Emergency Transport Fees approved by Kirkland City Council

The Kirkland City Council approved Emergency Transport Fees to be billed directly to health insurers, during Tuesday's council meeting.

Medical insurance companies cover medical transport cost as part of premiums, so those with insurance would not pay out-of-pocket for the service. Residents without medical insurance will not be billed for the service. The City of Kirkland had paid for the service out of the general fund.

The user fee is set at $600 plus $14 per mile and will take effect Feb. 28.

The issue was first brought to the council early last year as a cost-cutting measure.

The firm that conducted the third-party study on the subject last spring, Management Partners Inc., assessed that the change would have a net revenue of about $1 million for the city.

The study used six peer cities comparable to Kirkland, some that implemented the user fee and some that did not. The study and the subsequent cost-savings estimate did not include the annexation areas (the fee will apply to that area once annexation takes effect on June 1).

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