A city-owned ambulance on duty in Wauseon since last April has proven to be a moneymaker beyond expectations.
Purchased for $199,000 through Horton Manufacturing of Grove City, Ohio, the vehicle has brought in just over $300,000 in charge-outs since it began making interfacility runs. The city expects to bring in about $100,000 annually. It received about $70,000 over the ambulance’s eight months of operation last year.
Fire Chief Rick Sluder said only half the amount of revenue received was projected for the first year. “It’s a service that pays, and you can easily recoup the cost,” Sluder said. “We’ve well exceeded the cost of the program.”
Each ambulance run brings in a rate set by Medicare of $14 per mile, plus patient care fees. Since it hit the streets around April 1, 2015, the ambulance has made just over 300 runs.
The vehicle was purchased to fill a need for EMS interfacility transportation and for supplemental service when the primary Fulton County ambulance is in use. It’s fitted with life-saving equipment per Ohio Department of Public Safety standards.
With the revenue the ambulance transports raise, the WFD can keep five EMS employees staffed during the day, Sluder said. “It’s been good so far. It’s been a profitable measure. We’re maintaining staff because of it. And we can take care of the patient quicker.”
City Finance Director Jamie Giguere said the ambulance revenue is recorded in the general fund, which includes the fire/EMS department. Beginning this year, the revenue is divided between the city’s general and capital funds. The latter is used to reimburse Wauseon for the ambulance and equipment purchases.
Giguere said a line account in the 2016 city budget allocates $15,550 for EMS supplies.
The ambulance has generated about $300,000 in billings, but so far the city has collected $88,710. In addition to reimbursing the city for the ambulance, the revenue has been used to pay for wages and supplies.
Sluder said while the vehicle has proven a moneymaker, there are no plans at this time to purchase additional ambulances. “We’ve got room to grow with the one we have now,” he said.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.