Houston Fire Department leaders on Tuesday proposed a sharp hike in ambulance fees, floating several new charges they hope will prevent repeat callers from using the city’s emergency medical services as a convenience.
Ambulance transport fees would rise 70 percent, to $1,876; the accompanying $14.36-per-mile fee would not change. Aside from annual adjustments for inflation, it would be the first increase in the fees in six years.
“In essence, the taxpayers of the city of Houston are subsidizing every medical transport call,” Fire Chief Sam Peña told a City Council committee Tuesday. “We are not recouping what we incur to deliver that service.” Houston also would levy new fees in cases when paramedics respond — at an estimated cost of $1,400 per trip, $1,800 if transport to a hospital is required — but the city currently recovers none of the cost of sending them.