Ambulance franchise fees drive rates



Steve Bach American Medical Response

Last week, we brought you a story about Mayor Steve Bach's efforts to either extract a multimillion-dollar franchise fee from the region's emergency ambulance service provider, American Medical Response, or have city firefighters take over the system.

That story talked about how franchise fees can drive rates upward, because ambulance companies usually want to raise rates to recover such fees.

Just in: The City of Aurora's data showing how rates climbed along with the city's franchise fee.

In the last five years, Aurora's franchise fee charged to Rural Metro Corp. rose by 81 percent, increasing from $540,000 in 2007 to $977,629 last year.

Rates have gone up simultaneously. Rural Metro's advanced life support transport base rate in 2007 was $785, compared to $998 last year, an increase of 27 percent.

Basic life support transport charges went up from $665 in 2007 to $967 last year, a spike of 45 percent.

Rates in Colorado Springs might stand to grow more than that, however, because Bach is reportedly trying to squeeze up to $2.4 million a year from AMR, which now pays $200,000 annually to El Paso County Emergency Services Agency to administer the contract. It also pays fines when it fails to meet response times. That money is used for grants to fire departments for equipment and training.

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