By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Mailer fighting care center fees sent to Mac residents

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This story confuses the two different provisions in the ordinance: a $1,500 fine for senior care communities calling EMS and annual fees and taxes referred to by the city as “business license” fees for senior care communities.

The petition letter states that fees and taxes “will likely have to pass on to the seniors living in these communities,” referring to the business license fee of $500 per year and a tax of $200 per bed per year that can total over $20,000 a year for some McMinnville senior care communities. It does not refer to the EMS fine. These new fees and taxes are expensive and likely must be wrapped up in the monthly cost of care, just as would happen in any organization when fixed annual costs significantly increase.

The petition letter provision that says, “no other city has passed this type of tax,” refers to the business license fee and tax, not the EMS fine. A few cities in Oregon have adopted reasonable lift assist policies and EMS fine structures. For example, the city of Portland has a lift assist fine that starts at $250 for the first offense. At $1,500, the McMinnville EMS fine is much more expensive and is intended to be punitive.

-Rosie Ward


Want to make sure you are the same one representing the health care companies.

So if a private company uses a disproportionate amount of a pubic service because it chooses not to have adequate staff to provide the services, then that cost burden should be passed on to the tax payers of the community.

McMinnville’s public service providers are stretched thin as is. I am referring to Police, Fire and EMS. If your client is creating special and disproportionate demand then, I think the community should have a mechanism to be reimbursed or you should hire your own private service provider.



Bdf- I agree!.....I have a hard time being sympathetic to the health care corporation that has an “employee wellness coach” but wants to use public services and/ or pass on costs to the the senior clients....


This issue between the care centers and the EMS system of McMinnville could have been settled by communicating with the leaders of the senior health care systems here in McMinnville before the city council and the fire department passed their resolution last October.
This is solely an attempt to create an other income source for the city of McMinnville.
I have worked in many of the community based care centers here in McMinnville. My experience has been in a management capacity. The system always perfect, no, but the complaints of the EMS system could have been resolved through mediation not financial penalties.


I was at the original city planning commissioner meeting (for a different agenda item) where this was discussed and my recollection was that the fire chief recommended this cost structure because several discussions failed to change any usage patterns.

Something that also came up at that meeting that is being ignored was that by calling in EMS, liability shifted from the care facility to the EMS, which means McMinnville ends up assuming liability because out of state companies are attempting to shift risk that is part of the business those companies entered.

The EMS cannot simply raise rates to cover their actual cost because most assisted living residents use Medicare which dictates what will be paid for services regardless of cost. That means any costs not covered by Medicare would be passed on to residents. Please remember that EMS responding to something like a stroke or heart attack is not the issue. The issue is basic services like IVs that the residents are already paying the care centers to provide are not being delivered. Essentially, under the current EMS usage system, residents are paying a second time for a service they have contracted for from the care center. There's also the additional whammy of forcing our city to assume the liability.

While I can admire the care companies "resourcefulness" in making me pay for their business model, I don't have any obligation or desire to make a company based in Georgia increase their profits. I hope that McMinnville citizens will do their research and make their decisions based on facts and not fear-provoking marketing puffery. Rather than solely relying on a one-sided mailer for information, I'm sure a call to the fire chief's office would provide additional information and support a balanced decision about this topic.


Sounds like we are getting a lesson. Need our elected leaders to correct this course and limit our liability.


Yes, I am the same person from the story. I appreciate you all participating in the conversation around this issue. All we are trying to do here is draw attention to an issue that didn’t receive much, if any, public discussion before it was enacted. This is a complex issue that has been addressed collaboratively in other cities, without unfairly targeting seniors and those who care for them.


I am also mentioned in the story and have been very active at attempting to guide policy that gets the intended result and isn’t used as a Trojan Horse for additional bureaucracy and fees for McMinnville residents. I can tell you the ordinance is very flawed and will negatively effect McMinnville residents and employees of these providers. Yes there are quality problems from time to time with some providers and that is what the fine addresses. The fine is fine. The issue is the licensing bureaucracy this creates in order to print money for the city. To get an accurate picture of this ordinance you have dig into all the other regulations providers are required to follow. This ordinance deserves to be on the ballot and be debated, something the city seems intent on stoping.