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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

NCFPD increases ambulance fees


Last updated 11/5/2018 at 9:14am

The ambulance fees charged by the North County Fire Protection District for ambulance services will increase by 5.5 percent.

A 5-0 NCFPD board vote Oct. 23 approved the updated fees along with a new administrative Continued Quality Improvement fee which assists in the cost recovery of administrative time associated with ambulance service. The new fees are expected to increase annual NCFPD revenue by $105,000.

"We periodically adjust our ambulance rates," said NCFPD fire chief Steve Abbott. "We are trying to get up to speed with our counterparts."

The new rates place the North County Fire Protection District in the middle of area agencies. The fees for the Carlsbad, Coronado, Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, San Marcos, and Vista fire departments were reviewed and on an average basis the NCFPD fees are 5.72 percent lower than the nine agencies as a group.

In September 2016, the NCFPD board adopted a policy which applied an automatic annual rate increase for ambulance service based on the Annual Consumer Price Index for San Diego County.

The NCFPD board had previously adjusted the district's ambulance fees in July 2015 but prior to that had not changed the fees since July 2010, and the automatic annual increases are expected to reduce the increase percentage of any adjustment.

The adjustments are applied annually on July 1 and the district continues to conduct periodic reviews of the regional average within northern San Diego County to evaluate the effectiveness of the fee structure and determine if a change in fees above or below the automatic adjustments warrants NCFPD board consideration.

The new charges to transport a North County Fire Protection District resident will be $1,055 for basic life support (BLS), $1,266 for base advanced life support (ALS), and $1,287 for Level II ALS. The fees for transporting a non-resident will be $1,224 for BLS, $1,456 for base ALS, and $1,519 for Level II ALS. A mileage charge of $23.21 per loaded mile or fraction will also be part of the fee.

The non-transport treatment fees (including transport to a hospital by means other than a fire district ambulance) all involve ALS service and are $211 for residents and $232 for non-residents. If cardiopulmonary resuscitation is required the fees increase to $601 for residents and $655 for non-residents. The non-transport Level II trauma fees will be $643 for residents and $717 for non-residents.

The fees also include $124 for a Level I disposables bundle, $238 for a Level II disposables bundle, $71 for oxygen, and $35 for an electrocardiogram. A $42 night charge is also part of the fee system, and the ambulance standby rate will be $63.91 per hour.

The initial Continued Quality Improvement fee will be $130. The cost recovery is for the administrative time associated with processing electronic patient care reports.


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