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Rescue fees to increase March 30

The town will increase the rates it charges for emergency rescue services, the first increase since 2009.

The Town Council on March 9, 2015 approved the increase effective March 30. Charges for a basic life support emergency transport will rise from $400 to $600, and a flat $900 will be charged for all advanced life support transports. Current charges for advanced life support transports are $500 or $600, depending on the level of service required.

The costs of IV drug administration, oxygen, cardiac monitor and other services, previously charged separately, will be included in the new charges.

Fire Chief Peter Gleeson told members of the Town Council that the flat-rate billing system was recommended by the company that manages rescue billing. "Currently we bill for the transport, mileage and for the services provided during the transport," Gleeson said in a memo. "The flat rate would make it easier to project revenue ... under our current billing method we would have to review each call to see what services we provided," he said.

Approved Rescue Fees Effective March 30, 2015
  Current Last Changed Fee Effective
March 30
Calls Estimated Revenue
Rescue Fees
Basic Life Support Transport
$ 400.00 5/1/2009 $  600.00 350 $ 210,000.00
Advanced Life Support Transport $ 500.00 5/1/2009 $  900.00 250 $ 225,000.00
ALS 2 Transport $ 700.00 5/1/2009 $  900.00    
IV Drug Administration $ 100.00 5/1/2009 Included    
Oxygen $   50.00 5/1/2009 Included    
Cardiac Monitor $ 100.00 5/1/2009 Included    
Defib $ 100.00 5/1/2009 Included    
Endotracheal Tube $ 100.00 5/1/2009 Included    
Mileage Per Loaded  Mile $   10.00 5/1/2009 $14.00 7 $ 73,500.00

Gleeson projects a revenue for next year of $468,000 under the new fee schedule. At a 75 percent collection rate, the expected proceeds of $350,000 will enable to the department to break even, Gleeson said.

The mileage charge will increase from 10 cents to 14 cents.

The $340,177 budgeted for the rescue fund next year is up 24 percent over this year's. Gleeson said the department is looking to increase the number of per-diem staff members available to answer calls during the day. Currently the department relies on approximately six people to handle half of the calls, he said. "We would like to increase that coverage to make sure we do have that (advanced life support) service provider on for 16 hours a day," Gleeson told the council.

Gleeson said the 75-percent collection rate in Cape Elizabeth, where most residents have private insurance, is good compared to some other Maine communities. The department typically does not pursue collection after a third notice. "Our collection rate is really pretty good," Gleeson said.