Meade County Commission working solution for expired Rural Meade Ambulance service
MEADE COUNTY, S.D. –Meade County Commissioners have been tasked with how to bring ambulance service to 1,200 square miles of what they call a “no-response” area in the county.
Rural Meade Ambulance covered the area until they closed on April 30 due to lack of interest from younger generations. Another issue facing many rural ambulance districts is the lack of revenue, especially when faced with treatment refusals or lack of reimbursement.
“Nobody’s in EMS to make money, to get rich,” said Shawn Fischer, Director of the Sturgis Ambulance. “But you have to have some reimbursement for your crew. You have to help them with their education.”
Faith and Newell EMTs will help cover those areas closest.
One solution presented at the meeting was to create another ambulance tax district, much like the residents outside of Sturgis. Another solution, increase taxes to Butte County residents to cover areas near Faith.
“We are, right now, at about $140, 000 in the hole,” said Kim Richards, Butte County Commissioner. “We’ve had about 700 and some runs that’s Butte County tax payers that are paying just about under $200 every time that ambulance goes out.”
Commissioner Doreen Creed suggested legislative action. a law making ambulance services essential in South Dakota.
In the end, a decision on what to do next was not made during the commissioner’s Tuesday meeting.
Next steps are to meet with residents around Union Center to hear their thoughts.