The public is invited to an open house at Clallam County Fire District 3’s fire stations and maintenance facility, including Station 34 on 323 N. Fifth Ave., from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The public is invited to an open house at Clallam County Fire District 3’s fire stations and maintenance facility, including Station 34 on 323 N. Fifth Ave., from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Fire district covers transport credit for Olympic Ambulance

SEQUIM — Whether you are transported in a red ambulance or a white ambulance in the Sequim area, your bill will be the same.

Clallam County Fire District 3 commissioners voted unanimously in September on a resolution to extend the “Ambulance Transport Billing Credit” to all residents and property owners transported by Olympic Ambulance.

District staff said the credit has allowed them since 2011 to write-off the remaining fees after insurance for residents/property owners who were transported in a fire district (red) ambulance.

They added that some patients have expressed hesitancy for taking an ambulance because of the assumed cost, so staff wanted to reduce that anxiety.

“The goal is not to have any out-of-pocket costs for an ambulance transport,” Assistant Fire Chief Dan Orr said.

Now the fire district will compensate Olympic Ambulance, a private ambulance company, for Fire District 3 residents/business owners when transport fees are not covered by insurance using funds from the district’s EMS levy revenue.

District staff said a three-month trial started Oct. 1 and both agencies will reassess in January and every year forward. Next year’s fire district budget tentatively includes what district staff call a “conservative” $120,000 to reimburse Olympic Ambulance through 2023.

“They will bill your insurance and it doesn’t make any difference if it’s a red or white ambulance, and it’s gonna get billed the same way,” Orr said.

Fire district staff said that lump sum will be reevaluated annually based on the number of trips.

How much patients pay depends on their insurance provider, where the ambulance goes, if medications and/or oxygen are used, and various other factors, Orr said.

What’s not covered by insurance, if anything, will be paid by the district’s EMS levy lid lift for either ambulance ride.

District staff said they project $3.2 million from the EMS levy being available for the 2023 budget.

“I believe that extending the Ambulance Transport Billing Credit to Olympic Ambulance transports of Fire District 3’s citizens is in the best interest of all of our citizens in Fire District 3,” said fire chief Ben Andrews in a press release.

Fire District staff said Olympic Ambulance transports a majority of residents/property owners to Olympic Medical Center because they cannot afford being “offline” taking someone(s) to Port Angeles and back as other calls may be coming in.

For more information, visit ccfd3.org or call 360-683-4242.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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