February 18, 2010
Fees for ambulance rides have been in effect for several weeks, and residents will now have a chance to learn more at a public forum Thursday night.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Monticello High School.
The program was established to recover some money from insurance companies. Albemarle County Fire and Rescue said it has been running smoothly so far. Fire companies involved have been charging ambulance fees for about three weeks.
The stations participating are Monticello, Hollymead and Scottsville.
They haven't seen any funding come in from the insurance companies because they're still in the paperwork stage. People are being charged between $350 and $550 per ride, depending on the level of medical service.
Officials say most insurance providers cover ambulance services.
John O'Prandy, deputy chief of Albemarle Fire and Rescue, said they haven't had any problems so far, and people are willing to pay. He said he thinks this will be a successful program.
"I think it's going to be a very positive program," O'Prandy said. "Right now, the board has really worked hard to try to maintain the tax rate and try to provide services in a difficult economic time. So we feel like this will help with that."
O'Prandy said responders are averaging about 40 ambulance transports a week. Thursday's forum will give the public more information about why the companies are billing.