Fort Wayne, Ind. (WOWO): Three Rivers Ambulance Authority has a $3.5 million budget shortfall this year and plans on asking city and county officials for tax payer money to cover the deficit.
On Thursday, executive director, Joel Benz said TRAA only has about two months’ worth of payroll left in its budget and the board has discussed asking public funding for several months. Benz told the board that he will have to make a formal request in the next two months with the city and county officials. Benz has had informal conversations with local officials and is confident that TRAA will get the funding it needs. He estimates $3.5 million would cover the shortfalls for 2023 but is not yet sure of the short falls for 2024. The Medicaid reimbursement increases that are expected to become effective in July should have a positive effect on the organizations budget.
Last year, according to The Journal Gazette, TRAA found its contractor PatientCare EMS Solutions in default after about two years of unacceptably slow response times. TRAA took over its own operations in September for the first time since 1983. Response time guidelines state that ambulances must make it to 90% of calls that are life-threatening emergencies and are within the 8 1/2 minutes to be compliant with response time guidelines. Benz said that response times have improved since TRAA has taken control of service.
In September the board approved incentives to help with hiring workers. TRAA will be fully staffed when it has 80 full-time medics. As of Thursday, TRAA has 62 full-time and 39 part time workers.