Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Snoqualmie to receive reimbursement for EMS services

The Snoqualmie City Council approved an ordinance on Feb. 8 to partner with the state to receive reimbursement for expenses from providing emergency medical transportation services.

The Snoqualmie Fire Department takes at least 25 people to hospitals each year, and each trip costs an estimated $9,768, according to council documents. The Washington Healthcare Authority pays for $115 of this cost per trip, but a 2016 bill allowed for additional state funding to help cover these costs for Medicaid patients emergency transportation.

The city council on Feb. 8 unanimously approved an ordinance that would enroll the city into the additional reimbursement program, known as ground emergency medical transport. It will allow the city to bill the state for the remaining $9,653 per trip, generating at least $241,325 each year in emergency medical transport funds, city documents state.

“That will be a welcome source of revenue,” Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said at the meeting.

A separate proposed ordinance deals with emergency medical system basic life support transportation. The city is looking at increasing the rates to keep up with higher costs. The rate has not been raised since it was adopted in 2013.

Rates for this specific type of transport service is currently $700 for a base fee, plus $15 for each mile of transport. City staff recommended increasing the transport fee to $1,220.83 for a base charge, and $20 per mile. The reasoning for this was that the cost of providing this service has increased since 2013.

However, people needing these ambulance services wouldn’t see an increase in their hospital bills. The city’s policy is to accept whatever a resident’s healthcare insurance pays as payment-in-full for emergency medical transportation. The balance of the bill is paid for through levy funding.

This ordinance was sent back to committee unanimously.

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