When LCPA supervisor Steve Siltman came to the Logan County Board
with the request in January, he said: "It's time to do something. We
haven't had an increase on the tax levy in 30 years. What we could
do 30 years ago, we can just no longer do, particularly in
purchasing ambulances and keeping them updated."
It was the 1970s
when the service was established by the county with a 5-cent levy
per $100 property value. Over the years, the agency often did not
take increases in the levy amount when it could have, which then,
due to tax caps, led to the levy only reaching the 3.61 cents in
The purpose of the levy was to purchase ambulances when needed
and to subsidize inherent losses that come with operating a rural
Some basic comparative data:
1970s -- 3
ambulances handled 2,000 calls per year.
2012 -- 5 ambulances handled 4,200
calls per year.
A box-type ambulance in the 1970s cost $50,000. The same box-type
ambulance now costs $130,000, but the agency has found the
medium-duty ambulance, which upfront costs $180,000, a better
The maximum amount the 3.61-cent levy can generate today is
Significant cuts in reimbursements, rising operational costs and
increased service demand are now making it difficult for the agency
to keep its budget in the black. This year, besides bare-bones cuts,
employee wages were also frozen.
Siltman cited a few of the operational losses inherent to the
industry. "For every dollar we charge, we get 50 cents back," he
Siltman said that of 4,000 service calls, nearly 1,000 are a
lesser charge or unchargeable. This happens when people call for
help and may receive some level of treatment, but don't need or want
transport for hospitalization. Accidents or medical needs that take
place on either of the two interstates in the county, Medicare and
Medicaid cases also result in diminished reimbursements.
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The LCPA is known and appreciated locally for maintaining the
highest standards of training in medical transport and for working
cooperatively with the medical community, other emergency and
The paramedic team is top-notch with a highly skilled staff that
pursue the latest in advanced training. LCPA medics are certified in
advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support,
pre-hospital trauma life support and CPR, and train monthly on
This year LCPA has been chosen to receive Prairie STAT Heart's
top award to transporters for best coordination in field. The Stat
Heart program, begun in 2004, is used by 21 hospitals and has more
than 100 participating transporters.
The cardiovascular program trains paramedics to identify an acute
myocardial infarction (heart attack), begin treatment and transport
the patient from field directly to the cath lab, resulting in the
best possible outcome.
LCPA has been involved in the Stat Heart program since its
beginning. New protocols have led to improved results. "We're
getting better and better," Siltman said.
By resolution, the Logan County Board fully backed LCPA's request
for increasing the ambulance levy by 5 cents.
Prairie STAT Heart: