Texas EMS dealing with uncompensated care

February 2, 2013

Texas EMS Executive Director Verne Walker said the company had a good year in 2012, with membership growth spilling over the 10,000-member mark but noted that uncompensated service is a lingering problem.

Uncompensated care provided by Texas EMS added up to $1.6 million, Walker said.

“Looking to 2013 our biggest continuing challenge is dealing with the overwhelming amount of uncompensated care that is provided to the citizens,” Walker said. “We are morally, ethically and legally required to provide care to all patients during their time of need, so we continually look for ways to help cover the debt.”

With the total calls for service at 4,809 and 3,996 patients transported last year, the average response time for Texas EMS ambulance calls in Hood County was 5.3 minutes, Walker reported. In-service ambulance hours totaled 22,630, he added.

“The national standard for urban areas is to have an ambulance to the residence within 9 minutes for Priority 1 (high priority) calls 90 percent of the time,” Walker said. “Texas EMS uses this standard for all 911 calls, not just high priority ones, and has a 92 percent compliance for the city of Granbury.

“No national standard exists for rural areas; however, we use less than 16 minutes for the county standard and we are at 91 percent. We feel that this is a reasonable standard since there are many areas that can’t be driven to within 16 minutes.”

Walker said membership benefits reached $210,000 in ground service benefits in 2012.

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