84-Year-Old Who Wanted To Walk To Get MRI Next Door Charged For $3,000 Ambulance


By zzyzzx   Follow   Mon, 19 Nov 2012, 12:53pm   1,339 views   25 comments
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http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/11/16/call-kurtis-investigates-84-year-old-charge-3000-for-ambulance-ride-next-door/

Tom Kosta estimates seventy five yards separates the hospital from the medical offices next door where he had his MRI. The 84 year old doesn’t understand why the short ambulance ride would cost so much.

“It’s a lot of money, it really is,” said Tom.

Already admitted to Lodi Memorial for dizziness, Tom needed an MRI and the closest machine was next door.

“$3000 to go from here to there?” Kurtis asked Tom.

“It’s ridiculous #1 and it wasn’t my idea #2,” said Tom.

After all, Tom says he told the nurses he could walk or go by wheelchair.

“They said absolutely not, I had to go by ambulance,” said Tom.

Lodi Memorial called for the ambulance. Hospital spokesperson Carol Farron says it’s for patient safety, even for such a short distance.

“It’s not just our policy, it’s every single hospital policy,” said Farron.

But now ambulance company, American Medical Response wants Tom to pay his portion ($1,628.58) of the $3,089.78 insurance won’t cover for a ride according to Google maps should take just 13-seconds each way.

“I didn’t want them to turn me into collectors after 84 years. I certainly didn’t want them to ruin my credit,” said Tom.

“It’s an outrageous figure,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access, a non-profit consumer advocacy group.

Wright says clearly this $3,000 plus bill is inflated.

“That’s not what it costs… and it’s 4 to 5 times what insurance pays,” said Wright.

“How could you charge $3000 for such a short trip?” Kurtis asked David Durand with American Medical Response.

“I understand what you’re saying,” said Durand.

Durand realizes it doesn’t look good. He says medical costs are high in part to cover the 50% to 60% of patients who don’t have money to pay for their ambulance rides. His company estimates they get paid 12 cents for every dollar billed, which raises the price for those who can pay. The government has limited reimbursement. For patients with Medi-cal, the average payment is around $140 for a trip including mileage.

“$3000 seems ridiculous to go such a short distance?” Kurtis asked Durand.

“It does and what you need to understand is, we’re a private company, there are no taxpayer dollars that subsidize what we do,” said Durand.

Typically an 84-year-old would have Medicare Part B coverage, which would pay a contracted rate to cover the ambulance ride. Tom is still working full time at his age and has private insurance which wouldn’t cover the full amount.

However after got involved, AMR looked at the circumstances and felt for Tom’s ability to pay, wiping the debt off the books.

“For less than $3000, I could get a round trip ticket to North Carolina to visit my grandchildren,” Tom said.

American Medical Response says patients should realize they’re paying for paramedics to be on standby 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, not just for the time they’re transporting you.

They were on standby the entire time Tom was getting his MRI, in case something went wrong.

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  1. elliemae


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    1   6:38am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)   Protected  

    zzyzzx says

    American Medical Response says patients should realize they’re paying for paramedics to be on standby 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, not just for the time they’re transporting you.
    They were on standby the entire time Tom was getting his MRI, in case something went wrong.

    Technically, the paramedics are on stand-by right now, waiting for old Tom to trip & fall...

    My local ambulance company, owned by the good ol boy family, pays shit wages & no benefits. They provide good service, but really - how "good" can it be if the paramedic is making $8/hr part time and his family qualifies for food stamps? Another company is trying to come into the area and the good ol boys, who own multiple houses, cabins, autos and think their shit doesn't stink, post horrible comments onlne to anyone who dares to criticize them.

    I wish they'd just plain go out of business and have to live on the amounts that their loyal employees have attempted to live on for so long. But I digress...

    I worked for a hospital that built a maternity center across the parking lot from the emergency room. A lonnnnnnnnng way across the parking lot. When a baby coded, those docs had to run their asses off. and they had to call a critical care pediatric ambulance (10x the cost of a regular one) to transport the chilren across the parking lot. It was bad design.

    I would have told them to go fuck themselves and walked anyway. They can't stop you.

  2. upisdown


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    2   6:50am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    3000 bucks for a short ambulance ride. Ridiculous!!!! And yet he still did it. And he got a MRI. go figure, one of the most expensive diagnostic tests there is. With a pocket full of Viagra, and the lifetime prescription to boot.

