Madison County commissioners approved a rate increase for county ambulance services Friday, a move that will bring the cost per ambulance ride in line with surrounding northeast Georgia counties.
The move followed a lengthy meeting with county EMS director Jason Lewis, who offered commissioners a crash course in the complex web of medical billing for ambulance services, which includes cash payments from uninsured patients, reimbursements from private insurance companies and payments from Medicaid and Medicare, which offer a set “allowable” rate.
Lewis explained that ambulance service falls into three categories: basic life support (BLS), ALS emergency level 1 and ALS emergency level 2. The ALS 2 designation includes more advanced medical services, such as defibrillation, intubation and chest decompressions.
The county commissioners didn’t address BLS or ALS 1 rates, which are $350 and $450 respectively. However, they increased the ALS 2 rate from $500 to $660, which is roughly the northeast Georgia average. Likewise, they increased the per/mile ambulance fee from $9 to $10.75, the average rate in northeast Georgia.
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