Residents have been debating the cost of using an ambulance in Huntington after a woman complained that a short ride to Huntington Hospital cost more than $1,000.
The woman who triggered the extended discussion of ambulance costs on Facebook said she developed an eye problem, called an ambulance, which transported her 2.5 miles to Huntington Hospital, then billed her $1,000. She said, “my insurance paid a bit over $450 stating they felt they were being over charged.”
The Town of Huntington has contracts with the Huntington Community First Aid Squad and the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps because fire districts in those areas don’t provide ambulance services, the town said.
Fees are set by the town, on behalf of each ambulance district, spokeswoman Lauren Lembo said. “Technically, the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Huntington Community First Aid Squad, Inc. are service providers for their respective ambulance districts, engaged pursuant to annual agreements. They have no authority to set user fees absent a Town Board resolution authorizing same.”
Overall, as user fees were imposed, taxes for the ambulance districts declined considerably.
Until 2016, HCFAS did not charge for services. But the town reduced the contract fee it paid to the service in both 2016 and 2017, leading to the imposition of fees for what had previously been free.
“A schedule of user fees has been adopted and readopted each year since 2016 based on the anticipated costs of providing services; advanced life support is either $1200 or $1400; basic life support is $900; and then there is a $30/mile mileage fee,” Lembo said.
Payment plans and other arrangements are available to those who don’t want to pay the fees through insurance, Lembo said.