Port Matilda EMS Update

The following is a status of the Port Matilda EMS funding situation based on the best information I have to date.  I think it is important to include foundational information as well which is the first part of this status report.

There is no formal or contractual relationship between the Port Matilda EMS and the Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG.  Establishing an oversight panel or other function by the Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG as it would relate to the Port Matilda EMS could be done through amending the articles of agreement of the COG or through some other contract or multi-municipal agreement.

Section 1553 of the Second-Class Township Code for emergency services reads as follows:

a. The township shall be responsible for ensuring that fire and emergency medical services are provided in the township by the means and to the extent determined by the township, including the appropriate financial and administrative assistance for these services.

b. The township shall consult with fire and emergency medical services providers to discuss the emergency services needs of the township.

c.  The township shall require any emergency services organizations receiving township funds to provide to the township an annual itemized listing of all expenditures of these funds before the township may consider budgeting additional funding to the organization.

To date, the Port Matilda EMS has not provided any status to either the Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG or Halfmoon Township.

The required information in order to allow the township to allocate any additional funding must be in the form of a budget and an itemized listing of expenditures per the Second-Class Township Code.  We are supposed to receive a budget from the Port Matilda EMS at some point but that has not yet been provided.  I requested a status on memberships from Jack Bonsell, the Port Matilda EMS President but have not received a response.  To date, the latest information that we do have shows that the Port Matilda EMS has current funds received from December 1, 2022 to present of about $130,000.  The total annual allocation for 2023 thus far from the municipalities is about $58,000, and memberships for 2023 currently stand at about $85,000.  The Port Matilda EMS will receive a state grant of $150,000.00.  Funding for training to be provided totals $6600.00.  Therefore, the total funding that will be available for 2023 is about $299,600.00 without any insurance reimbursements added in and without any increased amounts of membership revenue or training which is certain to occur.

The Port Matilda EMS was posting updates to the memberships purchased for 2023 in terms of number of memberships and total funds received but has since deleted these postings and has not provided any new updates. The Port Matilda EMS did not send out their membership mailings for 2023 until February 2023.

The last Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG meeting was held on March 7, 2023.  There was no representative of the Port Matilda EMS in attendance.  The representatives of the municipalities who are members of the UBEHCOG have done everything possible to address the issue to the extent that we can.  The advisory committee had one informal meeting to discuss ideas, but no options or recommendations were determined.  No further meetings are planned at this time.

According to the latest information I have, six people are currently enrolled in EMT training.  I have no further status on this training.  One invoice from CPI for four trainings was sent solely to me by Jack Bonsell on February 28.  It should have been sent to members of the Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG.  I forwarded this invoice to two families who offered to pay for one training each, and to Worth and Huston Townships and Port Matilda Borough who each offered to pay for one training.  Apparently a third family volunteered to pay for training and made payment.  Therefore, Worth and Huston Townships and two of three families have made payment which covers the cost of the first invoice.  A fifth payment is forthcoming from one of the three families, and I assume that Port Matilda Borough will make payment as well which would make a total of six payments.

There should have been a second invoice available already from Centre LifeLink for two people already enrolled in training that has not been provided yet.  Once this invoice is sent to Halfmoon Township, the township could pay for the one of the trainings as well.  Halfmoon Township needs this documentation in order to make payment to Port Matilda EMS.

It is my understanding from Port Matilda EMS that these six new EMTs agreed to only a one-year contract with Port Matilda EMS provided that their training was paid for, and that they cannot serve as EMTs until sometime after August 2023.  I do not have confirmation that these contracts have been signed yet.  These one-year fixed term contracts do qualify for the expenditure of the state grant monies as I confirmed in writing with the state through Representative Scott Conklin’s office.

Port Matilda EMS is in the process of reorganizing their board and has not expressed interest in an independent committee established by the Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG to provide oversight or assistance in managing their operations or for other assistance.

The Port Matilda EMS does not have a full staff.  My understanding is that they only have a part time staff of three people.  This means that the Port Matilda EMS cannot spend the money they have or will have for 2023 according to the last monthly expenditure projection provided by them of about $10,000.00 per month.  They currently have about $130,000.00 to date this year already without the state grant of $150,000.00 which should easily be enough for them to operate for the year and until other allocated funds and reimbursements come in. 

The funding is in place for 2023 and would allow plenty of time to prepare a plan for 2024.

Ron Servello

Vice Chair, Halfmoon Township Board of Supervisors

Member, Upper Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG