By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Ambulance fees will go up by $200 for services provided by the Port Isabel EMS department. The fee hike came after the City Commission voted to approve the proposal during a special meeting Monday.
“We have about the lowest rates in the Valley when it comes to EMS. The suggestion is to increase the ALS … from $600 to $800,” said Charlie Wood, emergency medical services director.
Wood assured the Commission the rate increase would not affect patients, but would instead be a cost passed on to private insurance companies.
“How is it going to affect the people that don’t have any insurance?” asked Commissioner Maria de Jesus “M.J.” Garza.
Wood responded that a patient’s ability to pay would not affect their treatment, since the bills are disbursed by a third party. “If we send you a bill and you do not have insurance, we can settle at a lesser charge,” he added.
He then described how Medicaid pays a flat rate for EMS transport, and that the amount of money the City collected over the last year from uninsured patients was negligible. He reiterated that the fee increase would affect payments made by the private insurance companies of insured patients.
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