Calhoun County Emergency Services Director Bill Minikiewicz says it is time for EMS rates to catch up with other counties.
“It’s been over 40 years since we’ve raised our rates,” Minikiewicz said.
Calhoun County Council on Monday agreed that EMS rates need to increase. Council will be asked to approve new rates via ordinance at a later date.
Minikiewicz said Medicare or Medicaid patients “won’t suffer any from this because they are on a fixed rate.”
One rate being changed is the amount charged for event standby services.
“We have been charging the same rate since 1990,” Minikiewicz said.
He said most counties are charging high schools up to $300 a game. Currently, Calhoun County EMS is paid $60 per game.
“This is so far behind the norm that I think that it’s time to raise that rate,” he added.
The new rate will be $100 per hour.
Minikiewicz said the hourly rate of the crew alone is well over $100.
“They’re getting the ambulance for free basically,” he said. “They’re paying for the labor.”
County Administrator Lee Prickett said EMS personnel are required to have more training and a bigger commitment.
“Our competing counties are going up and it’s got a multiplier effect,” he said. “I think it’s just what needs to be done.”
Prickett said the additional funds could go toward salaries of EMS personnel.
Council approved of Minikiewicz’ proposal.
Prickett said the change needs to be made through the adoption of an ordinance. If passed, the new EMS fee schedule would take effect Jan. 1, 2018.
In other business:
• Council approved a wastewater pre-treatment agreement with the City of Cayce, granting Cayce authority to manage and enforce pre-treatment of industrial waste in Calhoun County.
Prickett said, “It gives all the jurisdictional authority to Cayce to be able to enforce it.”
“The purpose of this is to make sure they can randomly test, go in and check ahead of time to try to prevent problems,” he continued.
An ordinance will be written to ensure industries are giving Calhoun County only domestic level waste or pre-treating it.
• Minikiewicz presented Certificates of Merit to Todd Immesberger, Joseph Miles, David Shull and Travis Hill for their work on Oct. 9 during a cardiac arrest call at the Calhoun County Disability and Special Needs facility.
• A public hearing was held to give citizens an opportunity to become acquainted with a proposed Rural Development project consisting generally of Phase II renovations to the John Ford Community Center.
Assistant County Administrator Ted Felder said the county will use two $10,000 facilities grants from the USDA.
One grant will be focused on restoring and upgrading kitchen equipment. The other $10,000 will go toward gymnasium renovations.
• Brian Lynch of Santee Cooper presented a report on the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency, saying that they are 100 percent in compliance and have 100 percent availability as far as environmental compliance and system availability.
• Council approved a lease agreement with Rebecca Bonnette for space at the John Ford Community Center. Bonnette will use the space two days a week for Head Start participants. The cost will be $75 a month.
• Council approved first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale by exchange of property located at the intersection of Access Road and Pascon Court.
• Council went into closed, executive session to discuss an economic development project currently operating anonymously under the name Project G2.