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Indiana Town Extols Ambulance Switch

NEW HAVEN, Ind. -- New Haven officials are pleased with the success of their new ambulance insurance program.

This year, New Haven-Adams Township EMS officials promised they would replace an insurance program provided by Three Rivers Ambulance Authority called LifeCare with a comparable one by July 1.

And they have succeeded, City Councilman Craig Dellinger told fellow council members and Mayor Terry McDonald on Tuesday. Dellinger was a member of the committee that helped develop the New Haven Emergency Service.

Officials have registered 470 members in New Haven, unincorporated Adams Township and parts of Milan and Jefferson townships for the program that started July 1 and runs through June 30, 2013, Dellinger said.

The $55-a-year membership covers all members of a household in the event of an ambulance run, Dellinger said. That compares to about 900 New Haven residents who subscribed to the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority LifeCare program last year, at $59 annually.

The program allows New Haven Emergency Service to bill the members' insurance companies. The emergency service accepts what the insurance pays and writes off the unpaid portion, while the members incur little or no out-of-pocket expenses for ambulance services.

New Haven-Adams Township EMS contracted with Three Rivers Ambulance Authority about 20 years ago to provide advanced paramedic ambulance services that New Haven-Adams Township's local basic support teams could not offer.

But in 2003, New Haven-Adams Township EMS became certified for advanced paramedic services. While the agreement worked well for many years, after New Haven-Adams Township became an advanced paramedic team, Three Rivers Ambulance Authority quit making runs to New Haven unless New Haven-Adams Township EMS' services were unavailable.

New Haven Emergency Service has grossed about $25,905 with about $4,000 going to administrative costs, said Ed Lytal, director of the New Haven-Adams Township EMS.

According to Lytal, New Haven-Adams Township EMS wrote off $28,000 to the LifeCare program in 2011. Because of dwindling funds and restrictive budgets, Lytal said the agency had to take a hard look at where to save money. In addition, it irked some officials that money New Haven residents paid to LifeCare went to Fort Wayne, while New Haven-Adams Township was left to write off the unpaid co- pays.

Three Rivers Ambulance Authority expects to lose about $30,000 in membership fees without New Haven-Adams Township's participation in LifeCare, said Gary Booher, executive director of Three Rivers Ambulance Authority.



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