  3. zzyzzx


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    3   6:51am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I bet policy of the staff of the medical office was dictated by their legal staff.

    If I were that 84 year old guy I'd sue them for the cost of the copayment.

  4. upisdown


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    4   6:56am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    I bet policy of the staff of the medical office was dictated by their legal staff.
    If I were that 84 year old guy I'd sue them for the cost of the copayment.

    LOL, Is it really an issue at all? They should have stuck his dumb ass in the psych ward and gone full retro on him with some shock therapy. But, they chose a MRI instead, because of cost.

    Ahhh, the yore of yesteryear by the "tough" generation. Tales of woe and endurance followed up by requests for a ride to the Dr.'s office to get their toenails cut, because Medicare pays for it.

  5. lostand confused


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    5   7:03am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    Typically an 84-year-old would have Medicare Part B coverage, which would pay a contracted rate to cover the ambulance ride. Tom is still working full time at his age and has private insurance which wouldn’t cover the full amount.

    There, that is the problem. He works full time and still has private insurance. No country for hard working people.

  6. upisdown


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    6   7:08am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    lostand confused says

    zzyzzx says

    Typically an 84-year-old would have Medicare Part B coverage, which would pay a contracted rate to cover the ambulance ride. Tom is still working full time at his age and has private insurance which wouldn’t cover the full amount.
    There, that is the problem. He works full time and still has private insurance. No country for hard working people.

    Yea, that's the problem. Not the uselss and moronic idea to walk into an ER and tell them he's dizzy, and they want to send him next door for a fucking MRI. You're right, that's the problem.

    Maybe he got his toenails clipped while he was there.

  7. lostand confused


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    7   7:11am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    upisdown says

    Yea, that's the problem. Not the uselss and moronic idea to walk into an ERE and tell them he's dizzy, and they want to send him next door for a fucking MRI. You're right, that's the problem.
    Maybe he got his toenails clipped while he was there.

    Really? Did you read where he said he wanted to walk and they refused and the hospital insisted he take the ambulance.

  8. upisdown


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    8   7:16am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    lostand confused says

    Did you read where he said he wanted to walk and they refused and the hospital insisted he take the ambulance.

    And did he???????? You think that the med facility/Dr. let somebody that stupid get out the door without some type of wheelchair, hoveround, etc.?? Fuck him, he's 84 and he works f/t and pays for private insurance? LOL. Take a guess at what his premiums are.

  9. lostand confused


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    9   7:20am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    upisdown says

    And did he???????? You think that the med facility/Dr. let somebody that stupid get out the door without some type of wheelchair, hoveround, etc.?? Fuck him, he's 84 and he works f/t and pays for private insurance? LOL. Take a guess at what his premiums are.

    Again did you read? He said he can walk or take a wheelchair. The hospital said no. What exactly is your problem with this guy?

  10. zzyzzx


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    10   7:24am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    If I were dictator, anyone who charged $3000 for an across the parking lot ambulance ride would be drawn and quartered.

  11. upisdown


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    11   7:26am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    No problems with him whatsoever, although I'm surprised that somebody that stupid has lived that long.

    Let's recap. He's dizzy, and goes to a hospital. They want to send him some place for a MRI. And, they want to transport him in an ambulance. And he did as they said, and only bitched when he got the bill. Did they do it with force or against his will and protests??

    The key word is after.

  12. upisdown


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    12   7:31am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    lostand confused says

    Again did you read? He said he can walk or take a wheelchair. The hospital said no. What exactly is your problem with this guy?

    What's the probability that he's doing physical therapy of some sort?

  13. upisdown


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    13   12:11pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    lostand confused says

    Really? Did you read where he said he wanted to walk and they refused and the hospital insisted he take the ambulance.

    I wondered if you would continue, basically I was hoping that you would because I had just one question for you to ponder.

    How did that 84 y/o man get to the hospital?

  14. lostand confused


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    14   12:16pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    upisdown says

    I wondered if you would continue, basically I was hoping that you would because I had just one question for you to ponder.
    How did that 84 y/o man get to the hospital?

    Ask him. I know of an 88 yr old woman who rides her horse everyday. Just because somebody reaches 80, does not mean they become an invalid.

  15. leo707


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    15   12:23pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    upisdown says

    And, they want to transport him in an ambulance. And he did as they said, and only bitched when he got the bill. Did they do it with force or against his will and protests??

