Each September, North Fork Ambulance has conducted an annual membership drive to ask residents and businesses to become members, but that will not take place this year. If you are a member, you will receive a renewal letter in the mail.
At this time NFA will not be conducting a membership drive to attract new members this fall. This is because two funding questions for North Fork Ambulance will be on the ballot in November and NFA board members are hopeful both measures will pass.
Voters will be asked to approve two questions; 7E asks for the formation of a Special District and establishes the initial Board of Directors. 7F asks for funding of the District. The formation and funding of a special district will provide the core financial support needed to maintain quality ambulance service in three communities, upgrade and replace aging equipment and ambulances and retain and attract on-call staff members and provide them with quality EMS training.
If the district is formed, North Fork Ambulance will prorate memberships and refunds will be offered when the district starts providing ambulance service.
In the event that the special district does not pass, memberships and ambulance benefits will remain in place for 365 days from when it was paid. Membership Drive would also take place immediately.
North Fork Ambulance has never received public funding, but has been funded by membership, grants, donations and fees for service. Calls for service have increased 22 percent over the past 10 years. Insurance industry standard caps by Medicare and private insurance cause write-offs of 50 percent of what is billed. The Colorado Medicaid program pays 12 cents on the dollar resulting in an 88 percent write off. The number of people who have been accepted by Medicaid in Delta County has increased from 1,172 in September 2013, to 10,221 by the end of 2016. The agency is also struggling with the rising cost of EMS equipment, vehicles, training and supplies. Only one out of three residents are currently members and while this reflects great support and community participation, these few cannot continue to carry 100 percent of the system!
North Fork Ambulance board members have been researching options for financial sustainability since 2015. Through financial analysis, it is clear that for this service to continue and have the flexibility to meet the needs of the future, the current financial structure must evolve. It has been determined the best solution is the formation of a special district to sustain quality ambulance service now and into the future.
Please visit www.NorthForkAmbulance.com for more information.