Charleston County council considers increase EMS service charges
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County Council members will hear public comment on a request to increase charges for using emergency response services to try to keep up with the costs of providing help.
Emergency Medical Services department head David Abrams recommended and requested each increase at the finance committee in a detailed report.
In the report, Abrams said the price hikes are necessary to keep up with rising costs. The report cites that the cost of operating EMS continues to increase. It says the current fees were last updated in 2009, while Medicare rates are adjusted annually. In their request to raise the rates, staff also considered the EMS service charges of neighboring counties.
A breakdown of the costs shows that each service would go up several hundred dollars, with more expert care costs rising the most.
|Type of Service||Current Cost||Proposed Cost|
|Basic Life Support Emergency||$375||$477|
|Advanced Life Support Level 1 Emergency||$425||$725|
|Advanced Life Support Level 2 Emergency||$550||$1,285|
|Cost Per Mile (Urban)||$8.50||$10.25|
|Cost Per Mile (Rural)||$10.25||$10.25|
There is no change to the rural cost per mile for ambulance transportation. There is also a proposed cost for calling paramedics who provide treatment on the scene. The ‘No Transport but Advance Life Support administered’ proposed cost is $85.
The proposed costs are similar to the current costs in Berkeley County. There, Basic Life Support Emergency cost is $447. Advanced Life Support Level 1 Emergency is $476.16. Advanced Life Support Level 2 Emergency is $689.17. In Berkeley County, the cost per mile, no matter where the service area is, stands at $7.
The proposal would also authorize the County Administrator to create procedures for annual updates and hardship claims.
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