NCFPD adjusts ambulance fees


Last updated 11/11/2021 at 5:09pm

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The North County Fire Protection District has adjusted the fees charged for NCFPD ambulance calls.

A 4-0 vote at the Oct. 26 NCFPD board meeting, with David Kennedy absent, approved the new ambulance fee schedule.

"That will bring our ambulance fees up to a regional average," said NCFPD Fire Chief Keith McReynolds.

In September 2016, the NCFPD board adopted a policy which provides an automatic annual rate increase for ambulance service based on the annual Consumer Price Index for San Diego County. The adjustments are applied annually on July 1, and the district continues to conduct periodic reviews of the regional average fees 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 California Health and Safety Code allows a special district to charge a fee to cover the cost of any service the district provides, and the California Vehicle Code allows fire agencies to recover costs related to responses for incidents on a public highway. In 2009, the NCFPD implemented a cost recovery program for vehicle incidents and, in August 2020, the NCFPD board expanded the cost recovery program to add false alarms. A revised cost recovery fee schedule was approved by the board in October 2020.

The 2020 review included ambulance fees, and the board changed the regional average from fire-based agencies only to all transporting emergency medical service providers. "They wanted the increase to be two different installments," McReynolds said.

Two-thirds of the increase became effective in November 2020, and the October 2021 board meeting addressed the final third. "This was just simply a formal resolution to implement that second part of it," McReynolds said.

The new transport fees for NCFPD residents will be $1,464 for basic life support, $2,267 for base advanced life support, and $2,461 for Level 2 advanced life support transport. Non-residents will be charged $1,512 for basic life support transport, $2,327 for base ALS transport, and $2,519 for Level 2 ALS transport. A mileage charge of $38.88 per mile or fraction thereof 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) are all for advanced life support service and are $211 for a resident and $232 for a non-resident. If cardiopulmonary resuscitation is involved, the fees increase to $814 for a resident and $840 for a non-resident. The non-transport Level 2 trauma fees are now $643 for residents and $717 for non-residents.

The fees also include $127 for a Level 1 disposables bundle, $244 for a Level 2 disposables bundle, $102 for oxygen, and $367 for an electrocardiogram. A night charge of $61 is also part of the fee structure.

The district also has a Continued Quality Improvement Fee which is for the administrative time associated with processing electronic patient care reports. That fee was increased to $130.


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