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A third of patients don't pay ambulance bills

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18 replies to this topic

#1 Dustdevil


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Posted 02 April 2010 - 07:23 AM

All those genius fire chiefs who browbeat their city councils into approving FD takeovers of EMS as a financial measure FAIL to tell the truth. Selfish, lying bastards.


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.

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:41 AM

...and to add insult to injury, you can't balance bill medicare like you can other insurance payments. At least with balance billing you stand a chance to recuperate at least part of what insurance doesn't reimburse for.
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#3 spenac

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 02:31 PM

Only a third? Wish we had 2 thirds pay.
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#4 Kiwiology

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 02:37 PM

Our part charges are a bit of a touchy issue; I've seen around that the Service writes off a portion of debt that is "large", "significant", "substantial" or something like that.

Fee-for-service is unusual in our universal healthcare system but Ambulance is one of the few Health services that directly charges for use.
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#5 firedoc5


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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:59 PM

It's just like how ER's and hospitals don't get paid everything. Too many people use the ER as a free clinic and ignore the bill. At least in the city I was in they considered us a free taxi sometimes. We'd have people call us for a minor "emergency" and would request a certain hospital in different areas of town. We'd take them, get them in the ER and as soon the nurse see's them they request to leave AMA even before being seen or examined. At one hosp. it was a 200 yrd walk to one of the malls. Do you think they are going to pay anything??? Yea, hold on to that dream.
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