Why are residents who pay taxes to the Ambulance District billed for ambulance service?
Population growth, increasing call volume, a stagnant property tax base and healthcare reform have all played considerable roles in requiring the District to once again begin billing patients for services not covered by their insurance provider.
From 2007 to 2010, SCCAD had an ordinance in effect which allowed residents of the County not to incur any ‘out of pocket’ expenses for their medical emergency when transported by ambulance. The District billed the patient’s insurance provider (if any) and wrote off any remaining balance. This ordinance was referred to as Compassionate Billing.
In recent years, property values have remained stagnant, causing the District to become increasingly reliant on user fees in order to meet the rising costs of operation. Currently, user fees represent approximately 53 percent of the District’s revenue – a increase of 18 percent from a decade ago. After incurring a $3.5 million budget deficit in 2010, St. Charles County Ambulance District rescinded the Compassionate Billing Ordinance in 2011 in order to remain operational.
How is the property tax rate I pay to SCCAD computed?
The amount paid to any taxing district in St. Charles County (ambulance, library, community college, fire district, etc.) can be computed by dividing the assessed valuation of your home by 100, then the entity’s tax rate. Assessed valuation is figured by multiplying home value by .19.
Taking a $100,000 home as an example:
$100,000 x .19 = $19,000
$19,000 / 100 = $190
$190 x .1365 (SCCAD 2013 general tax rate) = $25.94
In which areas of the County does SCCAD provide ambulance service?
The District provides ambulance service for all municipalities and unincorporated areas of St. Charles County. In total, our service area is 592 square miles.
Why do local fire agencies run on so many emergency medical calls?
Fire Protection Districts respond on emergency medical calls for a variety of reasons. In some cases, such as motor vehicle accidents, their personnel provide extrication services. In acute medical situations, firefighters trained as Emergency Medical Technicians can assist our Paramedics with certain aspects of providing care. All firefighters in St. Charles County work under SCCAD’s medical protocols, ensuring a continuity of care.
Is St. Charles County Ambulance District part of County Government or my local Fire Protection District?
No. St. Charles County Ambulance District is taxing entity separate from County Government or any Fire Protection District. We receive no tax revenue from the county or any fire district.
How does the Hancock amendment affect the Ambulance District?
Among other provisions, Missouri’s Hancock Amendment prevents SCCAD and other taxing entities from realizing a windfall of property tax revenue when assessed valuation rises. Under the amendment, if assessed valuation within the county rises, taxing entities must roll their tax rate back. Revenue growth is limited to that of the consumer price index.
How do tax increment financing districts (TIFs) affect SCCAD?
TIFs are a public financing method used commonly used as a subsidy for development within a community. Generally speaking, to encourage development in a particular area, commercial builders are given a full or partial reprieve from property taxes for a specified period of time (sometimes as long as 20 years).
SCCAD and certain other tax-supported entities (fire protection districts, police departments, etc.) have a duty to respond to these developments regardless of whether they are paying property taxes.
What’s the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?
The terms Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic are often used interchangeably, but the level of skill and expertise between these positions is actually quite broad.
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are able to provide basic care for a variety of medical emergencies. This may include performing CPR, splinting fractures, providing spinal stabilization and administering oxygen, among other skills. EMTs can assist patients with a handful of medications, but cannot administer most drugs. EMT licensure is attained following the successful completion of a five-month classroom training program, [approximately] 40 clinical hours, and written & practical national registry tests.
Paramedics are able to provide advanced life support and pre-hospital care for a wide variety of medical emergencies. This includes assessment, diagnosis and developing a plan of treatment. Paramedics are trained in and perform an array of advanced treatment skills, and are able to administer life-saving medications in the field. Paramedic licensure is attained following the successful completion of a one-year classroom training program, at least 750 clinical hours and written & practical national registry tests.
In virtually all EMS agencies, Paramedics and EMTs work under protocols developed by a Physician. In the interest of providing the best care possible for our community, SCCAD staffs only Paramedics on our ambulances.