A third of patients don't pay ambulance bills
Posted: Mar 30, 2010 3:23 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2010 5:03 PM
LEE COUNTY [Florida]: One third of patients who depend on emergency transportation services in Lee County don't pay their bills. The county is left writing off the debt.
Every year, ambulances in Lee County make more than 52,000 trips transporting patients in the air and on the ground.
Last year $8.2 million in emergency transportation bills went unpaid.
More than half the debt comes from companies like Medicare and Medicaid, which are contracted to only pay a certain amount.
Private insurers and patients owe the rest.
"We realize there will be individuals who can't pay and we just have to accept that," said David Kainrad, Lee County Division of Public Safety.
In what has turned into an annual vote, Lee County Commissioners pardoned the patients who used county EMS but never paid their bill.
County commissioners raised EMS rates last week. It's the first fee increase in five years, but higher rates will mean higher bad debt.
It's a process one county commissioner says is inherently flawed.
"It's not fair to make that one honest American who's been saving bills all his life and has the $3000 in the bank and make him pay and all those other guys take a walk. It's not fair," said Commissioner Frank Mann.
"You take the bad with the good. You look at hospitals, doctors, we're all faced with that situation with medical care, and we realize that," said Kainrad.
Edited by Dustdevil, 02 April 2010 - 07:23 AM.