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Medical transport fees set to increase

Boulder City residents who are transported for medical emergencies soon will pay more after the City Council approved a fee increase Tuesday night.

According to Boulder City Fire Chief Kevin Nicholson, the decision to raise fees was made in order to keep up with the growing cost of medical equipment.

Current rates for medical transports had not been adjusted since 2007, and Nicholson said the department made a conscious effort to avoid a fee increase during the recession.

Council approved a 2 percent increase, or $11, for a basic life support transport, bringing the new cost to $590.

An advanced life support transport, which Nicholson said are for more “life-threatening” or “critical” cases, will now cost $660 instead of $630.

“The percentages are very low, but we’re moving in the right direction to help recoup some of those supply costs,” Nicholson said.

Councilman Cam Walker wanted to make sure the city didn’t lose out on any money or resources if someone was transported outside of Boulder City.

“So if somebody takes our paramedic and goes to a hospital over the hill, it’s moving that out of our jurisdiction and that could cause a concern,” he said.

It costs $15 per mile to be transported by a Boulder City paramedic, according to the rate set forth in 2007. That rate was not altered during Tuesday’s meeting, nor was the nonemergency transport fee of $275.

“Me picking you up and taking you to Boulder City is much cheaper than taking you to Sunrise (Hospital and Medical Center),” Nicholson said.

Councilman Duncan McCoy wanted Nicholson to tell those in attendance how long an average response time is if someone in Boulder City was in need of medical attention.

Nicholson explained that the fire department covers more than 200 square miles, but the average wait time is typically five minutes. That time is usually reduced by two minutes when traveling to the more populated parts of town, he said, but takes longer when having to transport someone from Hoover Dam.

Though the fire department received the approval to raise its medical transporting fees, Nicholson said Boulder City’s rates are still between $200-$300 cheaper than most parts of the Las Vegas Valley.

He said he wasn’t sure when the rates would go up, since billing and scheduling still needed to be addressed, but said the changes would go into effect “soon.”

“The cost of living goes up for everybody, and it does for medical supplies too,” Nicholson said.

In other council news, Alan Goya and Alan Stromberg were appointed to the city’s Historic Preservation Committee. Council also approved a land sale agreement between the city and Jon D. Irving for the lot located at 809 Industrial Court.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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