Sunday, February 17, 2008

Commentary #3 on 2008 Toledo City Budget -AMBULANCE SERVICE

In 2007, it was decided by Council to approve the take over of the private industry Ambulance Service to "enhance" revenue. On the surface, it was estimated the take over could generate $1.2 million per year. Toledo Blade article

As it would begin in July of 2007, it was estimated the revenue generated would be approximately $600,000. There was no consideration in the model to include the cost of labor for the service as the fireman "They agreed the department could staff the five basic life support ambulances with current firefighters". In reviewing the budget, with benefits, wages and pension, the Toledo paramedics who would staff the ambulances earn an average of $45.00 per hour.

To determine the true cost and net revenue, the cost of labor must be considered in addition to the loss of revenue which would have been generated through taxes if the services had been performed by the private sector. The model used to determine the gross revenue and total profit of this service should include:

# of Runs
Total manhours for runs
Total $ Billed
Total $ Received
Amount of revenue lost from private sector through fees and taxes
Cost of Vehicles
# of Vehicles leased
Any maintenance costs
Manhours to maintain
(clean, fuel, restock supplies, etc)
Lease fee
Were additional fire fighters called to report to fight a fire because the on-duty men were on an ambulance run and not available?
If so... additional cost for this coverage.

1 comment:

toledo1 said...

I'm not familiar with other city departments and their budgets, but Toledo was the ONLY area Fire Dept. that wasn't running BLS ambulances. We were behind in the game and losing revenue because of it.

As for your breakdown of the actual cost, no firefighters have ever had to be called in for a fire because an ambulance was out of service for a run. That is why TFD has minimum staffing, so there are enough people to cover the city. The ambulances are not costing any extra money to purchase as they were replacing the rescues that badly needed replacing. So not only is the purchase price not the issue, the maintenance is the same, if not less, than the maintenance cost of the old rescues that were replaced. These are the same people that were manning the rescues as well and responding to the same runs. They were paid the same amount of money to do the same thing before the ambulances came into service. The only difference is that they take you to the hospital now too. Isn't that better than having these firefighters show up, take care of you, and then sitting and waiting for an ambulance? Instead of waiting with patients for ambulances to come and pick up, they just take you. The time a rig is out of service hasn't changed much. They were out of service just as long before, waiting for private ambulance.

So I am not sure that breaking it down the way you did is as accurate as one might think.