Brattleboro Emergency Medical Services

A taxpayer asked SelectBoard members a question: “What is the actual dollar cost for the Fire Department to respond with one fire truck, one ladder truck, and one ambulance to a medical call?”

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  • (Here's the rest, for those who don't like using Google...) : )

    “This question was asked at the July 25, 2023 SelectBoard meeting, but no direct answer was given other than six personnel were needed on the scene of high acuity events. There was no explanation as to why ladder trucks and engines were turned out.

    Indeed, the practice of turning out multiple diesel vehicles on a call conflicts with the BFD’s own policy as explained in an April 14, 2022 email:

    “Some years ago, a previous Brattleboro Selectboard recognized this environmental concern, the Brattleboro Fire Department now uses a pick-up truck response to most medical emergencies to reduce our carbon footprint.”

    The written answer to the cost per call question in an August 19, 2023 email was “We do not track expenditures on a per call basis, and moreover that answer is not needed to choose the right path forward. Many of these costs associated with EMS delivery are already well established within our current operations. … There would be new operating costs, more fuel, capital replacements, additional supplies, etc, but mainly the new expenses that would be added to the General Fund come in the form of staffing.” This begs the question: what is the unit cost? Other jurisdictions attempt to answer; why can’t we?

    Property taxpayers and renters both directly and indirectly contribute to the General Fund, they should know what the costs are. EMS calls may be billed at $1,400. Taxpayers or renters in need of EMS response, would pay twice, through taxes and through medical insurance billing.

    When Rescue Inc provided services to Brattleboro, the per capita rate was about $26. An “apples to apples” comparison is required.

    I agree with your statement that there should be no billing for Fire/EMS calls. The cost of these calls is already covered by taxpayers, so billing individuals would be double billing and a double burden. It would be unfair to taxpayers and renters to have to pay twice for the same service.

    Since we do not know the cost of a call because the cost is part of the general fund which is already paid for by taxpayers of Brattleboro, it stands to reason that there should be no billing for Fire/EMS calls.

    To do otherwise would be double billing and a double burden for taxpayers and renters .”

  • Google

    PS: The Google link, which goes to my drive, contains hyperlinks to documents supporting what I have written.

  • Update!

    The Town has added information to the RFP process that:

    “Each Technical Proposal must include a complete billing rate fee schedule by type of call and payer for the first year, as well as the firm’scollections policy explained adequately to convey to what extent each payer type would be subject to collection.”

    If Fire/EMS is an equal alternative to any RFP responders, and if so, wouldn’t they need to abide by the same terms and conditions?

    Who could answer that question honestly?

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