WHEREAS municipalities are responsible for the provision of ambulance services;AND WHEREAS the cost to operate ambulance services is increasing due to the rising cost of such operating expenses as fuel, bad debt and capital costs;AND WHEREAS the increased government rates have not kept pace with the rising cost of providing ambulance services;AND WHEREAS municipalities are required to subsidize the increased cost of ambulance services;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties requests that the provincial government establish appropriate ambulance rates for provincial government clients based on the cost of service delivery and develop a process for annual review of these rates.
Many ambulance users are seniors or clients on Provincial Government Social Programs. From 1992 -1997 the Province froze ambulance fees for these clients. The 1992 rates were below the cost of service delivery reflected by AA OA. 1998 rates were increased by 3%. 1999 rates were increased by 3%. 2000 rates are supposed to be increased by 3%. After these increases the cost of providing services is still higher than the rates. Blue Cross is an independent insurer, and also acts as agent for the provincial government. Direct billing is allowed but only at their rates and on the condition of no extra billing. Since government arbitrarily sets their own rates, this is an unfair practice. If a service chooses to bill the client the full amount, the service has the potential for higher bad debt costs. The government rates do not reflect the varying costs to deliver services throughout the Province nor do they reflect the increasing cost to do so. The current system of increasing rates allows for no input from ambulance operators and does not allow operators to effectively develop long-term plans, as rates are arbitrarily set.
The AAMDC has several resolutions currently in effect on this issue, each of which ask for substantially the same government action. Resolutions 3-00S (passed at the spring 2000 convention), 22-99F (passed at the fall 1999 convention) and 30-97F (passed at the 1997 fall convention) all address the inadequacy of government rates paid for ambulance service, and request action to bring these rates to a level which reflects the cost of providing the service.