FDNY wants to up the cost of ambulance rides by more than 50%

By Craig McCarthy | February 23. 2023

The cost of taking a city ambulance to the hospital could soon make New Yorkers sick.

The FDNY has proposed hiking up the price of ambulance rides by more than 50% — an increase the department says is necessary due to inflation and a pay bump for EMS workers.

Under the proposal, released Tuesday, the cost of a normal ambulance ride called through the 911 system would spike from $900 to $1,385, or 54%.

It would also up the charge per mile for the trip to the hospital to $20, up from $15.

The costs for advanced life support emergency transports, which have more highly-trained paramedics who can perform advanced procedures such as intubating a patient or inserting an IV, would see smaller increases.

“The proposed rates in part reflect increases (including recent EMS collective bargaining increases and inflation) in personal services (PS) costs and other than personal services (OTPS) costs required to provide emergency ambulance service,” the FDNY’s notice states.

The new rate is expected to create more than $4 million in additional revenue during this fiscal year, and over $16 million for the full 2024 fiscal year, according to an FDNY spokesperson.

If approved, the change would go into effect in the spring, the spokesperson added.

The last increase was in 2021. Back then, the price for an ambulance ride ticked up 16% from $775 to $900.

The fire department’s ambulance service — which costs roughly $600 million per year — handles about 70% of the city’s hospital transports. 

Oren Barzilay, president of EMS Local 2507, said it was “a bit offensive” that the FDNY was citing raises for EMTs as a contributing factor in the proposed increased ambulance cost. 

“Our raises were minuscule compared to what other first responders got,” he told The Post on Wednesday, referring to the $4,000 increase that raised the starting salary for an FDNY EMT to $39,386 in fiscal year 2022.

“FDNY EMS mainly serves communities of people of color,” said Barzilay, adding, “for us to now pass this increase to the public, especially during times when inflation is so high and everything is so expensive, it shows no regard for what the average person is going through.”

“God forbid you get injured or are the victim of an accident and now you get left with this bill,” Barzilay said. 

Some discounts are offered for people without insurance who are transported by city ambulance to the hospital. The city program is based on the person’s income level.

Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli countered: “unfortunately, the fees have to keep up with inflation.”

“Unless a unicorn is flying in to take a victim to the hospital, this is still the best option for patients,” he added. 

A public hearing will be held on March 24 for the new proposal.