Ambulance fees in Sedgwick County will increase Oct. 1 for the first time since 2003.
Commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday to raise fees for services provided by EMS crews. The increase will affect about 35 percent of users.
The increase will not affect the 65 percent of patients who have Medicare, Medicaid or Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield patients won't be affected because the county has a negotiated contract with the insurance company.
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Under the fee schedule approved Wednesday, non-emergency ambulance trips, say from a nursing home to another facility, will rise from $250 to $350 or $350 to $450 depending on the level of care.
Emergency responses will rise from $500 to $600 or $600 to $650, depending on the level of care.
Rides for some critical care patients will increase from $600 to $700.
The mileage fee also will increase from $7 to $10.
County staff has estimated the higher fees will bring in more than $648,000.
Commissioners Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau voted against the increases.
Ranzau said he could not support increasing fees for emergency responses when the county is spending money on what he termed "corporate welfare."
If the county can afford to give private businesses subsidies, he said, it can afford to keep the price of ambulance rides steady.
Peterjohn and Ranzau tried to defer a vote on the fees to give EMS time to find dollars elsewhere, but they were outvoted.