Private ambulance rates increased between 67% and 110% as county commissioners approved an adjustment Oct. 18. The commission had approved the former rates in March 2004. Some rates were increased in June 2006, while others remained unchanged over 18 years.
Under the resolution, sponsored by Sen. René García, the basic life support rate in which ambulances are staffed by emergency medical technicians that transport patients who require basic medical monitoring would increase from $256 to $550 (114.8%). These services encompass patients such as those with fractures and discharges to home.
The emergency basic life support base rate is to increase from $358.67 to $600 (67.3%) while the advanced life support base rates are increasing from $380 to $800 (110.53%) and $862.53.
The advanced life support ambulances carry a paramedic and an emergency medical technician and are equipped with airway support equipment, cardiac life support, cardiac monitors, a glucose-testing device and medications. These usually carry patients on a cardiac monitor, on a chronic ventilator, with continuous IV medicine, or moving to a higher level of care.
The specialty care transport, the interfacility transportation of a critically injured or ill beneficiary patient, is to have a new rate of $988.38; the mileage rate, the second component in calculating ambulance fee schedules, is to increase 44.7% from $7.50 to $10.85; and the oxygen per tank or fraction thereof is to increase from $30 to $32.55.
Rates for waiting times are to increase as well. The basic life support per half hour is increasing from $80 to $110 and the advanced life support per half hour is increasing from $120 to $150.
The increased rates remain below those adopted in 2012 for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, which range from $800 for basic life support transport to $900 for advanced life support and specialty care transport. The department’s mileage rate is $15 and oxygen per tank or fraction is $30.
“The proposed rate increases will have little impact on individual consumers because ambulance transports are typically paid by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance,” wrote county Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morales in a memorandum. “Uninsured patients account for less than 5% of the total patients being transported annually.”
As Miami Today reported in May, in Broward County the Emergency Medical Services transportation rates for 2022 for basic life support range from $510 to $1,111.72, depending on the agency that provides the transportation service. The advance life support rates range from $530 to $1,111.72 and the mileage rate can be as low as $9 and as high as $20.52 per mile.