FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — After Fort Wayne City Council made it clear they wanted Allen County Commissioners to chip in for paramedic services, commissioners have finally responded.

In a letter they wrote to Joel Benz, the executive director of Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) they laid out an offer worth up to $400,000.

However, the offer does have a number of requirements TRAA would have to meet in order to get the funding, the stipulations are as follows:

  1. Allen County will directly pay Townships and Fire Districts up to a total of $200,000 for runs requested by TRAA which are made into the City of Fort Wayne. This will alleviate the need for the Ambulance Authority to directly reimburse those entities for said runs.
    • Amounts paid to Township Departments and Fire Districts that require transport to a local hospital will be paid at a rate of $400 per run. All other assignments will be paid at a rate of $100 per run.
    • At such time as all funds are expended from that $200,000, TRAA will be required to reimburse Township Fire Departments and Fire Districts at the above-stated amounts for all runs requested into the City of Fort Wayne by TRAA.
  2.  In addition, Allen County will offer TRAA a stipend of $200,000 upon the completion of the five deliverables delineated below. 
    • Create a new Uniform Ambulance Ordinance
    • Develop a new Interlocal Agreement between ALL units which provide EMS services to residents of Allen County
    • Explore and recommend organizational and financial models for a permanent long-term
    • Address four single points of failure of the current TRAA system: 
      • Balance Billing 
      • Medicaid Reimbursements 
      • Transports 
      • Unrecovered Revenues
    • TRAA to cease paying the City $400,000 per year for EMT training for Fort Wayne Firefighters
  3. Allen County will support TRAA’s efforts to ensure better collection rates within their current system. Current fee collection rates continue to have over $200,000 shortfall of budget monthly. Better collection methods and diligence will result in over $1M of additional revenue annually. 
  4.  Allen County will support continued legislative efforts for an increase in the reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid. Increased rates will provide significant additional funding for TRAA operations in the area fees are collected most frequently.
  5. Allen County will encourage the growth and assist the development of existing and future Fire Districts as much as possible so that residents of the City, and those of unincorporated Allen County are paying for high-quality fire and EMS services provided in the areas in which they reside through tax levies exclusively for that purpose. 

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, 2nd District Councilman Russ Jehl expressed that the offer was far too little.

“The letter says that maybe they’ll help, maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll do something different. Well, TRAA ran out of money a couple of months ago, there are still 15,000 people in the county that depend on TRAA,” Jehl said. “For the commissioners to show up after the money has run out, and send a letter that maybe they’ll talk about it, really it’s behind the curve.”

The ball now rests firmly in TRAA’s court, leaving Joel Benz and his board with a major decision to make.