Montgomery City Council approves charging for city ambulance rides
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery City Council has voted unanimously to attempt to put a billing system in place for people who ride in a city ambulance.
In the past three months, city paramedics have picked up over 500 people for free, according to City Council President Charles Jinright.
Montgomery Fire/Rescue is deploying its crews to pick up the slack of private ambulance companies whose vehicles get delayed.
[READ MORE: Alabama Hospital Association addresses increases in ambulance response times]
“I’ve heard of one situation where a person died because they couldn’t get an ambulance,” Jinright said.
Haynes Ambulance operates in Montgomery and said staff shortages both within ambulance companies and in hospital emergency rooms are behind the delays.
To help meet demand, the Montgomery Fire Chief Miford Jordan said he wants to expand the city’s paramedics program, but he previously could not because the city did not have a billing system.
“We are licensed to transport, but we’re not approved by the council and the mayor to recoup the cost,” said Jordan.
Charging patients would generate enough money to offset the cost of ambulances and paramedics, according to Jinright. This would make it possible for the fire department to expand its medical services in an aim to prevent future delays.
Now that the ordinance is approved, the fire department can start looking at vendors to run the billing system.
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