A first-of-its-kind multi-municipal authority will begin providing emergency services in northwest Lancaster County next month.
The Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County, or MESA, announced Monday that it will begin making ambulance runs on Sunday, Feb. 4.
It will serve four townships and two boroughs previously served by Northwest EMS:
- Conoy Township
- East Donegal Township
- Elizabethtown Borough
- Marietta Borough
- Mount Joy Township
- West Donegal Township
Besides recouping fees for ambulance runs from patients and their insurers, MESA will charge a mandatory annual fee to property owners and employers in its service area. It is the first emergency services authority in Pennsylvania empowered to do so.
The first bills will be mailed out in mid-February, the authority said. The fees were calculated based on the volume of calls generated by particular types of occupancy; they range from $85 for residences to $470 per assisted living resident. Businesses will be charged $10 per full time employee.
Insured patients will not be charged further if their insurance covers ambulance service. Uninsured patients and those for whom ambulance service falls within their deductible will receive 50% discounts.
Pennsylvania municipalities are required by law to provide for ambulance coverage. Initially, 11 Lancaster municipalities in Northwest EMS’ coverage area took part in the discussions around forming MESA, along with Conewago Township in Dauphin County.
The five Lancaster County municipalities that decided against joining MESA contracted instead with one of two other options:
- Life Lion: Manheim Borough, Penn Township, Rapho Township;
- Warwick Community Ambulance Association: Clay Township, Elizabeth Township.
Northwest EMS will cease operating as an ambulance service once it hands off to MESA, but is expected to continue as an affiliated nonprofit, serving as a conduit for fundraising.
“EMS is an essential public service and public funding is critical to ensure that it is ready to go into action when needed,” said Debra Dupler, chair of the MESA board and a Mount Joy Township supervisor. “It is our hope that the Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County will serve as a model for more municipalities in Pennsylvania facing an EMS crisis.”
To learn more, visit MESA’s website.