Board members present included Jim Martin, David Weatherly, Johnny Bacon, Cubb Stokes, Hugh Caldwell and Gunn.

Martin stated, “I’m encouraged, no matter what happens cost wise, people will stick with us.”

Gunn said, “I’ve heard a little bit, mixed, both ways. More positive and encouraged than anything, including I don’t want to do without an ambulance service here.”

“Some of the ones saying they weren’t going to pay, I looked at the list and they are not paying now,” stated Martin.

“Residents are asking why don’t you just pass a tax to where everyone pays? We are headed there on the Kentucky side, but who knows when that will get through Legislation,” commented Gunn.

Caldwell said, “I like the Facebook presence. Social media will be the way to get the word out, not to say anything against the newspaper, but they have a wide area to cover and my wife doesn’t even look at it. It has too much other stuff that she is not interested in. I think if we can get some people to do testimonials on Facebook it will help. I’m waiting until the new fee starts and then I will put something on my page and I think each of us should share something encouraging social media.”

“When you do the first one tag Ken-Tenn EMS,” stated Kevin Kelley, Ken-Tenn EMS Director.

Gunn suggested, “Anytime Kevin posts something for Ken-Tenn EMS share it to help with the views. It makes a big difference.”

Members looked over a corrected copy of a mailer that will be mailed to all residents of Fulton County and South Fulton, Tenn., concerning the ambulance service.

Gunn noted, “The city water bills for Fulton, Hickman, and South Fulton run in arrears and the increase will not be on the bills until the one received in August. July bills are mailed in June so the customer will not see it until the August bill.”

“A letter will be sent to commercial and industrial businesses, and churches, explaining how the membership program and the updated rate for each,” reported Gunn.

Letters will also be worked up to be sent to individuals and businesses who made donations last year about donating again this year.

April finances were discussed with Kelly reporting Wellcare has sent a payment of $20,000 along with one corporation partner paying.

Director’s Report included a total of 176 EMS calls for service with 44 for non-transports; seven for Interfacility transports; 7,389 miles driven; and two blood draws.

“Average runs are up above projections,” reported Kelley.

Gunn reported, “We will have to set a budget, with Kevin, Milton Dean, and myself sitting down and going back to the drawing board and the budget will look different going forward.”

The Board discussed having an EMS Refusal letter by all partners for customers who refuse to pay the ambulance fee.

“We need to get the word out to those paying with automatic draft for the increase,” reported Caldwell.

An issue of insurance companies sending a check to the patient to pay the ambulance service, but the individual keeping the payment was discussed. The EMS Board has decided to go after the individuals for collection and possibly prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law.

Discussion was held about who is covered at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, businesses, and jail.

“At the moment, only employees of the businesses are covered, not the residents, customers, or inmates. We need to have discussions with the nursing facilities, assisted living, etc.,” reported Gunn.

Board members were informed new signature cards at Heritage Bank and The Citizens Bank are required. The Board voted for Pete Algee, Hugh Caldwell, and Amelia Prater to be authorized to sign checks.

Members David Gallagher, Pete Algee, and Amelia Prater were not present.