Ambulance rides get more expensive

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council Monday unanimously approved a one-year extension of the city’s emergency medical services contract with Rural/Metro Ambulance, which means the average cost of riding in an ambulance in the city will soon rise.

Most of the other provisions and service levels will remain unchanged from the previous two-year deal, but Rural/Metro will be allowed under the extension to increase its average per-ride charge to patients from $1,761 to $1,820, City EMS Program Manager Alyssa Ross said.

The increased cost will help the private ambulance company that works with several cities in the region offset a 3.35 percent rise in fees it will have to pay the city.

Ross said the costs that agencies in other parts in the region charge per ambulance ride range from about $1,200 to around $2,300.

A partnership between the city and Rural/Metro was formed in 2009, but was dissolved two years later due to legal and financial issues. The private ambulance company continued to provide its service to the city under a subsequent contract that was set to expire June 30.

The extension will take effect July 1, and includes an option to renew for a second year while the city completes the process required to put ambulance and emergency medical services out for competitive bidding, according to Ross.

The city previously held off on taking bids. The mayor’s office wanted extra time to study the impact of proposed legislation that could affect emergency medical services, according to city documents.

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