Delavan seeking cure for ambulance service
DELAVAN It's unclear who will provide emergency ambulance services for the city of Delavan and the town of Richmond after March 31.
However, city officials and board members from the nonprofit rescue service want to assure the public that the service will be available.
At a meeting Tuesday, Delavan Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis read a prepared statement: "It is with regret that we advise the public that due to a number of financial challenges further impacted by the state of the economy over the last several years, this not-for-profit corporation, Delavan Rescue, will be transitioning out of business."
The city and the rescue service are "working together to ensure the continuation of 911 emergency response service through this transition process," Nieuwenhuis said.
The Delavan Rescue Board is looking for another entity to buy the service, board member Tom O'Neill said after the meeting.
Uncollected bills, pennies-on-the-dollar Medicare reimbursement and poor business decisions lead to the demise of the organization, O'Neill said.
The organization has about 30 paid and volunteer workers. Last week, eight of those workers were laid off, O'Neill said.
One of the stipulations of any sale would be that the current and laid-off workers could keep their jobs or would be able to apply for positions with the new owner.
The organization was billing patients $400 to $800 per run, depending on the services. Medicare would sometimes only reimburse $25 for a run.
In addition, the group was burdened by the expense of a building it couldn't afford, O'Neill said.
The city had a contract with Delavan Rescue that ran from 2010 to 2015, with the amount it paid the organization increasing every year, city administrator Denise Pieroni said. By 2015, the city would be paying more than $60,000 a year under those terms.
However, in 2012, the city of Delavan agreed to help the organization by giving it additional funds to help get it through the year. The total amount it paid the rescue squad last year was about $96,000, Pieroni said.
The city council met in closed session after the regular council meeting but didn't make a final decision, Nieuwenhuis said.