Putnam EMS is raising its rates for the first time since 2015 to keep up with Medicare rate increases.
EMS Chief Tommy Copeland said that the law states a local EMS is not allowed to charge anyone less than what the Medicare rate is.
“And our rates were so low for these things,” Copeland said. “That on a non-emergency trip and on the mileage rate we had to raise those to get above the Medicare Allowable rate.”
Copeland said that rates will increase every year, but that this is the largest increase in recent memory at five percent. He said that the previous rate was about $225 plus mileage for people who use ambulance services. Now, the county will set the rate at $295. Copeland said that industry practice is to charge 150 percent of Medicare Allowable rates. He said that the rate the county will charge is on the conservative side, at only 127 percent.
Copeland said that they decided on a higher rate to account for future rate increases.
“Medicare has raised this rate so we had to go up on our rate some,” Copeland said. “The folks that are on Medicare, they’re still going to get the Medicare allowed rate, it’s just gone up seven or eight dollars compared to what it was previously. So they’ll get the Medicare rate but it’s a little higher now than it was. At the end of the day, they’re not going to pay a great deal more than what they paid previously. We did raise the rate overall so that will probably generate a little more funding for the county as a whole, but now we’ll be compliant January 1 when these rates take effect.”