I am writing in support of Town Manager Keegan’s contention that ambulance fees pay for the funding of an additional firefighter position in the budget. How am I so confident? In early 2019, I was billed by the town for nearly $3,000 for ambulance service to Norwood Hospital. Almost 3 times the amount Mr. Keegan states the average bill runs. Therefore, I have no doubt that the town should feel confident that the burden will not fall on the Foxboro taxpayer as only paying users utilizing the ambulance service will be soaked for the bill.
As a town, we are fortunate to have talented and caring professionals in the Foxborough Fire Department that look after our well being during a time of need. I was truly appreciative of the service. However, the charge for these services is in no way aligned with the cost incurred by the town. Supportive of this fact is the charge of almost $900 of my $3,000 bill was for the mileage costs of going from Foxboro to Norwood.
In following up directly with both the town and the Fire Department to better understand these charges and what financials support the towns billing practices. All I was told was that the town follows industry practices and is competitive with local departments. The town could not speak to or provide specifics behind the charges which I find troubling. All I was informed of was that what is collected is tied to the ability to pay and that the towns commitment to support entities like Patriots Place and its healthcare facilities as well as Norcap Lodge, both heavy users of the service, often result in services that are not collectible. Therefore those who can afford to pay, disproportionally Foxboro taxpayers, must pay full price. In my case that bill was over 3 times the average the town collected for this service.
Our country is in the midst of a healthcare crisis. The rapidly rising cost of prescriptions, physician & hospital charges, and ambulance service is resulting in healthcare costs being the leading cause of personal bankruptcy. While Foxborough alone cannot tackle the national crisis it can ensure that the charges for the life saving services it offers are aligned with the costs to provide the service. It should not hide behind terms like “industry practices”. Nor should life saving services be managed as a town budget “profit” pool in order to balance its budget. The last thing people should ever have to think about is whether I can afford to call 911, truly a monopolistic service, during a time of need.