    The key word is after.

    You seem to be assuming that they told him how much it was going to cost before he took the trip. It has been my experience that it is almost impossible to find out how much things are going to cost until after you get the bill.

  16. upisdown


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    16   12:33pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    leo707 says

    You seem to be assuming that they told him how much it was going to cost before he took the trip. It has been my experience that it is almost impossible to find out how much things are going to cost until after you get the bill.

    I'm not assuming anything. He has Medicare AND private insurance. He, maybe reluctantly, got into the ambulance because he was NOT worried about the cost. Of course after he got the bill and realized that it was the dumbest thing imaginable to do that, AND the insurance wasn't going to pay for all of that cost either, ONLY THEN does he throw a fit and complain. Somebody pays for it, and the geasers and boomers need to finally realize ER's are for things more important than to give out cold medicine and provide company because they're lonely.

    Did he use an ambulance to get to the hospital oriiginally?

  17. leo707


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    17   12:45pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    upisdown says

    He, maybe reluctantly, got into the ambulance because he was NOT worried about the cost.

    He initially tried to refuse the ambulance ride, but had to be convinced. The most probable reason to refuse an ambulance is the cost. He is probably aware that he would be responsible for about 1/2. Having no idea what the actual cost to him would be he probably guessed it would be expensive, but something significantly less than what it was.

    upisdown says

    Somebody pays for it

    He did pay for it.

    upisdown says

    Did he use an ambulance to get to the hospital oriiginally?

    Probably not, and I would guess that is the reason why he thought he could make the walk down the block to get an MRI.

  18. upisdown


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    18   12:51pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    However after got involved, AMR looked at the circumstances and felt for Tom’s ability to pay, wiping the debt off the books.

    No, he didn't. His ploy of whining to the media worked.

  19. YesYNot


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    19   2:33pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    upisdown,

    Let's say you go to the hospital and agreed to pay whatever your insurance did not cover. Then, you go in, and a nurse gives you an aspirin and you take it. Then, the hospital charges you $1,000,000 for the aspirin. Would you pay it? You would probably refuse, because $1,000,000 is unreasonable for an aspirin. If that is the case, then, it is only a matter of trying to figure out what is 'reasonable'.

    It is difficult to determine a price for service after the service is rendered, but hospitals make it impossible to do otherwise. Hospitals never tell you what something will cost ahead of time.

  20. upisdown


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    20   3:10pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    YesYNot says

    Let's say you go to the hospital and agreed to pay whatever your insurance did not cover.

    No, let's not. It's immaterial to the OP above, which has it's own facts and details.

  21. YesYNot


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    21   4:53pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    It is the same thing.

  22. RentingForHalfTheCost


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    22   5:01pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Well, the ambulance drivers do have to pay for their overpriced house. What do you expect. Bottom line is, never ask anyone to do something that you can do yourself. When they object, ask them if they can force you to stay. Answer is mostly always no. So then you go. Don't it many times with hospitals.

  23. Dan8267


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    23   5:23pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    All it takes is for government to send a few CEOs of these corporations to pound-me-ass prison for a few years for felony grand fraud and all this nonsense will stop.

  24. upisdown


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    24   5:35pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    YesYNot says

    It is the same thing.

    He was already admitted to the hospital for "dizziness". What a shocker, the health scare industry is more than willing to admit him to the hospital and test him in every way possible, of course only performing the tests that they get paid for by his insurannce and/or Medicare.

    That sector always needs bodies(sometimes the scam is pulled with stolen identities) to bill Medicare and insurance. And the entitled generation that has lived through cheap and accessible health care to today's prices, but practically 100% of their life somebody else or some entity has foot the bill for their BS ailments. That's why they go to the hospital for "dizziness" and climb into an ambulance to go next door for an expensive diagnostic test. They don't want for access and treatment by the health scare industry at all, to include massive numbers of prescriptions too.

  25. elliemae


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    25   10:57am Thu 22 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)   Protected  

    Once you're admitted, you are at their mercy. The guy was following the medical advice he was given. The situation sucks - however, they've got you over a barrel at that point.

    One of the "tricks" that providers use is to tell you that the bill will be denied if you are "non-compliant." That's a crock of shit, even if you leave AMA your bill is normally paid. If you do it repeatedly they might deny it, but not in most cases.

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