Chapter 1.45
AMBULANCE SERVICE

Sections:

1.45.010    Ambulance service public utility continued – Purpose – Utility authorization regulations.

1.45.020    Use prescribed.

1.45.030    Repealed.

1.45.040    Repealed.

1.45.050    Repealed.

1.45.060    Fees – Billing and collection – Procedure and reports.

1.45.065    Fees – Deposit required.

1.45.070    Fees – Collection – Authority designated.

1.45.080    Service charges established.

1.45.090    Ambulance utility service fees.

1.45.010 Ambulance service public utility continued – Purpose – Utility authorization regulations.

(1) Pursuant to the authority of RCW 35.21.766, ESHB 1635, Chapter 482, Laws of 2005, and RCW 35.27.370(15), as now existing or hereafter amended, and the police power of the city of Hoquiam to protect and preserve the public health, safety and welfare, the ambulance service established by the city in 1975 (Ordinance 2735, 1975) is hereby reauthorized, ratified and continued as a public utility of the city of Hoquiam. The ambulance service program is thus reauthorized, ratified and continued, and for purposes of this chapter shall be referred to as the “utility” or the “ambulance service.”

(2) The purpose of the utility is to regulate users and providers of ambulance services; to generate revenue to assist in paying for the regulatory scheme authorized by this chapter; to ensure twenty-four-hour advanced life support services within the city; to assist in paying for the particular benefits conferred upon residents and other occupants within the city; and to mitigate the burdens placed upon the system by the different users of the system.

(3) The utility shall have the authority, by and through the fire chief, to collect and spend fee revenue authorized in this chapter in amounts sufficient to regulate, operate, and maintain the utility.

(4) The fire chief is hereby authorized to promulgate any and all regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter, including that all public and private ambulance providers retain highly trained, qualified and experienced personnel; maintain appropriate certifications and qualifications, ensure appropriate fleet management and equipment maintenance; satisfy minimum emergency vehicle specifications; ensure response times that protect public health, welfare and benefit of all city of Hoquiam residents, businesses and other ambulance customers; deliver a level of care service consistent with or exceeding industry standards; comply with transport protocols; provide procedures for customer inquiries and complaints and ensure coordination with emergency dispatch and other public safety communications. (Ord. 06-04 § 1, 2006; Ord. 2735 § 1, 1975).

1.45.020 Use prescribed.

The ambulance service shall be operated out of and from the fire department of the city of Hoquiam for emergency calls and sick calls. (Ord. 2735 § 2, 1975).

1.45.030 Fees – Amount.

Repealed by Ord. 04-08. (Ord. 2735 § 3, 1975).

1.45.040 Billing – Assessment.

Repealed by Ord. 04-08. (Ord. 2785 § 1, 1977; Ord. 2735 § 4, 1975).

1.45.050 Fees – Additional.

Repealed by Ord. 04-08. (Ord. 2735 § 5, 1975).

1.45.060 Fees – Billing and collection – Procedure and reports.

The fire department and the city finance director shall establish the billing procedure for and the collection of service charges and fees for ambulance service. Service charges shall be collected by the finance department. A daily report shall be maintained of all calls, and all funds collected shall be deposited with the city finance director. Monthly reports of all calls and collections shall be submitted to the mayor and city council. (Ord. 04-15 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2735 § 6, 1975).

1.45.065 Fees – Deposit required.

The finance director shall require a deposit in such sum as may be approved or established by council resolution to insure payment when due for ambulance service. (Ord. 2940, 1980).

1.45.070 Fees – Collection – Authority designated.

The city finance director and city attorney are authorized to and shall collect all delinquent ambulance service charges and fees. (Ord. 2735 § 7, 1975).

1.45.080 Service charges established.

(1) For purposes of this chapter, “BLS” means “basic life support services,” and “ALS” means “advanced life support services.”

(2) All persons who are transported by the city of Hoquiam fire department ambulance shall be charged and billed for all services at the rates set by ordinance. Rates for services and supplies shall be set to provide for recovery of actual costs based upon an average charge that will be reviewed at least annually.

