ESD 2 Board proposes tax rate, hears CareFlite update

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

September 1, 2021

The Hill County Emergency Services (ESD) 2 Board of Commissioners met in a regular session Thursday, August 19, and proposed the district’s tax rate for the coming year.

The board proposed a rate of $0.04365 per $100 valuation, which is the no-new-revenue rate and a decrease from last year’s rate. The tax rate and the district’s budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year are expected to be adopted at a meeting next month.

CareFlite CEO Jim Swartz addressed the board about a change that will be implemented to ensure that patients receive transport to the most appropriate facility for treatment.

Swartz said that CareFlite has identified issues with some stroke patients assigned to AirEvac being transported to Waco hospitals instead of comprehensive stroke centers in Temple or Fort Worth.

Going forward, Swartz said that CareFlite will instruct AirEvac about where to send stroke patients, noting that any delays in appropriate care can result in poorer outcomes.

He also gave the board an update on the audit that was performed by CareFlite’s billing company to identify any patients who may have paid bills they did not owe.

Swartz said that the billing issue that caused the problem has been corrected, and the audit found that about 800 people had been identified since October 1, 2009. He said that the company had resolved the issue and delivered the appropriate refunds.

CareFlite representatives also reported that emergency medical training is underway for local first responders, and dates for future community outreach events are being set.

CareFlite reported that some of the hospitals where patients are normally transferred had stopped accepting patients due to the pandemic, which could increase call times on future reports if patients must be transported long distances.

For the month of July, CareFlite reported 355 responses and 234 transports, with the majority of patients going to Hill Regional Hospital, Providence Health Center in Waco and Baylor Scott & White – Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco.

Site work continues on the district’s new facility on Outlet Drive in Hillsboro, and the slab was expected to be poured last week.

The board convened in executive session to discuss the purchase of property for a future ambulance station, but no action was taken.

The board revisited the topic in a special session Friday, August 27, and approved an offer to purchase approximately seven acres from Jon Medford on FM 67 between Covington and Blum for a future ambulance station at a cost of $110,000.

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