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NCFPD adjusts ambulance fees

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

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

A 5-0 NCFPD board vote Tuesday, Sept. 26, approved the new ambulance fee schedule. The fees will increase by approximately 7.5%.

“That’s an annual inflator off of San Diego’s CPI,” NCFPD fire Chief Keith McReynolds said. “We can raise fees accordingly.”

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 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 North County Fire Protection District 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. Two-thirds of the increase became effective in November 2020, and the October 2021 board meeting addressed the final third.

The new basic life support transport fees will be $1,464.10 for NCFPD residents and $1,512.17 for non-residents. Advanced life support activity has treatment as well as transport fees. The non-transport treatment fee is $226.83 for residents and $249.40 for non-residents while if cardiopulmonary resuscitation is involved the fees increase to $875.05 for a resident and $903.00 for a non-resident.

The non-transport Level 2 trauma fees are now $691.23 for residents and $770.78 for non-residents. The new transport fees for NCFPD residents will be $2,437.50 for base advanced life support and $2,646.04 for Level 2 advanced life support transport. Non-residents will be charged $2,501.70 for base ALS transport and $2,708.85 for Level 2 ALS transport. A mileage charge of $41.80 per mile or fraction thereof will also be part of the fee.

The fees also include $136.53 for a Level 1 disposables bundle, $262.30 for a Level 2 disposables bundle, $109.65 for oxygen and $39.78 for an electrocardiogram. A night charge of $65.58 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 $139.75.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

 

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