(3) Mileage for emergency ambulance transportation shall be charged from the pickup point to any hospital, nineteen dollars per mile only when transporting occupants, and shall be prorated among the occupants if more than one occupant is transported.

(4) All persons shall be charged per call for nonemergency calls to an Aberdeen hospital.

(5) The charge for basic life support service is eight hundred thirty-six dollars per call. The nonresident charge for basic life support shall be twenty-five percent higher than the resident charge. The resident charge for advanced life support service is one thousand one hundred eighty-two dollars per call. The nonresident charge for advanced life support shall be twenty-five percent higher than the resident charge. Effective January 1, 2017, and on January 1st of each year thereafter, the charge for each of these life support services shall be increased by three percent. The following fees shall be charged for miscellaneous ambulance transportation services, in addition to the basic life support or advanced life support services charges:

(a) EKG, seventy dollars;

(b) IV, twenty-five dollars;

(c) Oxygen, fifty dollars;

(d) Cervical collar, forty dollars.

(6) For paramedic services if transportation to a hospital is not required or is refused, the basic charge shall be two hundred seventy-five dollars, unless paramedic services are not required and no medical supplies are used. This charge shall apply whether or not the patient is a Hoquiam resident and the patient shall be responsible for any amount of the charge which is not paid for by insurance.

(7) Ambulance service for personnel who are injured on the job at a business or industry shall be charged to the Department of Labor and Industries or the employer’s self-insurer.

(8) The ambulance standby fee is one hundred dollars per hour.

(9) A fee shall be charged to any hospital or other facility which requests that an ambulance be dispatched to transport a patient to another hospital or other facility and then rescinds the request after the Hoquiam fire department has already called in off-duty personnel and dispatched an ambulance. Said fee shall be referred to as a “cancellation fee,” and shall be in the amount of one hundred fifty dollars. Thereafter, beginning on January 1, 2009, this fee shall be increased annually on January 1st of each year in an amount which shall be equal to the CPI-W, All Urban Consumer Index, July to July.

(10)(a) With the exception of the cancellation fee provided in subsection (9) of this section, charges and fees for ambulance services provided by the city of Hoquiam are the responsibility of the user, or in the case of a minor child, the child’s parent or guardian.

(b) Ambulance charges for services are delinquent ninety days after the first billing. Interest shall be imposed at the rate of twelve percent per annum and shall accrue from the date of delinquency. (Ord. 15-13 § 1, 2015; Ord. 14-19 § 1, 2014; Ord. 14-16 § 1, 2014; Ord. 14-15 § 1, 2014; Ord. 14-04 § 1, 2014; Ord. 11-10 § 1, 2011; Ord. 10-32 § 1, 2010; Ord. 08-13 § 1, 2008; Ord. 06-05 § 1, 2006; Ord. 04-15 § 2, 2004; Ord. 04-08 § 2, 2004; Ord. 03-14 § 1, 2003; Ord. 02-11 § 1, 2002; Ord. 00-27 §§ 1 – 4, 2000; Ord. 99-25 §§ 1 – 4, 1999; Ord. 96-04 § 1, 1996; Ord. 95-21 §§ 1, 2, 1995; Ord. 93-20 §§ 1, 2, 1993; Ord. 92-28 § 1, 1992; Ord. 91-12 § 1, 1991).

1.45.090 Ambulance utility service fees.

(1) Utility Rate Setting.

(a) Service Fee Formula. A monthly service fee for the operation of the ambulance service utility shall be established from time to time by ordinance of the city council in conformity with RCW 35.21.766. The amount of the fee shall be based upon cost of regulating and providing ambulance services as determined by a cost-of-service study done pursuant to RCW 35.21.766(3). Those costs, after transport charges and the general fund contribution, shall be divided among city of Hoquiam residents and occupants based on a combined demand and availability calculation consistent with accepted principles of utility rate setting. The fee attributable to costs for availability of the utility shall be uniformly applied across user classifications within the utility. The fee attributable to costs for demand services of the utility shall be established and billed to each utility user classification based on each user classification’s burden on the utility. The fee charged by the utility shall reflect a combination of the availability cost and the demand costs. The resulting fee shall be assessed to identifiable use classifications. Fees will not exceed the revenue requirements to cover the costs of the utility, as authorized by the city council by adoption of an annual budget and subsequent amendments.

