Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that’s not listed below? Scroll down and click “Submit Your Question.” We’ll contact you with an answer as soon as possible.

What is the Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County?

The Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County (MESA; pronounced māy-sah) is a municipal authority 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, Marietta Borough, Mount Joy Township and West Donegal Township.

Why was MESA formed?

The Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County was formed because the future of emergency services was at risk. Locally, Northwest EMS (like EMS agencies across the state) was struggling financially due to insufficient subscription revenue, insufficient insurance reimbursements and soaring costs. Municipalities in the region needed a bold solution to meet their statutory obligation to provide EMS services. MESA is a publicly funded municipal authority formed to replace Northwest EMS and ensure that 911 EMS service is ready and available on a sustainable basis.

Who leads MESA?

MESA is governed by board consisting of a representative appointed from each founding municipality. As a municipal organization, MESA’s board meetings are open to the public.

How is MESA funded?

Unlike ambulance agencies that generate revenue through voluntary contributions, which leave them deeply underfunded, MESA charges property owners a mandatory annual fee to fund its operations and ensure 24/7 readiness to respond to EMS calls.

As a property owner, do I have to pay the fee if I have insurance?

Yes. Insurance reimbursements for EMS services only occur on a per call basis and cover only about half of the total cost of service. MESA’s annual fees fund the balance of operational expenses, ensuring 24/7 readiness to respond to EMS calls and fiscal sustainability. The fee, determined by property type, is mandatory.

How are MESA’s annual fees determined?

The annual fee schedule is calculated based on historical EMS call volume by occupancy classification; county parcel and tax data, and individual municipal data. Note: Insurance only covers EMS services on a per call basis and only covers about half of the total cost of service. MESA’s annual fees fund the balance of operational expenses (see MESA’s 2024 Operating Budget).

What benefits do I receive for the annual fee?

The annual fee insures the sustainability of EMS in your community. Should you need to utilize MESA’s 911 EMS services, your benefits include:

  • No residual bills for EMS services if your insurance pays
  • 50% off EMS bills if you do not have insurance coverage
  • 50% off EMS bills if your payment applies to a deductible

These benefits are identical to those offered previously to Northwest EMS subscribers.

Is MESA’s annual fee billed by mail or assessed by taxes?

MESA’s annual fee is billed by mail to property owners.

Is MESA’s annual fee billed to renters?

No, MESA’s annual fee is not billed to renters. As stipulated by the Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act, the annual fee is billed to property owners. Property owners decide if and how they choose to pass the fee on to renters.

What will happen if I don’t pay the annual fee?

Late fees and penalties will be assessed for unpaid bills. All options available to MESA will be utilized to attempt to collect unpaid bills including, but not limited to, third-party collection companies and property liens.

Are any properties exempt from MESA’s annual fee?

Yes. K-12 schools are billed an annual fee based on their full-time equivalent employees, but the schools are exempt from fees to cover their students, as students are considered already covered as members of standard dwelling units. Similarly, churches are exempt on the basis that congregants are already covered as members of standard dwelling units.

Will Northwest EMS still seek subscriptions?

No. Northwest EMS is no longer in operation as an EMS agency.

Does MESA hold regular public meetings?

Yes, as a municipal organization, MESA board meetings are public meetings during which the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. MESA is governed by a board of representatives from each founding municipality and operates in a similar manner as a water or sewer authority. Budgets, capital expenditures and significant operational decisions, etc. are all discussed and approved in public meetings.

Does MESA provide medical transport or only 911 EMS services?

MESA primarily focuses on 911 EMS service to maintain the highest possible level of 911 call coverage and the fastest possible response time.

Will MESA submit insurance claims on my behalf?

Yes, if you receive 911 ambulance service, MESA will submit an insurance claim on your behalf.

What happens if a MESA ambulance is not available to respond to a call?

As customary among EMS providers, MESA participates in mutual aid agreements with EMS responders in neighboring municipalities to receive and lend assistance to respond to calls within and across municipal boundaries.

Have a Question That’s Not Listed?

Join The MESA Team

MESA offers full-time and part-time employment opportunities for paramedics, EMTs, EMS administrators and non-medical professionals in a welcoming and family-like environment with competitive pay, benefits and time-off.