July 22, 2024

Vadnais Pledges Support to Rehoboth Ambulance

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The Board of Selectmen is vowing to keep the town’s ambulance service afloat despite financial struggles.

Voters at the June 4 town meeting appropriated $200,000 to the Rehoboth Ambulance.

The service operated at a loss of $212,000 in 2023. This year, that number could rise as high as $351,000.

Chairman Skip Vadnais said the town was working with Rehoboth Ambulance at the July 1 meeting.

“We guarantee you there will be service. You make the call. Someone will answer. It’s not easy but we will provide (residents) with the service that’s necessary,” Vadnais added.

Rehoboth Ambulance is a private non-profit corporation under contract to the town.

Until 2023, the service operated on a part-time paid on call model. When the contract was renewed, the town required that the primary crew be in the building 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“The run volume in Rehoboth does not support the 24/7 service,” Director of Operations Reuben Fischman told the Reporter last May. “The revenue to do that just isn’t there.”

There were over 1200 calls for service in 2023. The ambulance committee reported $680,000 in revenue and $866,000 in expenses. They only bill for the calls where they transport patients to the hospital.

Over 50 percent of the patients that are transported are on Medicare or Mass Health, which reduces the revenues.

“We’re constrained by what we’re allowed to bill by Medicare regulations and by what private insurance is willing to pay,” Fischman said.

The town provides housing for the ambulances, which is a huge help financially. But the committee still has to pay for the vehicles, vehicle maintenance, fuel costs, and the salaries of the staff.

“So we’re fortunate enough that the town has always housed us,” Fischman noted. “Unfortunately, that’s not enough anymore. The ability to sustain ourselves just based on insurance billings alone, it’s not going to sustain a 24/7, 365 day a year ambulance service anymore.”

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