Oak Park considers ambulance fee hike - FOX 32 News Chicago

Oak Park considers ambulance fee hike

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Village officials in Oak Park are considering hiking ambulance fees by $100 across the board.

Oak Park Fire Chief Thomas Ebsen said Tuesday the increases are warranted, as personnel costs and the sticker prices for new ambulances continue to rise. A West Central Municipal Conference survey ranked Oak Park's ambulance fees near the bottom on 12 area municipalities.

The village's fees were established in 2009. For residents, those fees are $400 for basic life support services, such as bandaging and oxygen, and $700 for advanced life support services, such as electrocardiograms, intravenous lines and intubation.

Fees for non-residents are $600 for basic life support and $900 for advanced life support.

Under a proposal presented at Tuesday night's Village Board meeting, all four ambulance fees would increase by $100. The issue will be back before trustees Sept. 18.

"We went to this system after having cafeteria-style billing, where we had 30 different fees for services," Ebsen said. "There were a lot of problems with that system with insurance companies, and Medicaid and Medicare wouldn't pay with that type of billing."

Along with the municipal conference survey, a recent city of Naperville study put Oak Park right in the middle – the 50th percentile – for ambulance fees among 128 area municipalities. Ebsen noted the fee increases only put the village in that survey's 66th percentile.

Ebsen noted current ambulance fees are based on 2005 village personnel salaries and 2009 ambulance costs.

"Our personnel costs have gone up 20 percent," Ebsen said. "Three years ago, the ambulance we bought was $144,000. The new one we will receive in February is $165,000.

"The new requirements are exhaust conscience and mean extra equipment. The bigger cab and chassis required increased the cost 20 percent.

"Costs go up to provide services to citizens."

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