MRHRC, EMS, Emergency Medical Services, rural, ambulance, cost, policy
This brief serves to fill the information void on the costs of running ambulance services for three population-based service tiers and establishes a minimum access standard for ambulances servicing a 25-minute travel time radius from the ambulance station. The model enables policymakers and community stakeholders to develop strategic plans for the financing and provision of ambulance services. Key Highlights: An expert panel established that ambulances could reasonably serve a maximum 25-minute travel time from the ambulance station that accounts for road conditions. A minimum access standard was defined as a single resource consisting of one full-time staffed ambulance, with a second unit “on-call”, supported by a chief. Based on this minimum access standard, the population density within an ambulance service area, and the expected run volume, the expert panel established three population-based service tiers and estimated corresponding start-up and annual service costs. Total annual budgets scale up from approximately $964,200 in 2020 dollars ($1.04 million in 2023 dollars) in low volume service areas (with as few as 25 responses per year) to $2.09 million in 2020 dollars ($2.25 million in 2023 dollars) in high volume service areas (with 1,500 - 2,200 responses per year). Breakeven analyses suggest that low volume agencies experience operating costs of approximately $41,500 (in 2023 dollars) per response, while high volume agencies experience operating costs of roughly $1,020 per response.
For more information on this study, please contact Yvonne Jonk, firstname.lastname@example.org
HRSA-Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
Jonk Y, Wingrove G, Nudell N, McGinnis K. A consensus panel approach to estimating the start-up and annual service costs for rural ambulance agencies. University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center;2023. PB-84.