Ambulance charges have increased by just under 3%, although town officials emphasized that people should not hesitate to call for an ambulance because of the costs — there are many ways people can get help with fees.
“We don’t want anyone to not call that ambulance because they’re afraid they can’t afford it,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.
“If you’re a senior, and you dial 911, the whole cost is covered by Medicare,” said Selectman Andy Bodner.
“Frequently, they never even see a bill,” said Fire Chief Heather Burford.
Ambulance services are also covered by most private insurance plans.
The discussion took place at a January meeting where the Board of Selectmen approved 2.9% and 2.7% increases in the rates charges for various ambulance services, mirroring State of Connecticut approved rate hikes.
The bottom rate for an ambulance ride, requiring only “basic life support” services, went from $547 in 2012 to $563 in 2013.
An ambulance with “advanced life support level 1” went from $868 to $893.
With “advanced life support level 2,” the cost of an ambulance $896 to $922.
An ambulance with “paramedic intercept” services went from $617 to $635.
Other charges — from a $13.72 “per miles charge” — to $1,227 for “specialty care transport” — are all up from 2.7% to 2.9% from 2012 rates.
Most of the Fire Department’s work these days involves emergency medical services or EMS duties. EMS calls made up 65% of the department’s calls — 2,192 of 3,349 calls — in calendar year 2012, according to statistics provided by Chief Burford.
The department had $735,000 in ambulance service revenue for 2012, helping to defray EMS expenses within the Fire Department’s more than $3 million budget.