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City sets rate for critical-care paramedic runs

The night of Tuesday, Jan. 8, the City Council approved the rate of $1,500 for ambulance patients who need the new level of critical care the River Falls Ambulance Service began offering Jan.1.

Council Member Randy Kusilek, who'd attended the commission meeting about the new service and rates, suggested River Falls set the bar higher than the proposed $1,300 per run.

Kusilek pointed out later that the new rate beats a $10,000 helicopter ride.

RFAS Director Jeff Rixmann explained how 12 of the service's 18 paramedics completed the highest level of training possible last year. They can now transport 98% of critically ill or injured people who need to go to the hospital, with some neo-natal exceptions.

Rixmann said the local specially trained paramedics carry the same type of license as one who travels by helicopter, saying, "The only difference is we do it by ground."

Prompted by council members, Rixmann said the new designation helps the whole region because the only other way to get those services would be on a helicopter. RFAS estimates it will carry about 250 critical-care patients per year.

Discussion confirmed: River Falls is one of three places in the state to have the designation, and Minnesota doesn't yet recognize it yet, so the service proposed rates from information obtained through its billing company and other research.

City Administrator Scot Simpson said River Falls will study the new service and its rates in the spring.

Other action

  • The council approved a request from Junior's Bar and Restaurant to transfer its liquor license from Big Stone, LLC, -- issued the license in September 2011 -- to JRKM Management, but only after council members verified that the owner had paid an estimated $40,000 owed in property taxes, utilities and room-tax fees.
  • The City Council also voted to provide a total in refunds of $2,191 to six city residents who had appealed their assessed property value during the open-book process and obtained adjustments that were then not reflected on their tax bills.