A one-year extension has been approved for ambulance services in Washington County. At Tuesday’s meeting the Washington County Board of Supervisors approved a one-year contract extension with Washington County Ambulance. Under the terms that the monthly pay to the service from the county would increase from $14,450 to $20,000. Washington County Ambulance’s Jamie Brame explained moving to the Managed Care Organizations in the State of Iowa has caused less payment to those providing health care services. Brame said Medicaid used to pay 10-percent but it’s changed, “And then we switched to MCOs, and anybody that has Medicare primary, Blue Cross primary, United Healthcare, pick whatever primary insurance you want, these MCOs have kind of come in and said, ‘Hey, we’ll be your supplement insurance. We’ll come in secondary.’ But now that we’ve privatized and these MCOs are losing all kind of money, they’ve said, ‘Ok, we’re secondary insurance but we’re not going to pay anybody out.’ So after Medicare pays, they leave deductibles, coinsurance – you can’t collect on any of that anymore. After Blue Cross pays, you can’t collect on any of that anymore, which is a huge, huge change.”

The extension ends June 30, 2020.

In April, the supervisors put out a request for proposal for new ambulance contracts and under those specifications there would need to be an increase from two to three fully staffed ambulances in the county at a time. Paramedics in the meeting expressed concern of it being too costly for a service to meet those requirements. The first week of May the supervisors recalled that RFP and a new one will be developed. In Iowa, ambulance services are not an essential service as designated by the state legislature, and are not required in each county.