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Need emergency care? It'll cost you in Folsom

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Beginning July 15, the Folsom Fire Department will charge a $225 fee to help defray the cost of providing emergency care by paramedics on fire engine and truck companies. The Folsom City Council adopted the fee schedule at its June 26 meeting. ?The Fire Department provides Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for sick and injured patients that represents the highest level of pre-hospital care provided by non-physicians,? said Fire Chief Ron Phillips. ?The first responders are typically on scene and caring for patients prior to the arrival of a public or private ambulance." Philips said local taxes cover the capability of having fire and paramedic services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ?The new fee will cover direct costs associated with the response to EMS incidents by our engine and ladder truck companies,? said Phillips. ?It makes sense that the cost for supplies and treatment should be borne by the patients who use the first responder service, rather than subsidized by the community as a whole.? The fee will be charged whenever a person is medically evaluated and treated by paramedics on a first responder unit. It will not be charged if an individual declines medical evaluation or treatment by paramedics. Phillips said many regional fire agencies have charged first responder fees for years and that Folsom?s new fee schedule is less than the fees charged by many others. Ninety percent of the patients treated by first responders in Folsom are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medical, he said. The new fee applies to emergency incidents that occur in Folsom, and also to the approximately 300 EMS incidents the Folsom Fire Department responds to annually in other cities and unincorporated areas of Sacramento County. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District charges first responder fees when providing service in Folsom. The new fees are expected to generate approximately $250,000 in revenue in the coming year, according to city officials. ~ Staff report