PTC hikes EMS fees

Mon, 02/25/2008 - 10:35am
By: John Munford

A change in Emergency Medical Service fees approved Thursday night by the Peachtree City Council includes new fees for services that haven't been charged for in the past.

Now, it will cost $125 to be treated by a medic crew — but not transported to a hospital — if the patient is administered a drug. It will also cost $200 for medics to prepare a patient for transport via a helicopter ambulance.

In both instances, the city had previously charged no fee.

The other fees that were increased included:

• Advance Life Support, Level 1: from $300 to $475;

• Advance Life Support Level 2: from $300 to $650;

• Basic Life Support: from $300 to $425; and

• Mileage charges: from $5 to $10 per mile.

All told the increases amount to a 16 percent hike, city officials said.

The fee structure is also being changed from itemized billing to flat rate billing, which puts the city in compliance with Medicare mandates, according to a memo written by EMS Officer Dave Williamson.

Also under the fee structure, city employees, elected officials and their immediate family members will not be billed for city EMS services.

In the last fiscal year, the city collected 73.7 percent of its billings. The new fee structure would have increased the city's billings that year from $388,000 to $448,000.

Williamson told the City Council Thursday night that the fee increase for ALS 2 service is due to the increased amount of manpower, specialized equipment and medicine for such calls. The city only runs about 18 of those type of calls a year, he added.

For the helicopter assistance fee, Williamson said the city currently doesn't bill patients who for example have been involved in a motor vehicle crash but those calls typically involve a significant amount of supplies.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by IMNSHO on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 7:30am.

I don't find this outrageous at all.

There is no change in the cost to just have medics come out and check you out, or to assist an uninjured person get back into bed (after falling... a very common type of call, especially at the nursing homes).

There is now a charge if they have to administer a drug. Okay, I can see that. We all know medication costs have gone up, so maybe that is part of it. Plus, to me, this is going to the next level of care. Kind of like a doctor's office charging different prices for different types of office visits.

The increased charges for the other types of care are a necessary thing now and then. Newer, better equipment costs more. And no, the budget does not cover all that is needed. I'm all for the idea of charging the people who actually use the services, rather than increasing taxes on everyone.

Increased charges for milage? That also makes sense to me. The cost of fuel has skyrocketed, and consumers are paying increased amounts in all areas because of that.

The fee for "preparing for transport" via helicopter is new. Previously, the city collected nothing for that... not even for transporting to the landing zone (there has always been a charge for transporting patients *except* for to the landing zone). The company that owns the helicopter (Rescue Air, Emory, or Children's Healthcare) will charge their own fees. The city has nothing to do with what the helicopter charge is. So no city employee will be getting a free helicopter ride.

As for city employees, elected officials, and their immediate family members not being billed for EMS services... that is pretty much the norm in surrounding jurisdictions (including the county).

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 3:16pm.

I'm sure you are on the tax payroll and are a republican! No new taxes!

To collect taxes for a service and also charge for the same service is wrong!
If enough taxes aren't collected or alloted then that should tell you something!

Hasn't anyone in public jobs ever heard of cutting the budget to meet the income? Most of us have to!

Yeah, I know----wait until I need the EMS!

Submitted by intheknow on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 4:10pm.

To several of the uninformed bloggers and in some cases just plain ignorant posters (you know who you are), ask around and get the facts about EMS services in Peachtree City, Fayette County, Georgia and Nationally. You would find that as a PTC resident your getting the highest quality level of Emergency Medical Service's at quite possibly one of the lowest overall costs around. Stop in at any PCFD Fire Station, ask questions and get the facts before posting your next "ignorant ranting's". Many of you whom are oblivious to the real world and how community services are delivered, continue to use this forum without knowing a damn thing your blogging about!
(someone whom delivers this service locally)

Submitted by TJinGA on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 6:37pm.

Again, (and I will type as slowly as I possibly can so that you may comprehend the point I am trying to make), I do not have a problem with the level of service, the quality of service, or the charges for the services. My issue is in exempting elected servants of the city, their families and all city employees. The other question I raised was not in the new fee schedule, but in representing the increase in fees as 16%. If you are going to quote a 16% increase, raise them 16%. Otherwise, tell it like it is!!!

And, to (someone whom delivers this service locally)... I thank you for all you do.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 5:33pm.

I realize it is a cardinal Fayette County sin to ask questions about exactly how tax money is spent, but when a second source is opened up for additional income due to the fact that you don't want to raise the regular taxes, or cut something else, then we must ask why!

We are ignorant because people like you won't explain yourself in detail---all you do is rant and rave and bluff!

Submitted by intheknow on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 6:31pm.

