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County pays off notes a month early

Was start-up capital for new EMS

In a few days the check will be in the mail.

At its regular Thursday meeting the county commissioners transferred $606,000 from accounts in order to pay back notes bought earlier this year by St. Mary’s Medical Center. The short-term revenue anticipation notes the county issued were earmarked to provide start-up costs for the county’s fledgling emergency medical service.

The notes were due Sept. 1 and bore an interest rate of 1 percent.

“This is a tribute to the success of what Buddy (Fry) and Lori (Morris) have accomplished,” Commissioner Bill Pratt said.

Fry is the director and Morris is fiscal specialist for the new Lawrence County EMS, which began following the dissolution of the longstanding Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services on Dec. 31, 2010.

“This is a very significant accomplishment and shows what small government can do,” Pratt said.

At its Dec. 16, 2010, meeting the commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of revenue anticipation notes not to exceed $600,000. The commissioners also put an extra $300,000 in the 2011 budget as part of the EMS initial costs.

Redeeming the notes came from revenue from the one-half percent sales tax and the EMS operation. According to Pratt only approximately $150,000 of the money that came from the notes was needed to get the EMS up and running.

Medicare and Medicaid billing numbers were needed before runs covered by those governmental agencies could be reimbursed.

That meant the EMS had a period following its Jan. 1 start before it could begin to get a revenue stream.

Right now the EMS averages approximately $45,000 a week in revenue from runs, according to Morris. In June the weekly average was $48,000 and in July that weekly average was $43,000. Daily run average is 29 from its five stations.

Revenue comes from Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and private pay.