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EMS debate heats up

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MEGAN GRAY

The Ellis County Press

FERRIS – A standing room only crowd packed the council chambers Monday, July 26 for the much anticipated discussion on the city’s fire department and who will be the emergency services provider.

City Manager Eric Strong had a handout made for the public to show a range of options the city could do with the total costs for each with and without using CareFlite or first responders.

" I think right now we have an option for full time ambulance service and I think we should seriously consider it," said Strong.

Four people spoke out during the public comments with Lisa Duran mentioning the letter circulating the city from an anonymous person within the fire department.

"I have been here 19 years," said Duran.

"CareFlite cannot do it by themselves, there is no possible way and if you think that letter going around town is an exaggeration, it’s not. Money is not worth the discussion."

Whether to provide first responder service was a question among councilmember’s for the majority of the two hour debate.

"I think it’s important to keep first responders," said Mark Kessler, spokesman for Care Flite.

"There are many things they can do for a community and they start the life saving measures until we arrive on the scene."

Fire Chief Eddie Dunn explained they [the city] can be affordable for ambulance service such as CareFlite.

"We send out three notices, after the third notice and it’s not paid, we write it off," said Duran.

Mayor Rick Barrett asked , " Do we not have a collection agency?"

Upon an open records request for public information, the city is in contract with an agency in Houston. (See chart on page 2.)

"I’m not against the fire department at all but, the system in Ferris, Texas is broke," said Councilwoman Carol Wright.

"It’s got to be fixed to protect our community."

Councilman Gary Ross disagreed.

"We never gave these guys a chance, I will give up the ball field even," said Ross.

The council, with a motion made by Wright, decided to table the discussion and final vote so the staff could work though some logistics.

The vote was approved 4-1.

"I think it’s a mistake to table this, we need to make a decision," said the lone opposing vote, Councilman Billy Don Dunn.

Due to two council members being on vacation, the next special meeting to finalize everything will be held at city hall Monday, Aug. 9.

Ferris EMS billing summary for 2009
Date

Charges

Payments

Adjustments
Write-offs

Carryover 

           
Jan.

$17,216.78

$2,901.84

$5,129.85

$0.00

$9,185.09

Feb.

$26,393.42

$4,685.13

$4,913.92

$2,243.48

$14,550.89

March

$14,642.14

$8,269.86

$6,821.20

$0.00

($448.92)

April

$20,919.07

$3,850.06

$3,157.74

$0.00

$13,911.27

May

$15,996.86

$6,101.34

$8,707.25

$2,467.64

($1,279.37)

June

$13,165.24

$5,286.40

$1,595.64

$182.32

$6,100.88

July

$11,966.86

$5,099.88

$2,598.03

$9,632.50

($5,363.63)

Aug.

$15,718.50

$3,859.12

$3,188.21

$3,873.00

$4,798.17

Sept.

$14,571.25

$5,191.01

$4,498.58

$0.00

$4,881.66

Oct.

$16,513.78

$2,267.16

$3,149.18

$556.77

$10,540.67

Nov.

$3,845.14

$8,754.18

$4,806.68

$0.00

($9,715.72)

Dec.

$8,865.00

$4,172.63

$2,651.91

$0.00

$2,040.46

  *Carryover rate is what was owed from the previous month and carried over to the next month.
  The city contracts with i Adpi, part of Intermedix Technologies Inc. in Houston to collect their ambulance fees. 
By contract, the city receives 88 percent of the collections with  12 percent going to Adpi. 


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