The Board of Supervisors has OKd charging for ambulance service, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. Strictly speaking, the county isn’t charging for ambulance service, they’re simply giving permission to the Hollymead and Monticello fire stations to charge for service if they see fit, as well as the volunteer rescue squads. The county anticipates that the costs will be picked up by people’s health insurance, with Dennis Rooker saying that this allows the county to “obtain some fees for services that are generally picked up by third parties other than our citizens.” About a third of the state’s localities have similar arrangements. The BoS hasn’t specified how much that may be charged. This is only the first of a series of steps necessary to put the fees into place, so there’s no charge right now.
7 thoughts on “BoS Approves Charging for Ambulance Service”
This is an interesting concept due to the way that response zones are divided in the county. For instance, Monticello Fire Rescue usually only staffs 1 ambulance at any given time. If two calls come out very close to each other (temporally) in their response zone, the first would be handled by Monticello and CARS would take the second. In that instance, the first person would be charged and the second person would not be charged (under the current plan).
The same situation could occur north of town as well, such as areas near the airport. Will the county stop CARS from being the backup service simply so revenue can be generated? If so, then emergency response times will be affected.
I personally like the part if the volunteer rescue squads want to charge, they will have to apply for a permit from the county. Looks like the county want to control the money. It appears on the surface that the county will be making money off the backs of volunteers? (Yes, there is some county employees on those volunteer trucks, but a lot of volunteers are in those ambulances.)
This could make responses very complicated at the University – where technically many parts of it are in the county. If the county-staffed CARS ambulance responds to UVA, one sidewalk could incur you a hefty bill, while another sidewalk would be free.
Seems to me that the BOS will next force the rescue squads to charge for service in order to receive any monetary support from the county. If that becomes the case – then the money generated should go directly to the squad that collects the revenue. If Scottsville rescue squad runs a call, then the money goes directly to Scottsville rescue squad. Otherwise, the volunteers become unpaid revenue-generating employees of the county.
Western Albemarle Rescue receives no funding from the county – so if they don’t charge for service, we could have a very complicated system in the county where if you live on one block you get charged, but if you live on another block you don’t.
Maybe they’ll have one of those credit card scanners in the meat wagon so they can scan you before you get any oxygen.
What will happen if the client refuses to pay anything? What enforcement powers are the BoS planning to put into place?
BTW, medicare does not pay 100% of any bill. It pays 80% of what it considers an allowable cost. The “insured” is responsible for the rest.
Here is a response by Rooker. Actually it indicates to me he hasn’t done much study of this issue:http://cvilletomorrow.typepad.com/charlottesville_tomorrow_/2009/09/albemarle-ems-recovery.html#c6a00d834519bec69e20120a5c4958a970c
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