Is EMS Cost-effective?
EMS systems are expensive to operate. The true economic burden of EMS is widely distributed and therefore well hidden from view. In the Medicare program alone, more than $2.5 billion is spent for patient transportation. It is estimated that $5 billion is spent on EMS in the United States each year. More detail on the costs of the EMS system is available in the document describing the Negotiated Rule Making process on EMS reimbursement sponsored by the Health Care Financing Administration on the Internet at www.hcfa.gov/medicare/comstate.htm.23 The incremental costs and benefits of different levels of EMS care are poorly quantified24 and remain the subjects of ongoing studies.25,26