About the Author
Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
Most Popular Stories
Discover News By District
EMS studying subscription services
When there is a medical emergency, it is good to know that
City officials are now looking into a plan that could help cut the cost of a 911 call down to a small amount and perhaps even nothing. It is called Subscription EMS, a program that has caught on in many other states, including
The basis of the program is that a customer can pay a subscription fee (most programs claim that it is not insurance) that will guarantee that
John Ralston, assistant director of administration and finance for ATCEMS, briefed the Public Safety Task Force Monday on what the city is considering as a way to improve the cash flow of the
Under the subscription plan, “When a client pays a fee, if they need an ambulance and a fee is generated,
Ralston used the example of the
“There is a 1 to 2 percent utilization rate in their program,” he said. “The means the program keeps almost all of the money.”
Ralston said his research showed a common annual fee of between $35 and $60 to subscribe to the program. He said there are several pros and cons to the program.
“Of course, it’s part of a new revenue stream for the department,” Ralston said. “It can also be a big help for people on a fixed income. There are some potential problems though with service expectations. Some people may feel the subscription entitles them to call
Task force members had several questions: Does the fee cover an entire family or just the individual? Can you exclude habitual
Ralston said ATCEMS currently collects about 50 percent of the
“Our current policy is to collect beyond what a client’s private insurance will pay,” he said. “We are not allowed to collect on Medicare or Medicaid accounts,” beyond what the federal government pays.
Ralston promised to have answers to the task force members’ question and a more developed plan by the group’s July meeting.
Join Your Friends and Neighbors
We're a nonprofit news organization, and we put our service to you above all else. That will never change. But public-service journalism requires community support from readers like you. Will you join your friends and neighbors to support our work and mission?