Frequently Asked Questions

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The Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County is a new municipal entity formed to fund, manage and provide EMS services to member municipalities.

MESA was incorporated on February 7, 2023 after a year-long process of in depth study, municipal public meetings and a public hearing on the Authority’s formation. The founding municipalities are Conoy Township, East Donegal Township, Elizabethtown Borough, Elizabeth Township, Marietta Borough, Mount Joy Township, and West Donegal Township.

The Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County was formed because the municipalities recognized that the future of emergency services is at risk. Locally, Northwest EMS (like EMS agencies across the state) is struggling financially due to insufficient subscription revenue, insufficient insurance reimbursements and soaring costs. The municipalities needed a bold solution to meet their statutory obligation to provide EMS services.

MESA is governed by a board of representatives from each founding municipality. Instead of generating revenue through voluntary municipal and membership contributions (as Northwest EMS does today), MESA will charge a reasonable, uniform annual fee to property owners.

Yes. Insurance reimbursements for EMS services only occur on a per call basis and cover only about half of the total cost of service. The proposed annual fees will fund the balance of operational expenses, ensuring readiness to answer calls and fiscal stability. The fee, determined by property type, will be charged to the property owner and there is not an option to opt-out.

Benefits for all residents of member municipalities will include:

– 24/7 readiness to answer the call

– No residual bills for 911 emergency services if your insurance pays

– 50% off 911 emergency ambulance bills if you have no insurance or if your entire payment goes toward your insurance deductible

MESA’s estimated fees are based on a fair and equitable model. Unlike Northwest EMS’ current subscription-based model (which receives contributions from less than half of the residents who Northwest EMS serves), all property owners will pay a fair share – and all residents of member municipalities will benefit.

The method of assessment of estimated fees was calculated using Northwest EMS call volume by occupancy classification, county parcel and tax data, and individual municipal data.

MESA plans to begin operating in 2024. Once MESA begins operating, it will be as if Northwest EMS is continuing to operate under a new name. Northwest EMS stations and ambulances will rebrand to the new identity. Northwest EMS staff, outfitted in MESA-branded uniforms, will continue to provide the outstanding EMS services for which they are known.

MESA will operate in a similar fashion as a water or sewer authority. All board meetings are advertised public meetings during which the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Budgets, capital expenditures and significant operational decisions, etc. are all discussed and approved in public meetings.

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