Yesterday Michael Ashford, Wilma Brown, Phil Copeland, Mike Craig, Joe McNamara, Mark Sobczak, and Frank Szollosi voted to euthanize several local ambulance businesses. The city plans to take 40% of the ambulance runs away from private business, in order to supposedly raise $600,000 yearly. According to the Emperor’s spokesman, 40% is a “small percentage” of the business. To business owners, could you survive a 40% loss of your revenue? What business experience does the mayor’s spokesman have to indicate that this will not cause a company to close its doors?
Well, looking deeper into the plans reveals a key items The vast majority of the ambulance service will be in west and south Toledo, with minimal ambulance service on the east side and in the central city. By concentrating on the wealthier portions of the city, instead of where the majority of emergency runs come from, the city is cherry picking the profitable runs, without having to cover the costs of the runs that gross little or no funding – those without insurance to cover the ambulance run cost. So, in reality, while taking 40% of the runs, the city plans to take a much higher percentage of the revenue away from private business.
Executives of the major ambulance companies in the city have announced cuts, and in one instance, the potential of moving their headquarters outside of the city. According to them, the city is not friendly to business. Welcome to Toledo, folks – ask the people over at Costco, Rite Aid, and the Pharm – they’ll tell you that Toledo hasn’t been friendly to business for years. Unless, of course, you’re a failing automotive company – then you get free land (stolen from citizens), tax abatements, and hugs and kisses from the administration. I heartily recommend that these companies withdraw all service from the city in emergency services – and begin your cutbacks immediately. Keep a minimal staff to service your private health care contracts, but no sense waiting for the axe to fall. After all, if the city provides such high quality care (like the quality one gets from every other city department) it makes no sense to wait – let the people of Toledo get their Cadillac ambulances immediately. After all, what’s a few hundred jobs.
It is also my understanding that the billing portion of our ambulance service will be contracted out – and a RFP was issued before City Council voted. If so, is this added expense already considered in the yearly planned $600K? Somehow, I think that this is a hidden line-item. Is the $200K for ambulance lease included? I’m no fortune teller, but I suspect that a new emergency services fee” will be included on our property taxes – right next to the trash pickup fee.