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Commission considers rate increase for EMS

ALBANY, Ga. -- Dougherty County EMS Director Bobby Tripp has formally asked the Dougherty County Commission to raise the rate they charge people transported to area hospitals by $100 per call.

The increase is the first since 2007 and would still keep Dougherty County's rate comparable with surrounding ambulance services, Tripp said.

"We are cheaper than at least nine other ambulance services that cover Southwest Georgia," Tripp said.

The fee increase will help maintain or increase revenues that EMS generates for the county, which have struggled in recent years due largely to the escalating cost of fuel.

Commissioner Gloria Gaines also expressed concern over the county's collection rate for the fees, which hovers around 60 percent.

"I've asked the staff if there is anything that we can do to get those numbers up," Gaines said. "It seems that we should have a higher collection rate."

County Administrator Richard Crowdis said that the fees are harder to collect than some other fees because often they have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid.

Current revenues generated by EMS is more than $2 million annually, and the increase is projected to increase those by roughly $800,000, Crowdis said.

The fee increase comes as a recommendation from the county's

Public Safety Committee.