Ambulance rate hike approved by board

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 11, 2012

City and county residents will be paying more for using the Vicksburg Fire Department’s ambulance service.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday approved a series of rate increases for the ambulance service ranging from a $25 hike for basic non-emergency service to $150 for its top advanced life support service. The board also raised the mileage fee from $10 to $13 per mile.

Mayor Paul Winfield said the increases cover the direct costs of providing services to the patients, adding that most of the costs are covered by private insurance or Medicare. He said the increases are expected to take effect immediately.

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“This is the first rate increase in 10 years,” he said.

Sandy Sugars, billing clerk for Health Care Consultants of Vicksburg, which handles the ambulance service billing, said the average ambulance fee for service is $450, adding, “most of our patients are Medicare folks. They have private insurance.”

The rate increases include:

• Mileage increased from $10 per mile to $13 per mile.

• Basic life support, non-emergency, such as transporting patients from River Region Medical Center to a nursing home or another hospital, from $225 to $250.

• Basic life support, emergency, an emergency call where an emergency medical technician provides care to a patient, from $325 to $400.

• Advanced life support, non-emergency, transporting a patient when a paramedic is needed, $300.

• Advanced life support emergency, a call were a paramedic is needed and equipment like oxygen, intravenous fluids and other supplies are used, from $375 to $475.

• Advanced life support II, a major ambulance run, such as a heart attack, where full equipment and supplies are used, from $525 to $675.