POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has issued a show of support for the EMS levy which is going to voters on Nov. 8.
The chamber board members now join Pleasant Valley Hospital which also officially endorsed the the levy.
A chamber email sent to its members on Monday, stated: “The Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce board members choose to support the Mason County Emergency Ambulance levy due to the impact it will have on all Mason County Citizens. This chamber is a bi-partisan one, therefore, it does not endorse any political party. However, this particular levy, if passed, will enable the continued access to emergency services for all people who live and work in Mason County.”
The email said the chamber board of directors, “after in-depth research, based their decision on information provided by our local Emergency Medical Service.”
The levy committee members have been attending the meetings of several local organizations to speak about the levy and answer questions, face-to-face.
As previously reported, back in September, the Point Pleasant Register sat down to speak with PVH CEO Glen Washington, who is also on the levy committee, along with Dylan Handley, Phyllis Arthur, Lisa Gangwer, Ashley Cossin and Bob Baird. At that time, Washington expressed the hospital’s support of the levy.
“We at Pleasant Valley Hospital understand how the community relies on high quality EMS services…everyday we have Mason County EMS trucks rolling up to our emergency room doors,” Washington said back in September. “They are bringing in patients with a variety of illnesses – heart attacks, strokes, accidents of all sorts – and most often, and we understand, those first responders are the first line of defense when it comes to helping someone who is in an immediate health crisis. They’re first on the scene, they know what to do with patients to stabilize them until they get them into our emergency room and to a higher level of care.”
As previously reported, the levy resolution passed by the Mason County Commission states it will generate $766,691 annually, which means it will raise a total of $3.8 million over the course of its five-year term. If passed, the levy would go into effect July 1, 2017 and expire on July 1, 2021. At least 60 percent of all votes cast will be needed to approve the levy. If the levy fails, the future of Mason County EMS is questionable and could possibly be gone.
When breaking down these numbers for the individual taxpayer, the EMS levy committee members say, a homeowner in Mason County who has a home with an appraised value of $100,000, would have their taxes raise $30 a year if the levy passes. Homeowners with homes appraised at $50,000 would see taxes raise $15 per year; homeowners with homes appraised at $150,000 would see taxes raise $45 a year.
If the EMS levy passes, it would also result in zero-balance billing. This means the ambulance service is first billed to Medicare, Medicaid and/or private insurance. The patient is not billed for anything not covered by Medicare, Medicaid and/or private insurance. This means a patient will have a “zero balance” and will owe nothing for services after any sort of payment by Medicare, Medicaid and/or or insurance, even if these entities only pay a portion of the bill for services.
Members of the levy committee realize some in the public still have questions about the levy and want to reach out to those members of the community. For those who need additional information regarding the levy, call Handley, also an EMS paramedic, at 304-593-2271 or email the levy’s Facebook page with questions or requests to address organizations or groups.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.