Pr. William County set to charge for ambulance trips

Monday - 6/20/2011, 4:09pm EDT

WASHINGTON - Prince William County next month will join the ranks of local jurisdictions that charge for ambulance fees.

Beginning July 1, when a patient is taken to the hospital using the county's emergency medical services, the county will bill the patient's health insurance company for the trip.

Officials say transport services are already included in insurance premium calculations, and any co-payment or deductible remaining after the insurance company has been billed will not be charged to the resident taken to the hospital.

Officials say Medicare will pay 80 percent of the transport charge for its covered patients, and the remaining amount will not be passed on to county residents.

Ambulance fees have proved divisive elsewhere in the region, as opponents contend the fees could increase insurance premiums and make people hesitant to call 911 in an emergency.

Prince William County Fire and Rescue workers transported 16,610 patients to the hospital in fiscal 2010, officials say. The county's fire chief says the initiative will bring in an estimated $3.1 million in revenue each year that will be used to upgrade emergency equipment and provide more training.

Other area jurisdictions that charge emergency transport fees include Arlington County, Fairfax County and Alexandria City in Virginia, Prince George's and Frederick counties in Maryland, and D.C.

In Prince William County, the rates for EMS transport will be:

  • Basic Life Support (BLS) Emergency - $400
  • Advanced Life Support (ALS1) Emergency - $500
  • Advanced Life Support (ALS2) Emergency - $700
  • Mileage (per loaded mile) - $10

For more information, click here.

WTOP's Kathy Stewart contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

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