Augusta, Ga (WJBF) – Gold Cross EMS telling city leaders times are tough, citing rising insurance costs fuel costs and staffing costs they need to charge somebody more to take them for a ride.
The costs of Ambulance rides are going up across the state and Gold Cross wants to amend its agreement with Augusta so its costs can increase here as well.
“The costs to do business have gone up everywhere and when you see their numbers, they gave us different areas fuel costs employee costs insurance you see why the need for the rate increase,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.
Gold Cross requests is to go up $600 dollars on its transport fee, and to increase mileage charges, to be on par with other Georgia cities.
But the company says the plan is to only bill insurance companies the new rate not those paying out of pocket.
“Basically, the way we are proposing it as the customers patients will never see an increase in the current amount, we’ll discount them back to what the current MOU is charging,” said Steven Vincent, Gold Cross Vice President at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
“Do you buy that if we give somebody a ride, they’ll get a discount they’ll pay the regular fee?”
“You got to believe they will do It,” said Commissioner Frantom.
A commission subcommittee has been working for months on recommendations to improve ambulance service, wanting to see things like more ambulances during peak hours a tracking system for calls and a quality control person to monitor complaints on response times.
But some commissioners saying until there’s greater accountability from Gold Cross, they’ll not support any increase in especially since the city is paying a subsidy.
“We should be involved If we’re paying them, we should have some knowledge of what’s being done and some involvement in the management,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
And while Gold Cross is looking for an increase in its transport fee it has a larger request it has made to city government it wants to see its subsidy from the city go from 650 thousand dollars to $1.3 million.