Fees for 911 calls without transport
By Kitty Conley firstname.lastname@example.org March 20, 2013 9:48AM
Updated: May 20, 2013 2:21AM
CROWN POINT — Fire Chief Greg DeLor received permission from the Board of Public Works and Safety on March 13 to amend the emergency medical services billing schedule.
The amendment covers times 911 calls are made and the person that the paramedics treat refuses transportation to the hospital. Under those conditions there has been no way to process a bill for services.
DeLor told the board that when those ambulances and rescue vehicles go out with the paramedics, CPFD is expending a lot of time but has no way of billing for either Advanced Life Services or Basic Life Services.
The board agreed that billing for BLS for city residents will be $100 and for out-of-area will be $150. The ALS will be billed for one service charge.
Accident responses and welfare checks will not be charged.
City Attorney David Nicholls said, “It has become obvious that certain citizens are abusing this service.”
Board member Tim Grzych suggested, “After so many calls you take that person to the hospital anyway.”
DeLor answered, “We can’t do that. That would be kidnapping.”
Grzych said, “Then call the family and tell them dad or mom are abusing the services.”
Mayor David Uran said the law doesn’t allow that.
DeLor added, “Don’t be too sure that all the people calling are senior citizens. They are not. We had one place we went to 40 times and not one transport. This should be handled by Home Health Care.
“The other is being called out for people with diabetes that have allowed their blood sugar to drop to the point of becoming unconscious. We are called out and start an IV and as soon as the patient is conscious they refuse transport (to the hospital),” said DeLor.
“At that point they may have been with the patient for anywhere from a half an hour to an hour. The ambulance and personnel are out of service for that length of time, so we need to call in off-duty people to back up at the station. That means that instead of paying four paramedics to man the two ambulances the city is now paying six people to man three ambulances, or possibly eight people to man four ambulances. The fees that the city collects from transportation billing pays for the use of the supplies and vehicles as well as pay of the people working.”
The calls can be basic support, such as helping someone who’s fallen get up. There are also calls where aramedics put a splint on a broken arm or leg or start an IV, but then the patient refuses to ride in the ambulance to the hospital, getting a ride from someone else.
The chief told the board that one person has already called 911 for BLS aid 17 times since Jan. 1, and another person nine times. There has also been one person who has called and received ALS services four times this year. They all have refused transport.
Uran said the city wants this to remain revenue neutral.