What Is the Local Governmental Rate?

The majority of Texas local governmental bodies have extensive systems in place to set the rate that is allowed for ambulance transports in the community. The rate-setting board examines the EMS cost data and then determines what rate is appropriate after considering both EMS costs and what payment is appropriate for its citizens (in particular, the uninsured).

Click here to learn more about the extensive process that the Houston Fire Department went through to increase its local government rate in 2019 for the first time since 2012.

The following is a look at the rate consideration process for MedStar Mobile Healthcare in Fort Worth:

MedStar Mobile Healthcare, the publicly owned EMS provider for Tarrant County, recently had to contend with the reality that revenue was not covering the costs of providing service.  Declining reimbursement from health plans, a high number of uninsured patients and other factors prompted the agency’s leadership to address this issue with their publicly appointed board of directors and make the difficult request for an increase in rates.

The eleven-member board of directors includes nine voting members, four members representing the City of Fort Worth, one member representing the suburban member cites, two physician representatives of the Emergency Physicians Advisory Board (EPAB) and two members of the First Responder Advisory Board (FRAB).  The system Medical Director and the EMS Authority’s CEO serve as ex-officio (non-voting) members of the Board.

Each of the 15 jurisdictions in MedStar’s service area had to be consulted.  There were countless meetings with city managers, mayors and other elected officials, all of whom are accountable to the taxpayers in their communities.

After much discussion and debate, that took several months, the board approved, by voting in a public meeting, a $100 increase in charges that was actually half of what the MedStar leadership requested.