Welcome to THE COMMONS — News and Views from Windham County, Vermont


Rto dodge ICN. charges the same annual per capita fee to 15 member cities: subsidizing uncollectible accounts and partially subsidizing lower Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates than commercial health insurers, as is evident from its public financial statements of IRS Form 990 .

According to Rescue Inc. member city data from the US Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey:

• Brattleboro’s median household income is the lowest.

• Brattleboro’s highest poverty rate: an indicator of Medicaid eligibility and reimbursement rates.

• Brattleboro’s population of people age 65 and older is average: an indicator of Medicare eligibility and reimbursement rates.

• Brattleboro has the highest uninsured rate: an indicator of bad debt.

It is likely that 14 more prosperous Rescue Inc. cities subsidized Brattleboro’s likely higher bad debts and lower overall insured reimbursement rate.

Alone after June 30, how will Brattleboro fund these shortfalls? Does the new $6,250 monthly contract with Golden Cross Ambulance anticipate them? If not, who pays?

Some Brattleboro residents have spoken publicly of “mutual aid”. Rescue Inc. is mutual aid. Brattleboro cannot go and stay.

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Rto dodge In/a The territory beyond Brattleboro includes approximately 4,500 second homes occupied by holiday, vacation and weekend populations who are equally likely to need emergency medical services while there.

In Stratton, an estimated 93% of all homes are second homes; in Wardsboro, 64%; and in Jamaica, 60%. (About 10% of homes in Brattleboro are second homes.)

Losing no revenue from its six cities, Rescue Inc.’s Townshend station should not be affected by the exit from Brattleboro and could recruit Athens, Grafton, Londonderry and Windham to be served by Grace Cottage Hospital if the hospital in Springfield is phasing out hospital care to avoid or resolve a second bankruptcy – possibly required by the Green Mountain Care Board.

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Iif it was for losing about 40% of its revenue, Rescue Inc.’s Brattleboro Station will operate in the city, but not inside, while working to maintain service levels in eight surrounding cities.

After pledging $114,000 of taxpayers’ money to leave Rescue Inc. while consultants study whether it’s a good idea, members of the Brattleboro Selectboard have unanimously forced 37,000 innocent residents of Rescue Inc’s 15-city territory .to suffer the consequences now.

Now losing Brattleboro’s 12,000 residents and the city grant, Rescue Inc. faces the challenge of maintaining service levels in its vast territory beyond Brattleboro: a challenge that must be overcome now for the public good, as all the world will one day need emergency medical services.

My previous Communal room comment [“Rescuing Rescue Inc.,” Viewpoint, May 18] demonstrates that the State of Vermont has jurisdiction over emergency medical services.

Fourteen members of our Vermont General Assembly represent us that Rescue Inc. serves in Vermont.

Representatives Bos-Lun, Burke, Coffey, Gannon, Goldman, Kornheiser, Long, Mrowicki, Pajala, Partridge, Sibilia and Toleno, and Sens. Balint and White, how do you represent us now?

Melissa C. Keyes