Calif. city raises ambulance service fee to help close $4M EMS deficit

The basic fee will be $405 and the advanced will be $508, for an estimated additional $1 million in annual revenue

By Rebecca Kheel
The Orange County Register

ORANGE CITY, Calif. — Those in Orange needing an ambulance ride to the hospital soon will pay nearly a couple of hundred dollars more.

The Orange City Council voted 4-1 to raise the fees for paramedic services in an effort to help close the emergency medical services program's $4 million deficit; other city revenue makes up any gap.

"I see this as another way for us to keep current," said Mayor Tita Smith.

When someone is taken to the hospital in an ambulance, a few different fees are charged: transportation, oxygen, mileage and medical supplies. Depending on the level of care needed, there is also a basic life-support fee or an advanced life-support fee.

Before, the city charged $225 for the basic fee and $325 for the advanced fee. City staff recommended raising the fee to $670 for basic and $775 for advanced, raising an estimated additional $1 million annually in revenue.

The council last week decided to go for fees between the current ones and the recommended ones: The basic fee will be $405 and the advanced will be $508, for an estimated additional $400,000 in annual revenue. The new rates take effect July 1.

Councilman Denis Bilodeau voted against raising the fees.

"To jump the fees up this great, that's kind of a hard swallow, obviously," he said.

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