MEXICO — Med-Care Ambulance Service Board members learned Wednesday night that Med-Care’s call volume has dramatically increased so far this year.

That was great to hear, Board President Steve Brown said.

“January was an all-time record for us, and then March broke the all-time record again,” he said. “That’s encouraging from a business standpoint.”

The ambulance service was formed by Andover, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Hanover, Mexico, Newry, Peru, Roxbury and Rumford. The nonprofit corporation is run by a board comprised of representatives from each town, while Dean Milligan, chief of operations, runs the ambulance service itself.

Milligan said there were 400 calls for service in January, as compared to 341 in January 2014; 301 calls in February, as compared to Feb. 2014; and 401 calls in March, as compared to 293 in March 2014.

Despite the growth, Med-Care is also experiencing a lag time in revenues arriving from private insurances, Medicaid/Medicare and private pay. That could be due to people not meeting their deductibles yet, Brown said.

“We’re feeling better than we did a couple of months ago, but there are still a lot of uncertainties about how we will be affected in the long run,” he said.

Treasurer Jim Pulsifer gave a breakdown on their attempts to fine-tune the tracking of revenues to determine how the ambulance service is affected by the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid, private insurance and private pay.

With increased calls for service, Pulsifer said they shouldn’t be losing any money, but they need to “get a handle on crossovers.” That, he said, means insurance money going from Medicaid and Medicare and back before Med-Care gets paid for its efforts.

Continued analysis of the revenue stream will “show us where our deficiencies are and how to work it correctly,” Pulsifer said. “We’re trying to get a handle on why we’re short on revenue when we’re doing plenty of business. We run this as close to a regular business as we can for an ambulance service in the state.”

In other business, Milligan said he would like to replace three of their six LifePak 12 cardiac monitors with the latest upgrade, the LifePak 15. He said the company that makes the 12 is taking them off their service agreements because they are becoming obsolete.

When told by Milligan that a 60-month payment lease/purchase agreement for three LifePak 15s would cost $84,973.20 at $1,416 a month, Mexico representative Reggie Arsenault motioned to approve that amount. It was seconded and unanimously approved by the board.

Answering a question from Arsenault, Milligan said he would check with the company to see if the cost could be reduced if the company allows trade-ins for the LifePak 12s. Otherwise, he said he would check with another company that refurbishes them, and then apply that money to the cost for the newer monitors.

“Cardiac monitors and ambulances are the most expensive things we have,” Milligan said.

The board also unanimously voted to take $3,000 from the education account to financially help two basic-level emergency medical technician employees achieve the next level of certification, formerly known as the intermediate EMT level. Milligan said it involves learning how to start IVs, 12-lead EKGs, administrating more medicines and inserting advanced airways.

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