Hatboro Tax Request 2019

On Monday December 17th, Hatboro's Council will vote on whether or not to implement a 0.12 mill real estate tax dedicated to funding Emergency Medical Services (Second Alarmers).

On this page you will find some additional information and answers to frequently asked questions. 

We need your support and ask that you contact the Borough asking them to approve this tax.  Contact information for Hatboro elected officials and staff can be found by clicking here.

A message from Hatboro

A Message from Hatboro

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who/What is Second Alarmer's?

Second Alarmer's Rescue Squad (SARS) is a 501(C)(3) non-profit Emergency Medical Services Agency that provides primary EMS coverage to seven municipalities in Eastern Montgomery County.  More about our organization can be found by clicking here.

Does SARS charge a fee for service?

SARS responds to over 12,000 911 calls for service each year.  Many but not all of these calls result in a patient being transported to an area hospital.  When SARS treats and transports a patient we do charge a fee for service the same as any other medical provider.  These fees are often, but not always, covered by insurance.  In cases where a patient's insurance does not cover these fees the patient is responsible for the cost of service.  For many calls such as fire standbys, police incidents,  or accidents that do not result in a transport, SARS is unable to bill for services.

I received a bill for $1,900 dollars.  That is a lot of money.  If that is what SARS charges everyone why does SARS need more money?

Emergency Medical Service fees these days can be quite high, we will be the first to admit this.  Unfortunately over 75% of our patients are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or similar programs which only allow and pay for a small portion of the actual cost of providing service.  We are required by federal law to write off the rest.  Many other patients are covered by Medicaid programs that provide even less reimbursement than Medicare.  Other patients are covered by what is referred to as "commercial insurance" (Blue Cross, Aetna, Signa etc.), the good news is that many of these policies do cover our fees in full but the bad news is that due to changes in the way these companies make their payments, SARS frequently does not receive the payment with many patients "pocketing" funds sent to them that were intended to be turned over to SARS.  Finally there are some patients who do not have insurance and who simply do not pay their bill.

What does this mean as far as funding?

This means that SARS receives only a fraction of the amount that we bill each year, despite our best efforts to collect what is due to us.  In 2017 we were required to write off over $8 million dollars due to Medicare policies and other similar regulations.  Another $150,000 was written off due to our membership program, and patients still owe us over $1,295,000.  

Is SARS doing something wrong if you are unable to collect all of your fees?

No- the challenges SARS face are the same that are faced by most if not all EMS agencies across Pennsylvania and other parts of the country.  Below are a few links to recent articles and publications that illustrate this further:

Montgomery News Article

Inquirer article on ambulance subscriptions

PA Township News

Who will rescue the rescuers?

PA SR6 Report

Patients Pocketing Insurance Checks

What is SARS fund drive/subscription program?

Information on SARS fund drive can be found by clicking here.

I still have more questions.

Please send us an email at info@main.sars.org.  We will continue to add information and answers to this website as we receive additional questions.

SARS and Hatboro by the Numbers:

In 2017 SARS responded to 685 calls for service in Hatboro leading to 426 patients being transported.

Calls in Hatboro represent 5.2% of all calls that SARS responds to.

SARS responded to 25 fire/special service calls in Hatboro in 2017, these are calls where we are unable to charge a fee for service.

SARS units were on scene in 8 minutes or less 93% of the time when responding to calls in Hatboro.

SARS sent fund drive solicitations to 3216 Hatboro residents during our 2017-2018 fund drive and received 479 contributions/subscriptions in return, totaling $28,120.00.

SARS cost per billable call in Hatboro is $601.38

SARS average revenue per billable call in Hatboro is $492.96

This means a deficit of $108.42 per billable call

In 2017 SARS was able to bill for 431 calls in Hatboro meaning a total deficit of $46,729.02

SARS is requesting a 0.12mill EMS tax for 2019

Hatboro's current total real estate assessment value is $401,052,005 so if approved this millage would generate $48,126.24 of revenue for SARS.

The average property assessment in Hatboro is $122,170 which means that if approved the EMS tax on an average property would be $14.66.