May 16, 2023 – Today, Richmond Ambulance Authority’s (RAA) Board of Directors approved raising RAA’s retail rates for emergency and non-emergency transportation, responses and standby services, effective June 1, 2023.
Last year, Mayor Levar Stoney requested a third-party review of RAA’s performance and financial operations. Third-party consultants; The Robert Bobb Group, Accenture, and the Cambridge Consulting Group, were contracted by the City of Richmond to conduct the review which was completed last fall. A final report and recommendations were presented to City Council’s Organizational Development Standing Committee in March. While consultants found RAA operates within the top 25% of EMS operations nationally, they recommended changes that should be made to maintain high-quality service in the City of Richmond. Among the recommendations was an increase in RAA’s retail rates to better reflect current market rates, generate the necessary revenue needed to continue providing quality clinical care to our patients and make RAA less reliant on the City of Richmond’s contribution in the form of a subsidy to RAA. The current rates and new rates are reflected in the table below.
The rate increase will have no impact on patients with Medicare or Medicaid, who make up about 81% of RAA’s responses. For residents who may be impacted by the potential rate increase, RAA will continue to offer assistance through existing programs. The Lifesaver Membership Program helps City of Richmond residents cover the cost of emergency medical transports. For a low, annual fee of $49 for individuals, or $79 for a family, the plan covers insurance co-pays and deductibles for emergency ambulance transports. Lifesaver Membership fees will increase to $62 for individuals and $99 for a family in 2024. Medicaid recipients should not join the Lifesaver program, as it does not provide them with any additional benefits. Coverage begins on January 1 (ends on December 31st) each year. There is a 30-day administrative waiting period, so the sooner an application is completed and mailed in, the better. In some cases, emergency transports are not covered by insurance, or patients are responsible for the full balance of their transport. In those cases, the LifeSaver Membership Program provides a 20% discount for that transport.
RAA also offers patients who qualify, the option to pay in installments or financial assistance. Those interested in learning more about RAA’s Lifesaver Membership Program or Payment Plan Requests, should visit our website at www.raaems.org/billing
In addition, RAA is working with Cover Virginia to help individuals and families who qualify for state-sponsored health insurance programs through Medicaid or FAMIS sign-up.
RAA’s priorities have not changed as the agency remains a non-profit organization aimed at providing the best medical care for patients in Richmond regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. All of the revenue RAA receives is invested back into its system including our lifesaving equipment, vehicles, and the recruitment and retention of its highly trained and qualified staff. The decision to increase rates was not made lightly as RAA, City leaders and consultants have examined the issue closely in addition to the financial realities facing RAA and EMS agencies across the country.
About the Richmond Ambulance Authority: In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the City Manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents. Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to nearly 200 calls per day and transports, on average, 150 patients per day. RAA is one of only 32 EMS agencies in the United States accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center. RAA’s staff has consistently received local, state, and national recognition for their work in EMS. In 2022 RAA staff members were recognized by the Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) in two categories at the ODEMSA Regional Awards.