First Responder Fee

1.  What is the First Responder Fee?

A First Responder Fee is charged to insurance companies  of patients who are treated or evaluated by Benicia Firefighters for medical service.      

2.   Why have I received a First Responder Fee Notice? 

You have received this bill because the Benicia Fire Department responded to a 9-1-1 call from you or someone representing you and a medical assessment was performed. 

3.  Do I need to pay the Notice? 

No, the bill has also been sent directly to your insurance company.  The copy you have received in the mail is for information only.  

4.  Do I need to pay a portion of the Notice if my insurance does not cover the entire balance?

No, the City will utilize a compassionate billing concept and accept any payment by an insurance company as the full payment for the First Responder Fee obligation. 

5.  What if I do not have insurance? 

There is no out-of-pocket expense for patients receiving services from the Fire Department, even if the patient is uninsured. 

6.  What are the fees based on? 

The $482 fee per call is based on cost recovery for providing an Advance Life Support (ALS) engine company to all calls for service as well as associated fees for equipment and supplies.  This amount was calculated based on a comprehensive fee study conducted by NBS Government Finance consulting group.  

7.  Don't my taxes cover this service? 

The principle rationale for a First Responder Fee is that local government fire department services have expanded well beyond the traditional fire suppression generally supported by property taxes.  The change in balance from fire suppression to medical services has shifted the rationale for financing fire department operations from primarily property-related taxes to a combination of property taxes and user fees.  As our department has transitioned to provide trained staff for both fire suppression and medical services, there were no additional taxes or increases in our budget to absorb the costs to provide these services.  Regardless of the number of incidents we respond to, we must maintain our apparatus, equipment, skills/training, and certifications for both fighting fires and providing emergency medical services.

8.  What if I have additional questions?

Email firedept@ci.benicia.ca.us or call the Fire Department at 707-746-4275. Fire personnel will reply to your message as soon as possible.