Forks Hospital looks to replace expired EMS levy

  • Tue Jan 27th, 2015 10:13pm
  • News

EMS crews demonstrate one of Forks Community Hospital's ambulances.

Forks Community Hospital CFO Jim Chaney told the Forks Forum last week that the hospital district will be asking voters to approve a six-year emergency medical care and services property tax levy during the Feb. 10 special election.

The EMS levy, which would allow the district to collect up to 24 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation beginning in 2016, would provide funds for emergency medical care or services in the district, including some new equipment and training manpower.

The previous levy approved in 2008 taxed at a rate of 20 cents per $1,000. Chaney said the 4 cent increase per $1,000 is due to inflation.

Some items on the wish list if the levy passes include a different chassis for the heavy jaws of life unit and possibly a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Chaney added that due to the rural nature of some ambulance calls, “We have had times when we couldn’t get to the injured patient, due to the rough terrain.”

Chaney also said the ambulance fleet currently consists of three ambulances; a 1997, 1999 and a 2003 and new ambulances are expensive.

At this time FCH has 23 EMTs with 10 currently active. Chaney said that businesses that employ the volunteer EMTs make sacrifices when their employees are called out for an ambulance run.

To be an EMT a person must be 18 years or older and it can take up to six months of training. The Forks hospital ambulances make a total of about 450 runs a year.

If passed, the levy will provide about $107,000 annually. A new ambulance can cost between $95,000 to $100,000 each.

Ballots were mailed out last week to registered voters in the district.