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    Sturgis seeks ambulance service fee for rally campgrounds

    February 25, 2019

    STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — The city of Sturgis wants campgrounds outside city limits to pay as much as $5,100 to secure ambulance service during this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

    City manager Daniel Ainslie said last week that ambulance calls to campgrounds during the annual festival lead to “a significant cost” but no reimbursement. Ainslie said repayment for ambulance services by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance coverage is limited.

    The proposed advance payments range from $300 to $5,100 per campground and are based on the number of ambulances called to campgrounds during the 2018 rally, the Rapid City Journal reported. Those with one to four calls last year would pay $650, those with five to nine calls would pay $1,850, and a fee of $5,100 would be charged to those that had 10 or more calls.

    Campgrounds that don’t pay the fees by May 15 won’t receive city ambulance service.

    Rod Woodruff, Buffalo Chip Campground owner, said his campground has a full staff of EMT-trained security that confirms the validity of an ambulance call and then transports a patient to a pickup point.

    “We’re doing that just to help the ambulance service to keep their costs down and eliminate the false calls,” he said.

    Other campground owners strongly oppose the upfront fees, saying their campsites bring in thousands of rally-goers who spend millions of dollars in Sturgis every August.

    “They basically have told us if we don’t submit and pay, they’ll deny us ambulance services and we’re not OK with that,” said R.J. Ludwick, of No Name City Campground, located between Sturgis and Tilford along Interstate 90.

    The Sturgis City Council is set to discuss the proposal on April 15.

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    Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com