City increases ambulance rates

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

A trip to the hospital in an ambulance will cost more in one Laguna Madre community after the City approved a rate increase.

The Port Isabel City Commission agreed to the rate hike for ambulance services provided by its City-owned emergency medical services (EMS) department during its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

“There are the rates that are charged to private billing companies,” explained Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema.

He said that, after evaluating the ambulance rates charged by EMS departments in comparable towns such as South Padre Island and Los Fresnos, City staff realized Port Isabel’s rates were substantially lower.

“We’re trying to match (rates) and, of course, support our revenues,” Hockema said.

Port Isabel EMS is a self-supporting service, he added. “We need revenues to support this department, if not, the city taxpayers will have to subsidize this department,” Hockema said.

The new rates mean the charge for an ambulance ride billed as “basic life support” will increase from $700 to $1,000. Advance life support services increase from $800 to $1,100. The administration of oxygen and the use of disposable equipment will cost $130 and $375, respectively, while a patient who refuses transport will be billed $100, Hockema explained.

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