Oct 26, 2010 7:31 PM by Zach Thaxton
Ambulance rides in Colorado Springs and much of El Paso County will cost more in 2011. El Paso County Commissioners and Colorado Springs City Council on Tuesday approved a request by American Medical Response for a 5.8973% increase in patient charges.
The rate increase, effective January 1, means a ride on an AMR ambulance will cost $673.79, compared to $636.27 in 2010. Costs for mileage and oxygen will increase by the same percentage. Jim Reid, commander of the Emergency Services Division of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and chairman of the El Paso County Emergency Services Agency, says the rate increase is based on the Denver/Boulder Consumer Price Index. "So what we've done is use the cost-of-living index, which is an index that shows where the cost of living has increased for everyone," Reid said.
AMR general manager Ted Sayer says a combination of increased health care costs for his own employees, increased costs for fuel, maintenance, and medical supplies, and the fact that 68 percent of patients never fully pay their bill have combined to drain revenues. "We're not making a lot of money right now," Sayer told El Paso County Commissioners. Sayer estimates the 5.8973% increase in patient charges will result in a 0.9% increase in revenue in 2011.