This brief serves to fill the information void on the
costs of running ambulance services for three
population-based service tiers and establishes a minimum
access standard for ambulances servicing a 25-minute
travel time radius from the ambulance station. The model
enables policymakers and community stakeholders to
develop strategic plans for the financing and provision
of ambulance services.
An expert panel established that ambulances could
reasonably serve a maximum 25-minute travel time from the
ambulance station that accounts for road conditions.
A minimum access standard was defined as a single
resource consisting of one full-time staffed ambulance,
with a second unit "on-call", supported by a chief.
Based on this minimum access standard, the population
density within an ambulance service area, and the
expected run volume, the expert panel established three
population-based service tiers and estimated
corresponding start-up and annual service costs.
Total annual budgets scale up from approximately
$964,200 in 2020 dollars ($1.04 million in 2023 dollars)
in low volume service areas (with as few as 25 responses
per year) to $2.09 million in 2020 dollars ($2.25 million
in 2023 dollars) in high volume service areas (with 1,500
- 2,200 responses per year).
Breakeven analyses suggest that low volume agencies
experience operating costs of approximately $41,500 (in
2023 dollars) per response, while high volume agencies
experience operating costs of roughly $1,020 per
Maine Rural Health Research Center
Yvonne Jonk, Gary Wingrove, Nikiah Nudell, Kevin McGinnis