(b) User Classifications. The monthly service fee shall be collected from each of the following utility user classifications:

(i) Single-family;

(ii) Multifamily;

(iii) Commercial/retail;

(iv) Industrial;

(v) Assisted living/nursing homes;

(vi) Senior housing;

(vii) Housing authority;

(viii) Other governmental entities;

(ix) City of Hoquiam.

The owner or occupant of each unit in each classification shall be responsible for payment of this utility fee for the availability and use of ambulance services.

(c) Service Fee Exemptions/Reductions.

(i) All vacant, unoccupied parcels are exempt from the utility fee.

(ii) Utility customers shall be eligible for the city’s low-income senior citizen discount pursuant to HMC 8.08.090(3) and 8.12.020(5).

(iii) Any change in the use of a parcel or any other change in circumstance that eliminates application of an exemption from the service fee shall immediately make the affected property subject to applicable service fees. The service fee shall become due and payable as of the date of the change in use and shall continue until the parcel again meets exemption requirements.

(iv) Monthly rates shall not be prorated. Initial and final charges may be prorated in accordance with the city’s standard utility proration practices.

(v) Any customer seeking an exemption from payment of the service fee and/or conversion from covered to exempt status, must file a written petition with the finance director seeking a determination as to whether a specific parcel satisfies the exemption requirements set forth in this section.

(vi) The combined rates charged shall reflect an exemption for persons who are Medicaid eligible and who reside in a nursing facility, boarding home, adult family home, or receive in-home services.

(vii) The combined rates charged may reflect an exemption or reduction for designated classes consistent with Article VIII, Section 7 of the State Constitution.

(viii) The amounts of exemption or reduction shall be a general expense of the utility, and designated as an availability cost, to be spread uniformly across the utility user classifications.

(d) Periodic Service Fee Review. The fire chief will periodically perform financial review and analysis of the utility’s revenues, expenses, indebtedness, fees and accounting, and recommend budgets, fee adjustments and financial policy. Based on such review, the fire chief shall recommend changes, amendments or additions for adoption by the city council.

(2) Service Fees Established. In accordance with the cost-of-service study conducted by the city, the per unit base rates and fees for the utility shall be as follows:

Single-Family

$11.83 per month

Multifamily

$11.83 per month

Commercial/Retail

$11.83 per month

Industrial

$11.83 per month

Assisted Living/Nursing Homes

$11.83 per month

Senior Housing

$11.83 per month

Housing Authority

$11.83 per month

Other Governmental Entities

$11.83 per month

City of Hoquiam

$11.83 per month

(3) Payment. The per unit monthly service fee for the utility shall be collected by the city finance department and be included on the water, sewer and stormwater utility bill of each user classification of the utility.

(4) Allocation of Direct Billing Revenue. All fee revenue received through direct billing pursuant to HMC 1.45.080 shall be allocated to the demand-related costs.

(5) General Fund Contribution. The city shall allocate from the general fund each year an amount not less than seventy percent of the total general fund revenue expended for the utility as of May 5, 2004. As of May 5, 2004, the city did not expend any general fund revenue for the utility.

(6) Compliance with Medicare and Medicaid Requirements. The charges for the ambulance service authorized by this chapter shall be construed and implemented to be consistent with applicable Medicare and Medicaid requirements. If any method or procedure authorized by this chapter for the purpose of establishing, implementing, imposing or collecting ambulance charges for ambulance service is found or determined to be in conflict with Medicare or Medicaid requirements, the conflicting part of this chapter shall be inoperative to the extent of the conflict and such finding or determination shall not affect the operation of the remainder of this chapter. (Ord. 10-34 § 1, 2010; Ord. 06-04 § 2, 2006).