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Sunnyside hikes rates for city ambulance services

Sun Advocate reporter

Sunnyside residents should expect to pay more for ambulance service after the Sunnyside City Council approved a resolution increasing rates through the next year.

The resolution #R6-2011, which is designed to raise ambulance rates to state approved levels, will be in effect from July 22, 2010 through June 30, 2012. This increase in ambulance service is the second rate hike in the last year as statewide rates were raised back in July 2010.

The Utah Department of Health each year looks at services, including ambulance rates, and sets allowable rates that departments around the state would charge for services.

The increase in rates is not uncommon as ambulance service can be effected by factors including surging fuel prices, training emergency personnel, medicare and medicaid reimbursements falling and more.

Ambulance rates are separated into three different categories including basic, intermediate and paramedic ground ambulance. Over the last year, the basic ground ambulance rate was at $535. For those in the intermediate level the base rate was $707 and those within the paramedic ground ambulance category was at $1,035 per transport.

Beginning last week rates for all three categories will rise, according to the Utah Department of Health. The rates will be increasing as follows:

Basic ground ambulance will rise to $569 from $535

Intermediate ground ambulance will rise to $752 from $707

Paramedic ground ambulance will rise to $1,100 from $1,035

While ambulance rates may be increasing, mileage rates and special provisions including waiting times will not change this year. A charge of $31.65 per mile is charged during transport which is computed from the point of pickup to the point of delivery.

The order also includes the possibility of rising costs of fuel, stating that when diesel prices exceed $5.10 per gallon or gasoline exceeds $4.25 per gallon as invoiced, a surcharge of $0.25 per mile of transport may be added to the mileage rate. Off-road rates have also been affected by the mandate. Where the ambulance is required to travel for 10 or more miles on unpaved roads, a surcharge of $1.50 per mile traveled may be assessed, according to DOH statistics.

A special provisions area of the mandate concerning waiting time says that an ambulance shall provide 15 minutes of time at no extra charge at both the point of pickup and delivery. After that, a charge of $22.05 may be charged per every quarter hour or fraction thereof. On round trips, an ambulance shall provide 30 minutes at no charge from the time the ambulance reaches the point of delivery until starting the return trip. After 30 minutes, the ambulance service may charge $22.05 per quarter hour or fraction thereof thereafter, according to DOH statistics.

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