Firefighters union head suggests fee for private ambulances

Source: Larry Sandler, Journal Sentinel, October 19, 2011

A Milwaukee firefighters union leader called Wednesday for levying a fee on private ambulance companies to ease planned reductions in fire service….When Milwaukee residents call 911 for medical help, dispatchers decide whether the caller needs a paramedic team or just an ambulance ride to a hospital. About 30,000 times a year, the dispatchers send only a private ambulance. On another 25,000 occasions annually, paramedics show up first, provide aid, then call a private ambulance to take the patient to a hospital. In each case, the ambulance companies then bill the patients.

The last time a dispatch fee was discussed several years ago, Seager said the rate under consideration was $25 a call. That would raise nearly $1.4 million, which Rohlfing said would cover more than half his dispatching costs of $2.4 million a year….

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