Emergency supervisors meeting Friday may include a county disaster declaration
BY PCC STAFF
LEE COUNTY – Lee County Supervisors are holding a telemeeting on Friday through GoToMeeting to discuss a possible disaster declaration and to take a harder look at the Lee County Ambulance service.
Board Chairman Ron Fedler said the situation is getting dire for the service and wants to have a deeper conversation with cities in the county as to how help the private service continue to provide services in the county.
“We are going to get the mayor’s involved,” Fedler said. “We’re open to anything and want them to be part of the discussion. It’s a critical service that I feel they should all be involved.”
Fedler said the county was aware during budget negotiations that Lee County EMS and owner Bill Young were struggling financially because of low reimbursement rates from Medicaid. Young was unavailable for comment Thursday.
Two months ago, Young asked the supervisors for an 18% increase in funding citing a loss in 2019. Young said at the meeting Lee County EMS would need additional support to offset Medicare and Medicaid write-offs totaling almost $500,000 of a total $619,000 in charges.
“We knew at budget time they were having financial problems and agreed to increase support,” Fedler said. “But the county can only do so much, it’s got a be combination of all the cities and the county and we’ll do what we have to keep the service going.”
Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said she added the disaster declaration to the agenda because other counties are doing it and it doesn’t open up some assistance from the state.
She said the declaration will give the county more options with delivering services help during the duration of the COVID-19 illness and coronavirus outbreak.
An order prepared for the meeting indicated that the pandemic, “…is causing a public health emergency in Lee County by generating multiple disruptions and impacts on healthcare infrastructure and continuity of Lee County government that may cause delays or interrupt capacity to deliver necessary services.”
The order also indicated that the cost and magnitude of responding to and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic is far in excess of Lee County’s available resources.
The order will assist and give access to local emergency funds, federal and state assistance, adjustment to policies, procedures and ordinances to ensure the public’s health and welfare.
The meeting is set to begin at 1 p.m. and is open to the public via the GoToMeeting link here: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/298049213
If you do not already have the GoToMeeting app, it can be downloaded at https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/298049213.
You can also access the meeting over phone by dialing in at:
+1 (571) 317-3112 and use access code: 298-049-213.