LEAVENWORTH — Cascade Medical Center’s emergency medical services tax renewal is passing.
As of Tuesday night, the measure had received 1,991 votes (79.9 percent) for and 501 votes (20.1 percent) against. Ballots will next be counted Friday afternoon, and the election will be certified Feb. 22.
The tax is 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, and the six-year renewal would begin in 2020.
Cascade CEO Diane Blake has said the tax brings in about $1.1 million per year, making up about 26 percent of the emergency medical services budget. It helps cover staffing, equipment, supplies and insurance.
"We are grateful for our community’s continued support of and trust in the emergency medical services Cascade Medical provides," Blake said in a statement. "This ongoing tax support is vital to the continuation of both ambulance and emergency department services, and we appreciate being able to offer these necessary, life-saving services in collaboration with our community. A very deep thank you to the voters in our hospital district."
The 1,200-square-mile district covers the area from the summit of Blewett Pass to that of Stevens Pass.
About $90,000 covers staffing for an ambulance operated by Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue. Since 2016, that partnership has halved response times and doubled the number of EMT-trained volunteers near Plain, according to the hospital.
According to the hospital, the emergency room had over 3,200 visits in 2017 and more than half of emergency patients were local. Cascade ambulances responded to over 1,000 calls in 2017.