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Houston Fire Department Wants To Charge More For Ambulance Services

Fire Chief Sam Peña says the hike is targeted at Medicaid, Medicare and insurance companies

HFD Chief Samuel Peña talks about the proposed ambulance fee increases during a press conference at HFD headquarters downtown on Friday, July 13, 2018.

If the Houston City Council signs off, the fee for ambulance rides will go up 70 percent to $1,876.

In addition, Chief Samuel Peña wants to charge $175 for calls that don’t require transportation.

He said expenses have gone up since 2012, the last time the city raised fees. Plus, many repeat calls come from nursing homes or assisted living facilities for non-emergencies.

“The insurance company, we’re hoping, will be alerted that, hey, we keep getting these bills for this person that keeps falling off the bed,” Peña said. “We need to look into what’s going on in this facility.”

The rate increase will mostly affect Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, Peña said. One third of patients in need of emergency medical services are uninsured, but the chief said just over one percent of them pay anyway.

The plan is to present the proposal to the City Council for a vote within the next month.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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