The May issue of the Granby Drummer published a letter about the Granby Ambulance Association (GAA) and charges for service. The author suggested that GAA has been less than transparent regarding our fee structure and reasons for assessing charges. We would like to take a few moments to clear up any confusion.
The letter focused on an incident where GAA responded to a call and offered assistance, but the patient declined transportation to the hospital. In June 2021, the State of Connecticut’s Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) allowed for agencies to charge for treatment rendered when transportation is declined in certain situations. These rates, as is the case for all EMS agencies, are set by the State. The charge for basic treatment and non-transport is set at $228, and advanced treatment and non-transport is set at $360. GAA has no control over these fees.
Unfortunately, implementing charges like these is necessary to help cover the rising costs of providing emergency medical care to the towns of East Granby, East Hartland and Granby. One common misconception about GAA is that the organization is wholly funded by the towns it serves and therefore has no reason to assess charges for service rendered. This is only partially true.
The author also expressed frustration that GAA had not contracted with his insurance carrier to enable in-network coverage. At present, not all insurance carriers cover non-transport calls, as opposed to emergency treatment with transport to an Emergency Department, a service all carriers cover.
The other issue regarding insurance is that in-network reimbursement rates cover only about 25-30 percent of the actual cost of the service we provide. Medicare and Medicaid unfortunately offer a similar reimbursement rate. GAA, as well as many local non-profit EMS agencies, simply cannot afford to enter into this type of network contract with insurance providers, as the rates are insufficient to cover the cost of service.
Thanks to rising costs, the need to provide fair and equitable wages to our paid medical professionals, accompanied by the lack of support from insurance and some municipalities, we are reliant on patient fees and even donations to cover operational expenses. The State fee schedule we follow is vital to help cover our cost base and to ensure that we are here to provide emergency medical services for years to come.
However, we do support full transparency and invite anyone who wishes to better understand our cost for services to email firstname.lastname@example.org We would be happy to provide a breakdown of the State’s charges to anyone who would like a more in depth understanding.
President/CEO Lorri DiBattisto and Chief Katherine Coupe
Granby Ambulance Association