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Topic: Flint subsidizing a for profit ? Universal ambulance
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El Supremo

This reads like the City is requesting ambulance service. Flint Fire personnel are trained EMTs. The millage used to pay for their training for Continuing Education and certifications. A genesee County deficit and proposed cuts to county paramedics led to Sheriff Pickell lobbying to eliminate the portion of the Paramedic millage given to Flint in order to prevent layoffs at the county.. As then County Board Chairman Curtis told the media the county had no obligation to share the millage money with Flint.

Personally, I would want to hear the rationale for having an ambulance leave the station every time a fire truck goes on a call. How many times is an ambulance needed. Communities usually have to pay to have an ambulance on standby for community events and the going rate usually starts around $500 an event. Co mpanies cannot afford to have their vehicles out of service. Flint is a government entity and this smacks of having an exclusive relationship. When Flint lost the paramedic millage funding, Flint only had one old transport vehicle.
Post Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:08 am 
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El Supremo

Genesis Total Health Care in Gr Blanc, MI (Michigan) - Home...

Genesis Total Health Care's, Gr Blanc, MI listing in the home health care directory . ... The quality of care given at Genesis Total Health Care is periodically evaluated by Medicare. ..... Gave their Home Health Agency a Rating of 9 or 10: 76% *.

Medicare gave this company 2 of 5 stars. They advised how the sample was very small (100 completed- 19%) and the results could be unreliable. They advertise as a "faith based" organization.
Post Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:19 am 
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El Supremo

Economic Development is not a fully acceptable reason for rent deals in most municipal facilities. There are statutes that allow "incubator" facilities within specialized facilities such as the Flint Oak Center. However even in an incubator, the rent break has a time limit of usually 18 months.

Public-private arrangements are notorious for being vehicles that void the public scrutiny of a pure government function. Sorry, but this deal smells to me.
Post Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:29 am 
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El Supremo

social entrepreneur BUSINESS
By Alari Adams on February 25th, 2013

Chevrolet Volt. Toyota Prius. Michigan L3C.
Two of these products are automobiles and the other is a relatively new Michigan corporate entity known as a low-profit limited liability company (L3C). Nonetheless, all three of these products are considered hybrids and allow their respective user to attain an optimal result via two different components being combined.
Enacted in 2009 by Michigan Legislature, an L3C is a hybrid between a non-profit corporation and a for-profit corporation, therefore an L3C possesses characteristics of each. Similar to a non-profit, an L3C must be formed in furtherance of some charitable or educational purpose. However, as with a for-profit entity, an L3C may have equity owners who have the right to receive distributions of profits and appreciation in the value of the business entity. Currently, only nine states permit organizing as an L3C (but L3Cs can operate in all states) and as of this writing there were 162 L3Cs organized in Michigan.
Like most entities, an L3C must be registered with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) in a manner similar to a limited liability company (LLC), with articles of organization being filed and execution of an operating agreement. Since, an L3C is relatively new it requires some strict compliance with Michigan law and the IRS. Most notably, an addendum needs to be attached to the article detailing the charitable or educational purpose of the respective L3C.
Despite its non-profit characteristics, an L3C is not a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, therefore donations and investments to L3Cs are not tax deductible. Additionally, L3Cs operate like standard LLCs for federal tax purposes, so any profits pass through to its members and are taxed at individual rates.
L3Cs are particularly attractive to individuals who are interested in creating a social enterprise. As you probably know, a social enterprise is focused on improving the quality of their community opposed to increasing the enterprises monetary profits. The attraction to L3Cs, stems from the fact that they permit funding from traditional sources (family, banks, angel investors, etc.) and private foundations. To maintain tax-exempt status, private foundations are required by the IRS to contribute at least five percent of their assets for a charitable purpose. Often this is achieved through grants but foundations may also opt to make program related investments (PRI).
PRIs, defined in Section 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code, are investments with entities whose primary objective is aimed at a charitable or educational purpose and not attaining a profit (sound familiar?). A PRI may be structured as an interest-free or below-market loan, loan guarantees, letters of credit, or equity investment. Therefore, L3Cs and PRIs are perfect for each other the L3C attains funding and the foundation remains in the good graces of the IRS and any returns can be reinvested for another charitable purpose.
The unique branding opportunities presented by L3Cs are not without any hurdles. As of now, the IRS does not automatically recognize an investment with an L3C as being a PRI. And the penalty for making an investment that is later discovered not to qualify as a PRI is large fines and/or loss of a tax-exempt status. Therefore, foundations must exercise due diligence whether by asking the IRS for a private letter ruling prior to making an investment to ensure compliance. Or, foundations may examine the nineteen examples provided by the IRS which illustrate investments that qualify as a PRI.
All in all, an L3C may possibly be the answer for social enterprises to achieve creative capitalism. However, I think that its overall success is contingent on the IRS making a definitive ruling regarding investments to L3Cs. In the interim, L3Cs create a distinctive entity for those who are passionate about providing a social good within their respective community.
Photo via Trico Charitable Foundation
About the Author

