By: Makeba Walcott, Public Relations Officer, 2016-2017
The Arlington Fire District (AFD) has changed how patients are transported to the hospital, with Mobile Life Services, Inc. now being the provider of emergency ambulance and transportation services for the district. Since 1981, Mobile Life Services, developed by the Arlington’s Board of Fire Commissioners, has been operating in Hudson Valley. Prior to January 1st, 2017, Arlington operated its own ambulances. This decision came as a result of a new contract agreement between the district and the Arlington Professional Firefighters Association, that agreed to switch health care plans.
According to Fire Commissioner Chairman Jim Beretta, this new change decreases the amount of taxes that residents pay while “absorbing the state-mandated cost increases that we have no control over.” According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the $17.25 million proposed budget that lowers the amount of money taxpayers pay is approximately $85, 000 less than that of last year, and brings “the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value from $6.27 to $6.19.” The change also allows Arlington to increase its firefighting services to its four stations 24/7 with firefighters who are paid and reduce overtime costs.
According to Jim Berretta, the use of a private ambulance company means “that a patient’s insurance coverage will cover most or part of the cost. The amount covered is going to vary based on a person’s insurance coverage. This is no different than the exposure people have now to the cost of an ambulance, should they need one, in many, may municipalities who use a commercial ambulance service.”
However, paid and volunteer members of the Arlington Fire District will still continue to provide immediate emergency responses to every call in the district.
Brant Abbott. “Arlington Fire District to outsource ambulances.” Poughkeepsie Journal 16 December 2016: 1. Web. 25 January 2017.
Schutzman, Nina. “Arlington Fire plans to cut taxes, outsource ambulances.” Poughkeepsie Journal 17 October 2016:1. Web. 25 January 2017.