Houston considers raising ambulance fees

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by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on June 11, 2010 at 12:49 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 11 at 12:52 AM

HOUSTON -- The city of Houston is considering raising ambulance fees as it seeks ways to deal  with a budget crunch.

Last year the city of Houston’s ambulances logged more than 140,000 hospital runs.
   
It costs the city close to $2,000 to take someone to the hospital and most taxpayers are charged about a fifth of that. Now, once again, there's talk about doubling Houston's ambulance fees.

"If we're talking about raising ambulance fees -- and there's serious discussion about raising ambulance fees --- I want to do something about the current problem on the table," said former Houston Police Chief and City Council member C. O. Bradford.

The problem is the hundreds who abuse the system -- sometimes people who don't need ambulances call them anyway and all residents pay when that happens.
   
"The public that, we believe, tends to misuse the system. They've learned the right things to say. So you get somebody that they think just really want to go get out of the rain and get a sandwich, but they call 911 to go to a hospital emergency department," said Dr. David Persse with the city of Houston.

The city council is getting ready to dig deep into the mayor's proposed budget and council members are expected to take action on it in a few weeks.



 

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