Ambulance district required to repay grant funds

Mid Mo, other ambulance districts repaying GEMT funds

Democrat photo/Garrett Fuller — A sign for the Mid-Mo Ambulance District headquarters is seen Nov. 7, 2022, in Tipton.
Democrat photo/Garrett Fuller — A sign for the Mid-Mo Ambulance District headquarters is seen Nov. 7, 2022, in Tipton.

After being required to repay more than $100,000 to the state government, the Mid Mo Ambulance District Board of Directors learned it may have to repay even more for a program it no longer participates in.

The board discussed Ground Emergency Medical Transportation (GEMT) repayments during its Thursday meeting at the district's business office in Tipton. Estimates for tree removal at one of the district's ambulance bases were also discussed, despite no motion required.

According to meeting minutes, Mid Mo Ambulance District is required to repay more than $102,360 to the MO HealthNet Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services for GEMT payments in the 2018-19 fiscal year. District Administrator Lee Kempf said the district may also be required to repay part of the 2019-20 reimbursements. Kempf added that the district quit participating in the GEMT program because it was more work than it was worth.

"For the amount of work it took, under the guidance of the same company that then audited the reports done, only to have to pay it back 2 years later, it was not worth the time and effort," the minutes said.

According to the Department of Social Services website, GEMT "is a voluntary program that allows for the reimbursement of uncompensated costs to eligible GEMT providers who provide qualifying emergency ambulance services to Department of Social Services, MO HealthNet participant."

Brenda West, secretary for Mid Mo Ambulance District, said the GEMT program was part of a federal grant administered by the state to get funds for ambulance transports. She said the state completed the grant itself for the 2017-18 fiscal year, but suggested providers to work with Myers and Stauffer, a Kansas City certified public accounting firm, in following years.

West said the district is still required to pay back the funds, even after following Myers and Stauffer's guidance. She added that other ambulance providers have faced similar issues with the program, with some being placed in tough spots after using the funds for equipment purchases.

The board also heard estimates for tree removal at the district's Ivy Bend base in rural Morgan County. According to the meeting minutes, three trees will need to be removed to install a communications tower. Approval was not required for the job, but an additional cost may be accrued if more trimming is needed.

April run statistics were also presented to the board. There were 330 total calls throughout the ambulance district in April, with 210 transports. Versailles led the statistics with 194 calls and 124 transports. California had 73 calls and 47 transports, and Tipton had 63 calls with 39 transports.

The Mid Mo Ambulance District will meet next at 7 p.m. June 14 at its business office in Tipton.