By KAROLYN GEPHART
The City of Friendswood and its residents are gearing up for a change in the cost of EMS services provided by Friendswood Volunteer Fire Department. Beginning in mid-January, residents will be paying for EMS services.
The billing services will be handled by Emergicon Emergency Medical Consultants and FVFD firefighting services will continue to be provided at no added costs beyond their annual budget.
All EMS bills will be determined upon the level of medical services provided and supplies used.
At the Dec. 5 meeting of City Council, the charge rates for the EMS services were considered for approval.
Fees were established in the following amounts: Advanced Life Support (ALS) Transport $1,100; Advanced Life Support (ALS)-2 Transport $1,300; Basic Life Support (BLS) Transport $1,000; Advanced Life Support (ALS) Disposables (Flat Rate) $400; Basic Life Support (BLS) Disposables (Flat Rate) $200; Oxygen $125; Specialty Care Transport (SCT) $1,663; Treat No Transport (TNT) $250; and Ground Mileage $15 per mile.
The change from free services for EMS to billing came about for several reasons: the balance between EMS volunteers and paid staff shifted more toward paid staffing levels, calls for EMS services increased and operating costs have grown. This made funding though mainly property taxes an unsustainable situation.
The EMS billing system will not replace the need for the $6 donations to FVFD. The $6 donations provide partial support for FVFD firefighting and EMS to purchase new fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency equipment, not EMS operations.
Any resident who wants to find out more information about the new billing, EMS Services or billing can attend a special informational meeting Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at Kenneth Camp Fire Station Training Room at 1610 Whitaker Drive in Friendswood.
Officials from the FVFD Emergency Medical Services and the City Fire Marshal’s Office along with Emergicon Emergency Medical Consultants who will handle billing for the EMS will be attending the meeting to answer questions and share information.
For more information about the meeting, contact the City of Friendswood Fire Marshal’s Office at 281-996-3335.