Alari Adams
Alari K. Adams enjoys assisting individuals who are brave enough to live out their dreams. She is founder of ASquared Legal Group, PLC which provides effective legal counsel to entrepreneurs regarding their emerging small businesses or startup. Follow her on Twitter
Post Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:35 pm 
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El Supremo

Nigerian Benson Ekong heads up Universal EMS, Genesee County's only black-owned ambulance company

Marjory Raymer | mraymer@mlive.com By Marjory Raymer | mraymer@mlive.com

on June 03, 2008 at 6:30 AM, updated June 03, 2008 at 7:54 AM

Ryan Garza | The Flint Journal
Universal EMS owner/president Benson Ekong stands in a bay of the company in Flint.
BURTON, Michigan -- It took Benson Ekong three years to launch his ambulance business in Genesee County.
Ekong, 45, who is Nigerian and is the only black owner of an ambulance company in Genesee County, said his about year-old company Universal EMS is holding its own with other long established companies.

Ekong came to the U.S. about 25 years ago to attend college and learn engineering. He worked as an engineer for Electronic Data Systems Inc., but when a project he was working on ended, Ekong decided to switch industries because he believed the computer technology business was softening.


He connected with a medical equipment supplier, took classes in repairing and maintaining medical equipment such as wheelchairs and launched Genesis Universal Healthcare Services, a medical-equipment company, about seven years ago.

A home healthcare business followed and the ambulance portion was added to provide a "one stop shop" for customers such as those who may be leaving the hospital but still require care, Ekong said.

"The ambulance is just a piece of what we do," Ekong said from the company's headquarters on Davison Road. "It just turned out to be a productive part (of our business)."

The three companies have about 40 employees. Ekong's wife Judy, a nurse, also serves as vice president of the companies. .

"We felt we could offer some assistance," said Flint Fire Department Lt. and paramedic Kwame Hogan, an operations supervisor at Universal. "Benson is the best there is as far as to work for."

Universal EMS also has added two bases, one on Flint's north side and another in Mt. Morris Township, areas that Ekong said need nearby ambulances and have provided the company with business.

There are 12 transporting agencies -- in addition to the county sheriff and city of Flint paramedics and first responders -- approved to do business in Genesee County, said Bruce Trevithick, executive director of the Genesee County Medical Control Authority, which oversees county emergency medical services.

The Genesee County Board of Commissioners wants to a change to how its ambulance system operates in the county.

The ordinance aims to better ambulance response time through contracting with one or two companies to provide service through a north and south zone -- which Ekong said he opposes.

Those companies could subcontract, Trevithick said.
Post Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:16 am 
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El Supremo

Universal EMS ambulance company shutters doors in Flint, Genesee ...
1 hour ago - Universal EMS ambulance company has shuttered its doors in Flint and Genesee ... In a press release, the company announced its closing on ...
Post Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:31 pm 
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El Supremo

Universal EMS ambulance company shutters doors in Flint, Genesee County

Updated on July 19, 2017 at 5:13 PM Posted on July 19, 2017 at 5:12 PM

(MLive.com file photo)
By Oona Goodin-Smith ogoodins@mlive.com
FLINT, MI - Universal EMS ambulance company has shuttered its doors in Flint and Genesee County.

