Selectmen OK charge for EMS calls that require treatment, drugs

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LEBANON - Lebanon's Fire Chief apprised selectmen on Thursday about costs associated with nonrevenue ambulance calls, calls where the calling party either doesn't need or doesn't want to go to the hospital.

Since these calls are not ambulance runs, there's currently no bill, explained Lebanon Fire Chief Steven Merrill.

In the past, even if Lebanon Fire and EMS did an evaluation and dispensed drugs necessary for treatment, there was no bill.

Merrill said many ambulance services in the area charge a flat rate of between $110-$150 for these type of call, which he broke down into two categories.

One is when ambulance personnel perform a health check, like blood pressure, blood sugar and other rudimentary evaluations.

The other is when they do an evaluation in which medical supplies and drugs are called for and dispensed, like epinephrine or glucose.

Merrill said the costs of these drugs can range from less than $30 for a dose of epinephrine to more than $250 for certain diabetes-related treatments.

Merrill also said that several Lebanon residents routinely call for personalized health evaluations, for which they are not charged.

In the end selectmen unanimously approved a policy that calls for a flat $250 per visit cost for any call in which treatment is called for and performed by Lebanon Fire and EMS.

However, there will continue to be no charge for calls that are limited to health evaluation unless those individuals' calls get excessive in number and frequency, at which point selectmen would be notified and make an decision based on the specific circumstances of the case.

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