Fort Pierre City Council Supportive Of Lift Assist Charge

(KCCR) — The Fort Pierre City Council is supporting a proposed change by American Medical Response Ambulance service to institute a charge for lift assist calls. Councilman David LaRoche says the number of calls for non-emergency lift assistance is on the rise and that brings concerns for service…

“These are basically people that are calling the ambulance to help them get picked up; like out of their bed to the bathroom, things like that.  They’re even getting called to commercial care facilities to assist their staff and its putting quite a burden on the ambulance service in that if they have to send two ambulances to this place to assist these people; whose left to cover the two towns and counties when there’s a medical emergency?  So to defer that, they AMR, would like to charge; start charging a 150-dollar fee for a lift assist.”
In 2016 AMR responded to 169 lift assist calls; 97 in 2017; 127 in 2018 and 105 this year with one month remaining. The service is currently free which was surprising to Fort Pierre Mayor Gloria Hanson. Council member Mike Weisgram is supportive of the change…

“The 150 seem arbitrary.  I surely don’t have any rule of thumb; what would be, actually seems fairly reasonable to me, but…”  “Well I can’t imagine that they could go anywhere and make and provide the assistance…two people, an ambulance, and they’re going to be gone an hour, right?”  “Many times and sometimes it’s two ambulances and they’re talking 40,50 miles out in the county.”
Approval of the lift assist charge will require amending the contracts AMR has with the Cities of Pierre and Fort Pierre and Stanley Counties. Hughes County Commissioners approved the fee change to be included in a new contract with AMR Monday night. Stanley County will consider the change tonight. The issue is not posted on the agenda for the Pierre City Commission this week. The Fort Pierre City Council will consider approval of the change after officials with the city and AMR go through the process of amending the contract.