First Responder Billing

Fees for Emergency Medical Services

The City of Vallejo assesses fees for the delivery of pre-hospital emergency medical care, in accordance with the Municipal Code. Although emergency services are performed by the Vallejo Fire Department, billing operations and the collection of fees are performed by a private billing company. All fees are in accordance with the most recent Fee Schedule.

Providing Insurance Information

If you receive a billing notice, please complete the insurance and payment information, and return following the directions on the notice. If you have not received a bill and would like to provide insurance and payment information, please call the Billing Customer Service Line at (866) 385-6552 or visit their secure submission site

Questions About Billing

If you have questions regarding your bill, or feel you received a bill in error, please call the Billing Customer Service line at (866) 385-6552.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a First Responder Fee?

First Responder Fees are aimed at supporting increasing EMS cost for advanced EMS services by first responders, not covered by property taxes. They are permitted under Section 13916 of the California Health & Safety Code.  

 

Why have I received a First Responder Fee bill?

You have received this bill because the Vallejo Fire Department responded to a 9-1-1 call from you or someone representing you and a medical assessment was performed and we need your insurance information for billing purposes

 

Am I responsible for paying the First Responder Fees?

No. First Responder Fees are fully or partially covered by most medical insurance carriers. If you receive a First Responder Fee bill, use the contact information provided on the invoice to submit your insurance information for billing.


Who is Doing the Billing?

The City has entered into an agreement with a professional billing service, Wittman Enterprises, who specializes in fire department fee recovery. This was done because Wittman Enterprises has an established relationship with the insurance industry, an acceptable rate of return for recovering costs, and charges a reasonable rate for this service. We determined there was no way our existing administrative staff could have taken on this additional work and been as successful in fee recovery as an established company.

Do I Need to Pay This Bill?

No, you only need to provide your insurance information. If you have received an invoice, please use the contact information provided on the invoice to submit your insurance information. If you do not have insurance, use the contact information provided on the invoice to let them know.

 

I have Medical/Medicaid. Do I have to pay the First Responder Fee?

No. Please use the contact information on the invoice to let them know you have Medical/Medicaid.

Do I Have to Pay a Portion of the Bill If My Insurance Does Not Cover the Entire Balance?

No. The City uses a compassionate billing concept and accepts any payment as the full payment for the First Responder Fee obligation.

 

What If I Do Not Have Medical Insurance Coverage?

If a patient does not have medical insurance, the patient should immediately notify Wittman Enterprises which will cease any further billing notifications. There is no out-of-pocket expense for patients receiving services from the Fire Department, even if the patient is uninsured.

I Received a Bill from Medic Ambulance, Why Am I Receiving a Second Bill?

The First Responder Fee is a separate billable item than the ambulance transport fee.

How Did this Process Get Approved or Adopted?

This concept was first introduced to Vallejo City Council during a budget study session in February 2017. Based on direction received at the meeting, on May 2017 staff introduced and City Council approved the First Responder Fee ordinance.

Don’t my Taxes Cover this Service? Why is the City doing this?

Local fire agencies have far expanded their original duty of fighting fires and responding to emergencies. Originally, only basic medical services were provided (splints, CPR, etc.). Today, more than 80% of all calls the fire department responds to are for advanced life support, including intubations and the use of defibrillators. The challenge for fire departments is to ensure revenues match the increasing expenses for providing this essential public service. This change in balance from traditional fire suppression to medical services has shifted the rationale for financing fire department operations toward a combination of general fund revenues and user fees, instead of solely from general fund revenues. This combination will create a more sustainable funding source by providing revenues beyond property tax assessments.

How are First Responder Fee rates determined?

First Responder Fee rates vary by city but are generally determined by totaling the hourly benefitted rate of an engine, truck company, or squad personnel response, apparatus fuel, equipment, maintenance and/or lease costs, administrative staff and billing support, and disposable medical supplies used by first responders. The rate is set in the most recent Fee Schedule.

Why is my medical insurance carrier responsible for paying this fee?

Pre-hospital care is considered to be a critical component of the healthcare system is saving lives resulting in the support of most medical insurance carriers covering First Responder Fees.

Are other fire departments charging the same or similar fees?

Yes. The implementation and collection of First Responder Fees has become an industry standard to fund the enhanced paramedic level of service provided by fire department resources and their staffing.

What if I Have Additional Questions?

Please contact Wittman Enterprises for any questions about billing. They may be contacted at (866) 385-6552.