The Bryan County Board of Commissioners approved charging a $75 response fee to patients who refuse ambulance transport.
Bryan County EMS Director Jim Anderson recommended the commission consider charging a $75 response fee to "repeat users who refuse transport." Anderson told commissioners at Tuesday's meeting that EMS responds to about 3,300 calls each year.
"We transported approximately 54 percent of the call outs and 46 percent were not transported; that represents over 1,500 call outs for which no funds were received," he said.
Anderson said some citizens use the county ambulance service as "their emergency room." He suggested the county not charge the fee the first time a patient refuses ambulance transport to a hospital.
"I think you should charge them the first time," said Bryan County Commissioner Toby Roberts.
Commissioner Rick Gardner said some people can’t afford ambulance transport, and will be hard pressed to pay the $75 fee for non-transport.
Gardner suggested the county’s first responders try to direct people who often call EMS but refuse transport to the appropriate social services in order to receive health care.
"It ($75) covers everybody," said Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones. "It doesn’t make sense to have a score sheet. You’re either in or you’re out. If we look at you we charge you."
Jones said a cost in incurred every time EMS is called.
The commission also approved rates beginning Jan. 1 for additional EMS services: $450 for basic life support, $550 for advanced life support 1 and $680 for advanced life support 2.