Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ambulance Fees - What will they be? UPDATED

On June 12th, Toledo City Council will consider an ordinance to give the Fire Department the authority to establish and implement Basic Life Support (BLS) transport fees. The ordinance also awards "a contract to Advanced Data Processing, Inc. under terms and conditions prescribed by the Director of Law to collect transport fees for the Basic Life Support (BLS) transport billing and collection service."

The County has established a cap on the amount that ambulance companies, under contract with the County, can charge for BLS runs dispatched by them. That cap is $500 plus mileage. Dennis Cole, director of the County Emergency Management Agency which oversees the County's ambulance contracts, explained that the County does not have any contractual language that would limit the amount that the City of Toledo can charge.

Toledo has not said what they're looking at in terms of a fee. Interestingly, I could find no news coverage of any discussion on how much would need to be charged to generate the "at least $1.2 million a year in extra cash for the city's general operating fund" that this service is supposed to produce. And with no publicized discussions of what fees would equal $1.2 million in revenue, there are likely no 'promises' of not increasing the cost to those who have to use the service. And with all the discussion of 'continuity of care' being more important, I can predict that this will be the excuse should the fee be more than $500.

Somehow, I don't think Toledoans will happy if it's anything other than the $500 that they were paying under the private structure, and woe to any politicians who supported this if it is.

UPDATE: I've been trying to find my old notes on this issue, but I believe that the County's rate is set at a maximum of $500 - and that many ambulance companies were charging less than this for BLS runs. Since the ordinance gives the Fire Department the ability to set the fees, I wonder if anyone will question or require documentation for how those fees are determined?


Lisa Renee said...

I haven't seen any media coverage on this either as far as what the fees could be. You would think there would be some information provided to give citizens a chance to comment on the fees that are going to be set.

Maggie Thurber said...

Finally found my notes and the average ambulance runs vary from about $350-495, depending upon severity of patient and the amount of supplies used. Granted, it's capped at $500, but many are below that rate.

And no, Lisa, I don't think that the public will get a chance to comment - at least, not if council is going to turn over authority for setting the rates to the Fire Department.

Council can avoid all responsibility for it that way. But I would love to see council change this provision and require that the rate come back before them prior to implementation.

I'd also like to ask how the rate was determined and have the fire department provide the cost analysis that documents how the rate was set.

I'm guessing that such analysis won't be done.

-Sepp said...

$500 bucks for the ambulance ride sounds like about what our money-grubbing leadership will charge. And since the "service" has a cap on it I'm sure they will find a way to tack fees into anything that is done in excess of what is considered "service".

Hooda Thunkit said...

How is the rate set/determined?

Chiefs Mike Navarre gets a call from the 22nd floor and voila, the rate has been set/changed by our beloved strong mayor.

And, that is more truth than fiction.

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