Like I already stated, do your research, ask around, it would require me to write a novel to explain how EMS operates and is funded here, there and around the country. As for the commonly referred to "user fee's" (a/k/a) ambulance billing, are used to supplement some of the costs involved in treatment and transport of patients. Paid for by those whom call for, and use the service.
There was no "second source opened up for additional income" as you stated, as there has been some type of EMS billing for YEARS (I think I covered these types of statements in my first posting). This EMS billing is often even paid for through insurance, and is done by most municipal and county run services to offset the operational costs, without Everyone having to pay for those whom are actually using EMS.
Hey, I already know of many Fire Departments that are doing the same for "Fire" calls, as it's legitimate, and insurance companies do pay. Yes, a user fee, for the fire department coming out and putting out the fire, this on top of taxes already collected. How about we look at doing that as well - it will give you something more to complain and "blog" about!

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 7:25pm.

I understand!
I sent my check in today to the defense department for some added ammunition for the guys in Iraq.

All arrests by the police department within a block of my home, require that I forward $20 to police headquarters for the service.

Also, every time EMS picks up someone wounded on the highway (they go free, drunk or not), I must send $5 for that to EMS. (same with employees). ( doesn't auto accident insurance pay for those?) Bill them and see.

So, those who use services should pay, huh?
Well, some of us have a very large rebate coming for not burning down our house, getting arrested, or using a helicopter!

Between 30 and 40% of our "working" and unemployed people have no insurance and are unable to pay for EMS service,

but I will send in $5 for each one if you will forward the bills to me!

Submitted by TJinGA on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 2:37pm.

My argument isn't whether the citizens should be billed for using the services ... but ALL that use the services should be billed fairly and equitably. I take issue with the "city official" that was quoted as saying this amounted to only a 16% increase. That's some crazy math!!
City employees are paid for doing their job just as I am for doing mine. Elected officials chose to serve and represent the citizens of this city. What entitles them and their families to be exempt from paying for the same services? If this is the "norm" in other locales, maybe someone should speak out about it there as well.

Submitted by jackyldo on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 5:25am.

on how much of my tax money is spent on EMS and I'd like that removed from my TAX BILL !

This is another scam on privatizing government services. Everything is for profit.

Also exempting themselves and their families ? Sound like Congress.

shadowalker's picture
Submitted by shadowalker on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 1:29pm.

I must agree what is the tax dollars that i pay, which are tagged
to go to the fire dept used for 10.00 dollars a mile

what the heck call ups i will get picked up faster and at 1/3rd the cost even at my weight.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 7:45am.

Part of fire department? Cops, maybe?
Who pays them?

Submitted by TJinGA on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 10:10pm.

Who, besides me, finds this outrageous? John, I believe you may want to recalculate the percentages of increase... treating without transport from $0 to $125, prepare for transport from $0 to $200 don't calculate to a 16% increase. $300 to $475 = 58% increase, $300 to $650 = 116.67%, mileage increase doubles??

The idea that our council would implement these increases while exempting themselves, their families along with all city employees is outrageous. You know they go home with a paycheck at the end of the day just like I do. If I have to pay, why shouldn't they?

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 8:57am.

The people who use EMS services will pay their way. This way they won't have to raise my taxes to pay for the fat guys having heart attacks on the golf course.

XvolunteerFF's picture
Submitted by XvolunteerFF on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 10:42pm.

Didn't the Newnan City government get in trouble for giving themselves free utility services? How is this different?

Talk about equal protection under the law, not.

I have no problem with higher fees, those that use more should pay more, but that should apply to EVERYONE.

For a former military officer, Logston sure doesn't lead by example.

Submitted by sageadvice on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 4:54pm.

I thought the 911 calls for help were already paid for by taxes. Guess some aren't!
I can make no sense really out of just what one might get charged. Is it just for the helicopter and who owns the helicopter?
A republican way to increase taxes!
Of course city employees, officials, and families pay nothing.
I added up a complicated trip (needed a shot for shock, rode to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, and I wasn't a city employee, elected, or their family.
It could be $1300,00!
This is, of course the current system that hospitals use----a million items on a computer print out at exorbitant prices for each! (Aspirin - $12.00, a bandage, $150,00).
Why don't we just let taxes pay for all this stuff everywhere and we then contribute a 20% sales tax to pay for it? On top of the 30% Fair Tax?
Or we could ignore some people who wouldn't pay, or write them off, or just let more of them suffer and die.
If the Mayor gets sick, he will get a helicopter trip to Chattanooga if he pleases, for free. If maybe I get sick and don't have insurance, they will give me two $12.00 aspirins and tell me to get someone to take me to Grady.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 5:01pm.

check with Dr. Denise first. Evil
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 7:29am.

If I read the new republican tax correctly, the thing to do if you need to be transported to a hospital is to quickly drink a six pack or a bottle of wine, get into your car and crash it into the nearest wall, then crawl out onto the road for a "free" EMS ride to the hospital!
Who thinks up this stuff???

What are the 40% making 25,000 dollars per year to do?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.