American Fork will give its volunteer ambulance service another chance to serve - at least for a year.
Mayor B. Kay Hutchings said the City Council voted unanimously to allow the American Fork Ambulance Association to continue service for the next year "to get things into place."The association proposed budget cuts and certain rate increases to ensure that the ambulance service during the coming year will operate in the black, Hutchings said.
"The state has allowed for an increase in ambulance base rates," he said. The American Fork resident fee will increase from $110 to $140 on July 19. The increase includes service in Alpine and Highland.
Hutchings also said that additional charges such as an $18 emergency fee and an $18 night call fee, which had not previously existed, also will be applied.
Using these increases and cutting back on a few expenses will all help, he said.
Valley Ambulance of Provo and Gold Cross Ambulance Service of Salt Lake, the private companies that had presented bids to serve American Fork, were good to work with, Hutchings said.
R. Gene Moffitt, president of Gold Cross Services Inc., said he understands and accepts the situation.
"In 1958, we helped train American Fork to have and organize a volunteer ambulance service," he said. Gold Cross has always had a good working relationship with the city, he said.
Moffitt said he agrees with what American Fork wants to do in giving the ambulance association another chance.
But Moffitt said he also believes the national trend is toward privatization and he still feels that a private service in American Fork could work.
One of the major problems that American Fork had was billing.
It was sometimes difficult to collect money because it took so long to send out the bills, Hutchings said. "It is a problem that must be rectified."
One of the principal propositions of the ambulance association is a new billing policy that will allow bills to be sent out within 24 hours and will work more efficiently with the Medicare program.
According to Hutchings, Valley Ambulance has offered to help the volunteers set up a billing system.
He said American Fork is grateful for the offer and may work with them in the future.
Hutchings said, "Everyone felt good about the proposal. It is good for the citizens and good for the city."