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SHEPHERDSVILLE – If you call an ambulance in Bullitt County in the future and then decide you don’t want to be transported to the hospital, it might cost you a few dollars.
With over 30 percent of the patients seen by the Bullitt County Emergency Medical Service not needing transport, it is eating up a lot of the financial resources, not to mention manpower and vehicle usage.
Under a proposal under consideration by Bullitt Fiscal Court, the free service might have a fee attached in the future.
EMS director Mike Phillips said many people use the local services as their emergency room care.
Magistrate David Walker has been asking for years to look at some type of fee.
“We’re spending time, fuel, supplies and getting nothing for it,” said Walker. “They’re using us as a substitute for going to the hospital or the doctor.”
Walker said Bullitt County government is not in the business of providing free medical care for its people. With the tight economy and rising costs, Walker is looking for something to help offset some of the costs.
Phillips is not looking to propose a major fee. He said a flat fee of $75 might be something fiscal court members could agree upon.
In Washington County, the non-transport fee is $100, while Hardin County charges $85.
He would like to see the new fee go into effect by Jan. 1.
In the past, a coding issue in the billing system prevented the non-transport fee from being imposed. Phillips said there is now a way to levy the fee.
In addition to the non-transport fee, Phillips is seeking some type of rate increase for the medical services provided. Fees have not been increased since 2000.
In doing a study throughout the region, Phillips said the prices charged in Bullitt County are the lowest by far.
He’s not looking for a major increase and Phillips said that proposal would take a little more time to prepare. He knows there must be reasoning for any rate increase.
In both situations, Phillips said those using the services should carry the burden of paying for the services.
In the current fiscal year, the EMS budget is over $3.1 million, with nearly half being transferred in from the general fund. The EMS service generates over $1.6 million.
The fiscal court members could consider the medical fees at their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 9:30 a.m. in the courthouse. The public is invited to attend.