Wis. FD proposes ambulance fee increase, including fivefold increase in cost per mile
The South Shore Fire Department is seeking a $100 fee increase for residents and a $150 increase for non-residents, plus a $25 per mile fee
The Journal Times, Racine, Wisc.
MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. — The South Shore Fire Department is proposing an increase in resident and non-resident ambulance service fees for the second time in two years.
Moving forward, South Shore Fire Chief Robert Stedman said the department is looking to review and increase its ambulance service fees every other year, noting approval of both village boards is required to implement changes in the fee structure.
South Shore, whose 66 uniformed personnel serve a 38-square-mile area inclusive of more than 33,500 residents in the villages of Sturtevant and Mount Pleasant, is funded 82% by Mount Pleasant and 18% by Sturtevant.
Village trustees in Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant are in various stages of considering the ambulance fee increase proposal. If approved by both village boards yet this year, the increases are slated to be enacted on Jan. 1.
Proposed increases outlined
Stedman appeared before the Village of Mount Pleasant's Committee of the Whole on Monday to make his case for a slate of proposed ambulance fee increases.
South Shore's current ambulance fee schedule was adopted by the Mount Pleasant Village Board on Nov. 26, 2018, and the Sturtevant Village Board on Jan. 15, 2019. Previously, South Shore's ambulance service fees were last increased in 2009.
Under the proposal outlined Monday by Stedman, South Shore Fire Department emergency medical services ambulance fees for both Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support service would increase $150 for non-residents and $100 for residents, while mileage charges for both would increase from $5 to $25 per mile. Proposed South Shore non-transport ambulance treatment fees would rise $100 for non-residents and $50 for residents.
"If you take in more revenue, then the cost to the taxpayers goes down," Stedman noted. "If you don't increase the fees, it affects the revenues you're gonna take in."
Stedman noted the proposed new ALS and BLS ambulance service fees for South Shore are "just below average" in a comparison of 20 departments including Beloit, Bristol, Delafield, Eagle, East Troy, Green Lake, Janesville, Lake Country, Madison, Menomonie, Milton, Pleasant Prairie, Portage County, Rochester, South Beloit, Sun Prairie, Waukesha, Wauwatosa and Western Lakes.
Meanwhile, South Shore's proposed mileage fee increase to $25/mile runs ahead of the average of $18.60/mile and $18.38/mile for non-resident and resident transport respectively. Mileage rates charged by the other 19 departments range from a low of $14.50/mile billed by Bristol to a high of $25/mile billed by both Green Lake and Waukesha.
Stedman will be bringing the ambulance fee increase proposal to the Mount Pleasant Village Board for discussion and possible action on Monday, Nov. 9.
Sturtevant not excited about increases
Last week, the Sturtevant Village Board voted to send South Shore's ambulance fee increase proposal back to the village's Public Safety and Health and Property and Grounds Committee for further review and discussion. The measure could end up in front of the Village Board next month.
"I'm having huge, huge indigestion with this right now," Sturtevant Village President Jayme Hoffman said of the ambulance fee increase proposal. "We're in the middle of a pandemic, people are losing jobs ... I personally think this is the wrong time to be throwing this out there."
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