Aransas County commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, March 23, approved with a 4-1 vote the county’s monthly financial support ($37,500) to Code3ER.
Commissioner Charles Smith, who cast the lone dissenting vote, opened discussion about the topic, saying, “We’ve been subsidizing them for nine months. (We agreed to do so) until they addressed their business model, and to date I haven’t seen anything but two overtures to sell to us at a cost (more than it’s worth).”
He also noted the county is going to experience a significant drop in sales tax revenue, due the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The monthly stipend to Code3ER is paid from the county’s healthcare sales tax revenue.
Commissioner Wendy Laubach said Code3ER is the only emergency room in the county, and residents will face “real issues” if it’s not available.
“It’s not the time to cut the ER (funding),” she said.
Commissioner Bubba Casterline noted the county’s support is supposed to be used to supplement the income of doctors operating at that facility.
Commissioner Jack Chaney said the amount charged by Allegiance Ambulance to transport a patient to the Portland ER, or into Corpus Christi, is really large.
“We need to look at both (Allegiance Ambulance and Code3ER) agreements,” he said.
Chaney noted he still plans to meet with the mayor of Aransas Pass to discuss Allegiance funding since that city recently annexed some areas in the county, and should probably be sharing in the costs.
Before the vote regarding Code3ER’s monthly supplement was taken, County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills said, “I agree with Smith (regarding Code3ER), but this is the best situation right now.”