June 22, 2010; Source: Post-Gazette | Nonprofits in Pittsburgh and other cities are being asked to help rescue emergency services in Allegheny County. Because Medicare and private insurance payments are only covering about half the costs of ambulance trips, Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb has proposed that nonprofits, including hospitals and foundations, contribute to a fund to keep emergency services from falling into a deeper crisis.
According to the Post-Gazette, the plan would require municipalities to match the nonprofits’ contributions, either dollar-for-dollar or with in-kind contributions. Lamb told the newspaper it’s “too soon” to put a dollar figure on how much he would seek from the nonprofits. However, he added that it’s part of the hospital community’s mission to help ambulance companies.
Susan Manko, spokeswoman for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said the hospital network already does a great deal for the city and surrounding communities—including providing training, medical direction, and supplies—adding, “It’s unlikely there’s another nonprofit academic medical center anywhere in the United States that’s doing more for its region than UPMC already does for Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania.”
Under Lamb’s proposal, 80 percent of the subsidies from nonprofits and municipalities that contribute to the special fund would go to ambulance companies, 10 percent to the county’s 911 center and 10 percent to ambulance providers’ training or coordination programs.—Bruce Trachtenberg