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Medstar loses a guaranteed revenue stream as the City of Fort Worth tightens its

Medstar, the ambulance service for Fort Worth and 15 surrounding cities, will be losing a $1.6 million dollar subsidy from the City of Fort Worth as the city leaders try to find new ways to close the $73 million dollar budget gap they were facing for 2011. The subsidies are used to lower the costs of services to the people of that city that provides Medstar with the subsidy, and only 5 of the 15 cities in Medstar’s coverage area choose to provide a subsidy to the ambulance service.

But by losing the subsidy, it does not mean that Medstar will have to cut back on services provided or quality of care delivered by the service. The difference will come in when a person with no insurance will have to pay more; where before some of the cost could be absorbed by the subsidy given to Medstar by the City of Ft Worth.

In order to deal with the rising costs of ambulance transports and the possibility of the subsidy programs not existing in the future, Medstar has instituted a membership plan to generate revenue and to help keep costs down for those who do happen to get sick or injured.

Medstar Star Saver Membership Information


  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    I have noticed a few items in this story that are inaccurate, so I wanted to post a clarification.

    The story indicates that only those without insurance will bear additional costs for transport under the new subsidy-free system in Fort Worth. This is not so.

    MedStar operates on a cost-recovery basis and is a not-for-profit entity under the purveiw of the 15 member cities. In a city which does not provide a subsidy, the user cost is higher than in a city where part of that cost is buffered by a subsidy.

    As the subsidy was applied uniformly to user cost under Fort Worth’s previous pay structure, the change in that structure will also be uniformly distributed across all patients. In Fort Worth, this will mean that a patient bill will increase just over $350 per transport.

    Also, the story indicates that the Membership program has been instituted to generate revenue to cover the loss of subsidy revenue. This is also not the case.

    The MedStar “Star Saver Membership Program” has been in place for more than 25 years and offers residents and those employed in the 15 cities of MedStar’s service area an opportunity to keep potential transport costs low for themselves and their family members.

    Membership fees represent a mere 1.2% of MedStar’s total revenue. Obviously, this is not a program that has been designed to or could possibly cover the loss of tax subsidies.

    The current healthcare system allows cities a choice about subsidies and MedStar to recoup enough revenue to cover costs. However, the landscape of healthcare is changing and whether this model will remain a viable option has yet to be seen.

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