News Release - March 9, 2006
AMBULANCE FEE GUIDELINES CHANGING
Saskatchewan is giving regional health authorities more flexibility in setting ambulance fees, by establishing new higher maximum allowable rates, effective July 1st. It is the first time in more than four years that the fee guidelines have been revised.
"These guidelines reflect changing economic realities such as higher operating and capital costs, and the need to make sure our ambulances and equipment are as safe and up to date as possible," Health Minister Len Taylor said. "Another important consideration is rising labour costs."
The guidelines allow Regional Health Authorities to consider an increase of approximately ten percent in the maximum fees allowable. Ambulance services in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw will be subject to a maximum basic charge of $300 (up from $275). A maximum charge of $220 per call (previously $200) may apply to all other areas of the province. The maximum kilometre charge, which is over and above the basic charge, could rise from $2 per kilometre to $2.20 across the province.
Fees currently being paid by seniors will not change, because the province will assume the additional costs. Under the Senior Citizens' Ambulance Assistance Program, seniors pay a maximum fee of $250.
Saskatchewan Health provides funding to health regions to subsidize a portion of the cost of road ambulance services. Saskatchewan has increased its subsidization of ambulance service considerably over time. The balance of costs are covered by patient fees.
Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association President Dave Dutchak supported the change. "We are pleased that government recognizes the challenges faced by our members, and is giving RHAs the flexibility to ensure that ambulance services remain viable," he said. "We look forward to working further with government and health regions on long-term initiatives that will ensure quality emergency medical services for Saskatchewan people."
In addition to assistance for seniors, there are programs to reduce or eliminate costs to other individuals. The Supplementary Health Benefits program provides coverage for residents who qualify, and the Family Health Benefits Program covers children requiring emergency transport.
For More Information, Contact: