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Ambulance Subscriber Program Offers Financial Benefits And More!

by Lauren Gooch - April 28, 2021

The Wellsboro Fireman’s Ambulance Association is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that has been serving our community since 1942, by providing emergency medical services, vehicle rescue services, scuba services, and technical rescue services such as rope rescue. John Erich, Treasurer of the Wellsboro Fireman’s Ambulance Association, has poured his heart into this organization for over 30 years.

“Our primary responsibility and desire is to serve the community,” Erich said. “That’s why I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and that’s why I still volunteer for Wellsboro Ambulance.”

What started out as a 100% volunteer ambulance service turned into a partnership with the local hospital, UPMC Wellsboro, to hire full-time staff members. Through this program, UPMC acts as their hiring agency. They currently have six full-time staff members, as well as some part-time members and volunteers.

The quality of service they provide for our small town is impressive – their large rescue truck is similar in size to what you would find in larger cities such as New York City and Philadelphia. In addition to this, they also have a smaller unit (called a Squad) for mini rescues, five ambulances, and equipment for technical, vehicle, and water rescue services. They receive a total of over 2,000 dispatches/calls annually! Every member is also a member of the fire department, although they are two separate organizations.

They primarily serve the Wellsboro Borough, as well as Charleston, Delmar, and Shippen Townships. However, their services expand to other areas, as they provide mutual aid service to all other ambulance companies in the county, as well as parts of Potter County and Lycoming County.

Much of their funding comes from billing – Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance. They also occasionally receive grant money from the government and private sources. However, 10% of their funding comes through their subscription program for community members like you! This helps them with ambulance repair and maintenance, personnel costs, etc.

Their subscription program, which runs annually from May 1st – April 30th, provides community members with emergency transport and medically necessary transport (as determined by a physician) wherever you need to go. It is not an insurance policy, rather, it covers the costs that your insurance does not. Medicaid patients may not be offered a subscription and the Ambulance Association must provide service and accept Medicaid as payment.

As a subscriber, you are covered in many situations. For example, if you are a subscriber in Wellsboro, but work in Mansfield and need an ambulance there, your subscription will still be honored. In our area, there’s 13 different ambulance services, and 11 of those have entered into a mutual aid agreement – Wellsboro, Mansfield, Middlebury Township, Morris, Tioga, Blossburg, Liberty, Lawrenceville, Valley Community, Sabinsville, and Galeton. If you are a subscriber and are transported by any of those 11 ambulance services, your subscription will be honored and you won’t have to pay the part your insurance doesn’t cover. For legal reasons, the insurance company of both subscribers and non-subscribers must be billed. Subscribers should NOT receive a bill for services not covered by their insurance. Non-subscribers may. A person who is a subscriber to Wellsboro Ambulance or one of the 10 other mutual aid ambulance companies can call the billing company and inform them that they hold a current subscription. The billing company should then contact the customer’s “home” ambulance company to verify a current subscription, and then should rescind that bill.

They also can transport you to another hospital if you need a higher level of care. And, they will transport you home from another hospital if needed. If this is the case, let the hospital social worker assigned to you know that you want your home ambulance service to provide the transportation home. If possible, give them 24 hours of notice to schedule your transportation home.

If you live in the Wellsboro borough, or Charleston, Delmar, or Shippen Townships, you may have received an envelope and subscription card in the mail with all of the details. The cost is $40 for an individual, $55 for a family, and $100 for camp and business subscriptions. When you fill them out, please remember to include the names and birthdays of everyone in your family or business whom you would like to be covered.

For additional information, please call 570-724-9165. If no one is available to take your call, please try again later. You may also stop by their office at 21 Crafton Street next to the Fire Station.

Credits:

Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Lauren Gooch
Correspondent: Lauren Gooch
Guest(s): John Erich

Produced by Vogt Media
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