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Selectmen Approve Increase in Upton Ambulance Rates

During a May 20 meeting, increases in Upton's ambulance rates were unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen and will become effective July 1; the start of the new fiscal year.

Fire/EMS Chief Ron Goodale had approached the Board concerning the hikes at a prior meeting noting that Upton was below the average rates compared to a number of other local communities. "We don't want to be the highest and we don't want to be the lowest," explained Goodale to the Board.

According to information presented at the meeting, Upton currently charges fees below the average rate in each of the three ambulance transportation categories. Goodale compared Upton rates with 14 other surrounding communities. He said he discussed the proposed rate hikes with the town's ambulance billing vendor who thought it was a good idea as well.

"I think this makes perfect sense," agreed Selectman James Brochu. "It's always great to see the comparative data and with the proposed new rates, we're still in mid-range."

The Board then unanimously approved the new increases. As a result, Basic Life Support ambulance services will increase an additional $132.70 to $852.70; Advanced Life Support will increase an additional $283.76 to $1,139.76, and Advanced Life Support 2, needed for the most serious trauma and medical incidents, will increase an additional $412.22 to $1,677.68. The increases reflect rates two times that of Medicare.

Health insurance typically covers a portion of ambulance transportation fees. Selectman Chair Robert Fleming also explained that the abatement process is still available for those residents in need regarding ambulance bills. "This is not to impose hardship but certainly where there's an eligibility to collect from insurance companies-- that what this plan is about," he said.

Goodale reiterated the abatement program. "We don't want anyone to ever question if they need to call 911 when they have a medical emergency. They should feel comfortable doing that knowing they can contact the town if there's an issue after the fact that we can work out," he affirmed.

In other news that evening, the Board set its summer meeting schedule. During the summer months, the Board will meet on July 1, July 22, August 5, and August 26. However, meeting dates are subject to change. Dates for September were also set and include September 9 and September 23. Residents should confirm meeting dates on the town's Web site at www.upton.ma.gov.




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