Audit Report on LAFD EMS Billing and Collections Processes

Everyday, people in the City of Los Angeles depend on the dedicated professionals of the Fire Department to provide them with emergency medical services (EMS). EMS calls make up the lion’s share of calls to which fire department personnel are dispatched. In 2014, EMS calls made u p 84 percent of all Fire Department dispatches — with LAFD personnel responding to 361,030 medical incidents and rushing to the aid of people facing lifethreatening emergencies, like traffic accident injuries, heart attacks and assaults.

To recoup some of the costs associated with providing emergency medical services, the City bills Medicare, MediCal, private insurers and individuals for its services. Gross billings in FY 201314 were $271 million. During the same period, the City collected $68 million, or 25 percent, of the total billed. This rate is due primarily to relatively low reimbursements from Medicare and MediCal, and from the large percentage of uninsured patients that the LAFD has historically treated.