Here’s what it costs for ambulance rides in Dayton (which totaled $18M last year)

Patients who require medical treatment and are transported by ambulance in the city of Dayton should not be shocked to receive a medical bill that runs hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The Dayton Fire Department responds to about 30,000 calls for emergency services each year, resulting in the transportation of about 22,000 people to local hospital emergency departments, the city said.

The department provides emergency medical services to citizens and visitors across the city using its 11 medical vehicles.

Last year, the city billed patients nearly $18 million in ambulance charges. However, the city only collected $4.7 million, most of which was paid by Medicaid and Medicare, city documents show.

Ambulance rides can be very expensive. STAFF
Ambulance rides can be very expensive. STAFF

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The city started charging for emergency medical services in 1994 to generate revenue, according to this newspaper’s archives.

In 1994, paramedic service cost $450 and ambulance service ran $150. Several years later, that increased to $630 for advanced life support and $290 for basic life support.

Here’s what the city of Dayton today charges for ambulance services:

• $512 for basic life support

• $870 for advanced life support, level 1

• $1,075 for advanced life support, level 2

There is also a charge of $11.78 per “loaded” mile, and the average trip is 3 miles.

Basic life support is transportation by ground ambulance vehicle and the provision of medically necessary supplies and services, according to the federal government. The ambulance must be staffed by someone who is qualified as an emergency medical technician.

Advanced life support level 1 includes an assessment and at least one intervention by qualified staff (EMT-intermediate or EMT-paramedic).

Advanced life support level 2 includes at least three administrations of one or more medications or the use of procedures such as chest decompression or cardiac pacing.

In 2017, the fire department had 15,166 transports that involved advanced life support level 1; 6,552 transports that were basic life support and 584 that were advanced life support level 2.

According to, ambulance transportation is expensive because of the cost of operating the medical vehicles, which includes the price of the vehicle (around $150,000), salaries of paramedics/EMTs ($64,000 per year) and equipment costs ($20,000 stretcher, $15,000 LUCAS compression, $40,000 cardiac monitor).

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