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Amherst County considers ambulance fee increase

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Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
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"I want to ensure that ambulance shows up when they call 9-1-1," said Sam Bryant, Amherst County Public Safety director.

Amherst County hasn't changed its ambulance fees since 2012.

But at Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting, that could change.

"The equipment and the service cost a lot of money to provide. People are living longer at home," said Bryant. "They're not wanting to stay in nursing homes. Ambulances are non-stop and they're expensive."

The county is looking at raising the level to 150% of the amount authorized by Medicare.

County administrator Dean Rodgers says the adjustment is to meet what other localities are charging.

"The ordinance tonight is to increase those rates to get them more in line with surrounding communities," said Rodgers.

A survey of three localities in the area shows how the adjustment would compare.

In Amherst County, the current fee for emergency basic life support is $425. The adjustment would bring it up to $569.

In Campbell County, that number sits at $534.

In Nelson County, it's even lower at $470.

Bryant says the funds are needed to keep the services going, and to make sure people who need an ambulance are taken care of.

"We have a call volume that's around 5,000 a year for three ambulances, so we're trying to be very fair and equitable with everyone with what we're doing," said Bryant.

Amherst County residents can also subscribe to the county's

program.

For $75 per year, they could get coverage for emergency ambulance transportation.

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