Resort Authorizes Higher Emergency Service Fees

OCEAN CITY – The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously this week to pass a resolution instating higher ambulance service charges and transport fees.

Finance Administrator Martha Bennett explained Ocean City has not increased ambulance service fees since 2009. The resolution authorizes an increase that will match standard fees charged by various Maryland ambulance services. It also creates a single-rate schedule for both in-town and out-of-town ambulance transports as Medicare and insurance regulations will not pay the additional out-of-town cost.

“This proposal sets our fees as the same rate as all other ambulance carriers in Worcester County, and also allows us to receive the maximum reimbursement allowed by Medicare and insurance companies in Maryland,” Bennett said. “We are only allowed to receive from them the amount that they permit for an ambulance call, and that is typically about 48 percent of the charge, so we were not getting the full amount allowed from Medicare in Maryland because our fee was too low. So we set these fees to allow us to maximize that revenue.”

The new ambulance service charges and transport fees are as follows; Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level I rate of $600, ALS Level II rate of $650, Basic Life Support rate of $425, a Medicaid charge of $100, mileage is increasing from $8 to $15 per mile and a bad check charge of $35.

The rates are increasing by about a third and will result an estimated increase in revenue of about $300,000.

“There is still a large subsidy by the taxpayer for the EMS services of about $5 million, but this does go a little bit further in covering a portion of the charge for EMS service in Ocean City,” Bennett said.