Lee County EMS considering new surcharge on services

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 7:06 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Non-emergency calls for ambulatory services can cause slow response times for more urgent calls.

Lee County Emergency Medical Services are looking for ways to ease that balance.

The idea of adding a surcharge onto all calls requiring Lee County Emergency Medical Services has been a discussion lately.

However, this is not an idea that Lee County EMS themselves came up with.

Their billing company noticed an abundance of calls that were being responded to without the need for emergency transportation, and proposed that the EMS team do something about it.

Director Dennis Cosby said while he has mixed feelings on the surcharge proposal, it was his duty to share the idea with the rest of the board.

“I felt that I was obligated to at least bring it to the Advisory Committee because the billing company brought it to my attention, and I told them I’ll run it by the advisory committee, we’ll see what they say,” Cosby said.

EMS is required to stay at all calls they attend, even if turns out to be non-emergency.

Lee County EMS Liason Garry Seyb also has mixed feelings about the surcharge.

While he thinks a surcharge could help deter habitual non-emergent callers, he would like to see more resources in the county to help calls that walk the line of urgent and non-emergent.

“We have somebody that’s calling a lot and it’s the same non-emergent need, are there other options? Maybe the local fire department would be able to contact them without making it an emergent call and they’d be able to help out,” Seyb said.

Both Cosby and Seyb feel that adding financial burden on those who are habitually calling emergency medical services could jeopardize the service of someone who really needs help.

“I don’t want to have people who truly have fallen and can’t get up not call 911, because they think ‘oh my gosh, its going to cost me money,’ that’s not what I set out to do here,” Cosby said.

Cosby also made it abundantly clear that he does not think this surcharge has a high likelihood of being enforced, however, it is up for discussion.

Cosby and Seyb are both waiting to get a breakdown of statistics showing exactly how many habitual non-emergent calls Lee County is responding to so that they do not make this decision unless it’s absolutely necessary.

After reviewing data, the likelihood of this being implemented will be discussed at the Board of Advisors level immediately after.

A specific surcharge amount has not yet been decided as it is in early discussion stages.

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