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Proposed increase in ambulance rates moving to the assembly

 


The Public Safety Advisory Board is forwarding a proposed increase in ambulance rates to the Borough Assembly.

The proposed increases range in cost from just over $300 to $827, depending on the level of service needed.

The most emergent, Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level 2, would be the highest as the most care is needed.

“We currently are $300 flat rate. It doesn’t matter what type of call it is,” said Sandy Dixson, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Director, during Wednesday’s meeting.

Any adjustments would reflect Medicare rates, she added. Proposed rates were also compared to other communities, such as Wrangell and Sitka. Sitka’s were a bit higher across the board, while Wrangell’s ALS non-emergent costs were noticeably higher at $650 compared to Petersburg’s proposed $361.

“We’ve been undercharging for the most part,” Dixon said.

The last time Petersburg’s rate was raised was in 2002, when it went from $100 to $300 to cover basic supplies, equipment, maintenance and training costs associated with an EMS response.

“Most of the time they’ll (the rates) stay consistent,” she noted.

The mileage proposal of $7.40 per mile would be patient-loaded only, meaning the patient would only be charged when he or she is in the ambulance.

Dixon said 70 percent of calls only consist of about two miles.

Board member Sally Dwyer said her family has personally used the ambulance service twice.

“I don’t care what it would’ve cost,” she said. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful service.”

But, she added, when contemplating rates, factors such as equipment and training need to be taken into consideration despite the fact the first responders are volunteers.

The recommendation was approved by the board and will be presented at the next assembly meeting.

 

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