Florida Officials Vote to Raise Ambulance Fee

Clearwater commissioners unanimously approved the 10.15% fee increase.


 
 

ANNE LINDBERG, St. Petersburg Times | | Monday, June 21, 2010


CLEARWATER - The cost of an ambulance ride will increase come July 1.

County commissioners unanimously approved on Tuesday a recommendation that ambulance fees be increased 10.15 percent.

The increase is estimated to bring in an additional $1.4 million in revenue that will be used to help offset an estimated $13.6 million shortfall in EMS funds for the coming fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Basic service for Sunstar emergency transport currently costs $473.73 to $562.96 per patient. When the increase goes into effect, the cost will range from $521.81 to $620.10.

Also going up will be critical care transport from $809.41 per patient to $891.57, and other Sunstar charges.

County Administrator Bob LaSala said the rate increases will bring Pinellas' ambulance costs into line with Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Polk and Sarasota counties. Plus, he said, rates have not been raised since 2008.

About 30 percent of the payments for ambulance rides, he said, come from insurance. The remainder comes from Medicaid, Medicare and out-of-pocket expenses by those who use the service.

LaSala's suggestion to raise fees came last month as commissioners got their first look at the dismal news facing them regarding EMS expenses.

Total EMS expenditures for next year have been estimated to be about $87.6 million , which includes about $39.6 million to the 18 fire departments that provide first-response service; $35.7 million to Paramedics Plus, the private company the county contracts with for ambulance service; and $12.3 million for other costs, including personnel, operating and capital expenditures.

LaSala has said he has found himself hamstrung by state law in trying to hold down costs when it comes to giving money to the 18 cities and fire districts that provide EMS service. The law requires that the county pay the actual expenses incurred by those groups in providing firefighter/paramedics and other equipment.

Early on, almost all of the 18 had asked for more money in the coming year. Much of that was for increases in salaries, and benefits such as health insurance and pension costs.

But county commissioners said they do not want to raise the property tax rate to pay for those increases. LaSala has said he has some ideas for trying to hold the line and plans to meet with city managers and others to discuss possible solutions to the financial difficulties in the coming weeks.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

 



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, ambulance billing, ambulance fees

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Fire Breaks Out on New Jersey Hospital Roof

Four-alarms in Bayonne for roof top blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting, EMS Audio

Edited audio from the Parliament Hill incident.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Illinois Ambulance Service on Chopping Block

Peoria Heights EMS depends on property tax vote.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters, Medics Drill for Ebola

Lexington firefighters and medics prepare for possible patients.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting Incident

Solider is shot by gunman at national memorial in Ottawa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

EMS Tailgating

Rigs converted for football.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >