BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Taking an ambulance is going to get more expensive after the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved increased rates for ambulance pickups.
How much you pay depends on your insurance, but the increase came at the request of the county’s two ambulance service providers Hall Ambulance and Liberty Ambulance.
With the change, Hall will increase its baseline rates for Basic Life Support by $497.63 more bringing costs to $2,912.12 and Liberty increased by $748.70 more bringing costs to more than $3,698.70. According to Kern County Public Health’s Jeff Fariss, the decision was crucial.
“It’s vital that these things occur you know we’re seeing nationwide ambulance providers shut their doors because they cannot meet the demand and be able to sustain financially their business,” Fariss said.
However, according to Fariss, the providers won’t see much of the increase after it goes into effect.
“Ambulance providers only receive approximately 20% of what they invoice out so 80% of that cost the ambulance provider never sees […] and you see that in every aspect of health care,” Fariss said.
Farris shared that this is because of Kern County’s payer mix which determines how much providers receive. Yet, the increase is another step to each company’s path toward post-pandemic recovery and dealing with inflation.
However, even with the increase, Fariss doesn’t think the change will discourage residents to continue to call for an ambulance.
“If someone truly needs, has an emergency, and needs an ambulance they will call 911 […] I don’t think the cost of the invoice will affect if they call 911 or not,” said Fariss.
After approval by the Board Tuesday, each of the rate adjustments for both of the ambulance providers became effective Wednesday, April 26.