In a press release, the company announced its closing on Wednesday, July 19 -- a day after it officially closed for business.

The ambulance company -- which has provided service in Flint for over 12 years -- did not state a reason for its closing.

Bruce Trevithick, executive director of the Genesee County Medical Control Authority, said he received a call around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18, that the company would close for business at 6:30 p.m. that night.

He said he was not given a reason as to why the company was closing, either.

Trevithick, who oversees county emergency medical services, said that the ambulance company mainly provided non-emergency transportation, working with hospitals to bus non-ambulatory patients to different buildings and appointments.

Trevithick said the ambulance company, at the time of its closing, employed 39 EMS providers.

Federal court records show that Universal Ambulance Response Services, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late May.

Neither attorneys for Universal nor its president, Benson Ekong, were immediately available for comment on the matter.

Nigerian Benson Ekong heads up Universal EMS, Genesee County's only black-owned ambulance company

Universal EMS is the second Flint-area ambulance company to close its doors in the last two months. In May, Regional EMS Services - affiliated with McLaren Health Systems - closed permanently.

However, Trevithick said Genesee County has seven other ambulance companies providing service to the areas, including new addition Medstar Ambulance, which began serving Genesee County in June.

According to MLive-The Flint Journal archives, Ekong launched the company over a decade ago with headquarters on Davison Road in Burton, and two bases on Flint's north side and in Mt. Morris Twp.

Universal EMS eyes move from Burton to Flint's north side, addition of 200 new jobs within three years

In 2013, the company announced plans to move its headquarters to Flint's north side. At the time, it employed 110, with expectations to grow.

Two years later, the company moved into a Flint fire station at 716 E. Pierson Road near Dupont Street.
Post Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:42 pm 
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El Supremo

ABC12 - Content - News

Universal EMS closes suddenly after 12 years of operation

By Elisse Ramey | Posted: Wed 6:43 PM, Jul 19, 2017 | Updated: Wed 7:02 PM, Jul 19, 2017

GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (07/19/17) - An EMS company that served Mid-Michigan for over a dozen years suddenly closed Tuesday.

Employees were caught off guard and others were left with questions.

Genesee County Medical Control Authority says they were told at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday that Universal EMS would be closing at 6:30 that night.

They were not given a reason why, but a former employee says the company had fallen on hard times.

"If I wasn't on Facebook yesterday, I would never know," said firefighter paramedic Jack Kelley.

He had worked for Universal for about a year and a half.

"The company meeting was actually at 4, and I guess the doors shutdown around 6, 6:30 which was about two hours notice. Everyone is pretty bummed," he said.

Kelley says the company recently filed for bankruptcy and that problems had persisted for a while.

"After we left the Flint fire stations, there were some problems with financials of the company, so they were talking about moving the schedule around a bit," Kelley said. "And they made it clear no one was going to get laid off, but some people might not get as many hours as they wanted which caused a whole flood of people to leave. And we've been kind of struggling with that ever since, but every once in awhile, someone's paycheck would bounce."

He says his paycheck bounced at least three times.

There were rumblings of an expansion to Flint's north side, and the company even added EMTs specially trained in lead mitigation as recently as January.

Kelley is now a firefighter paramedic with Groveland Township, but working a fill-in shift. He's looking at other permanent employment options after being forced to leave a place where he was happy.

"Everyone I was with...the other crews I was with, I work with a partner, the dispatchers, management, that I worked directly under, between my ops manager, I didn't want to work with any other group of people. I haven't found anything like that since I found Groveland, he said.

The Genesee County Medical Control Authority says Universal EMS was approved for operation in Genesee County on Nov. 15, 2006. They officially began running in early 2007. There are currently seven other transporting EMS agencies in the county. The Authority does not believe Universal's closure will have a significant impact.
Post Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:20 pm 
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