The Directors of the Cooper County Ambulance District heard concerns from the Boonville R-1 School District at their quarterly meeting Thursday evening, which was held at the Cooper County Memorial Hospital.

The Directors of the Cooper County Ambulance District heard concerns from the Boonville R-1 School District at  their quarterly meeting Thursday evening, which was held at the Cooper County Memorial Hospital.
The meeting opened with public comments. Boonville R-1 Superintendent Mark Ficken and Charles Melkersman came to voice their concerns about the district's new billing practices and to request the board reconsider their decision. Even with insurance, several faculty members have received bills approaching $2,500. Dr. Ficken said this was extreme for teachers making in the neighborhood of $17,000 a year. Melkersman quoted an article regarding Mid-Missouri Ambulance Services in neighboring counties. The article said Mid-Mo's base rate was $387 plus mileage just over $7/mile. Melkersman said the bills from Cooper County were $1204.30 plus mileage of $24/mile. He added that further research showed total out-of-pocket through Mid-Mo would have been $100.
When asked, the board said approximately 60 percent of their patients were medicare, 20 percent commercial insurance and private pay, and the remaining 20 percent uninsured/bad debt. Dr. Ficken said that since commercial insurance payers were only 20 percent and the number of teachers involved was so low, he felt the ambulance company could be able to work out a better solution especially since the annual audit showed a healthy surplus.
The board explained that, among other considerations, Cooper County's taxes were less. They got nothing from property taxes and received only ¼ of one percent from sales taxes. The county’s Mid-Mo Ambuance services received twice that amount, ½ of one percent from sales taxes, and from two counties.
With no other public comments, the meeting was called to order.
Re-elected board members Robert Alpers and Bill Betteridge were sworn in and the current slate of officers were re-elected.
All reports were approved, including the 2015 audit report. It was brought to the board's attention that the healthy surplus of funds mentioned during the public comments was due to the manufacturer's delay in delivering a new ambulance which was ordered in 2015. Delivery is expected in the next three to four months. A second ambulance now has over 100,000 miles on it and also needs to be replaced. Since the ambulance ordered in 2015 has taken over a year for manufacture and delivery and the waiting time isn't expected to improve anytime soon, the board approved the order of a second ambulance. Additional equipment approved for purchase included three defibulaters and a software upgrade.
The meeting ended with a discussion concerning the public comments. Besides collecting a smaller per cent of the sales tax, CC ambulances have more and better equipment, as reported by other ambulance personnel when they arrive at the same scene. Employees also have a better benefits package. But the biggest difference in the base price can be answered with a question: “What's covered in the base price?” Other ambulance companies charge for backboards, cervical collars, bandages, oxygen, etc. All these items are included with CC. In the end, the board made a list of questions they needed answers to, and once obtained, would revisit the issue raised by Melkersman and Ficken.