CES fees to rise

Cost, staffing increases mean spendier rides

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Fees charged to patients for ambulance rides and other emergency services in the central Kenai Peninsula are about to go up.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is expected to approve introduction of a measure Tuesday that would establish new rates for basic and advanced life support, and set new mileage rates for trips to the local hospital and medevac services from the hospital to the airport.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 18.

In a memo to the assembly, Central Emergency Services Chief Chris Mokracek, and borough Finance Director Craig Chapman noted fees for ambulances, equipment and emergency medical services were last changed in early 1999.

The Central Emergency Service Area Board unanimously approved the following fee changes at its Feb. 16 meeting:

n Basic life support will go from $250 plus mileage to $500 plus mileage.

n Advanced life support will go from $500 plus mileage to $700 plus mileage.

n The mileage rate for a (one-way) trip to the hospital, currently $4.50 per mile, will rise to $7 per mile.

n The medevac rate (trips from the hospital to the airport) will rise to $500 plus mileage from the current rate of $45 per hour per employee with a four-hour minimum. Assuming two employees, that would be a minimum of $360.

Resolutions passed in 1990 and 1998 established a fee structure for ambulance services, the board said. Since then, the service area has increased staffing levels, expanded services, seen an average 10 percent annual increase in demand, and has seen the cost of medical supplies and equipment rise.

The new fees are needed to maintain the current level of services, the board said. According to Mokracek and Chapman, revenue generated by the new fees would be included in the service area budget for appropriation as partial funding for CES operations.

The CES fee structure covers more than the services proposed for fee changes. The schedule includes fees for medications and supplies, a round-trip fee within the service area, a fee for transport outside the service area, helicopter fees, as well as specific fees for fire engines, tankers, rescue and other services, and hourly rates for working and on-call employees. Those fees would not change under the new fee structure.

The measure is ordinance 2006-10.

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