Non emergency calls causeing problems

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N_Jay

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Not amazing at all.

It should be expected. Provide a good for free and it will be over consumed.
 

N2JDS

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YES, it happens every day. I've been a medic for 25 years, and you can't beleive some of the reasons we've been called. One time I had to walk out of the house, when a patient called for us to check her tempature. We had one guy who would call for a ride and claim chest pains, problem was a liquor store was down the street from ER, and he had no ride to that, you can see where this is heading. Problem is, we don't have the authority to refuse transport, at least to the people that have family standing right there, and could take somebody in for that elbow pain or whatever BS they have.
 
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Not "Sad but true", just "True".

Too bad the people we elect to run our government don't grasp this simple fact.
You're blaming the wrong people...you should be blaming the lawyers.
I've been an EMT since 1978, and back then we COULD refuse to transport people who did not warrant a 9-1-1 ambulance ride.
Enter the lawyers, a couple of lawsuits, and we can't do that anymore.
And that's not a liberal or conservative issue, either. BOTH sides are in bed with the legal profession (most politicians are lawyers).
 

jeffreyinberthoud

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"most politicians are lawyers" At the risk of turning this political I agree with BOB

The American legislature is not very representative of The People really... they are more in hock to special interests via relationships carefully cultivated over long periods of time. Term limits on congressmen and senators anyone?
 
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N_Jay

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You're blaming the wrong people...you should be blaming the lawyers.
I've been an EMT since 1978, and back then we COULD refuse to transport people who did not warrant a 9-1-1 ambulance ride.
Enter the lawyers, a couple of lawsuits, and we can't do that anymore.
And that's not a liberal or conservative issue, either. BOTH sides are in bed with the legal profession (most politicians are lawyers).

When I was an EMT in the very early '80s we could not refuse transportation without "medical control" telling us to.

While it is true that many politicians are lawyers, there is a significant difference between the parties.

Read this:
American Thinker: The Lawyers' Party
 

kc7mwp

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I have a friend that lives in Colorado Springs. The neighbor is a hypochondriac and call 911 for almost everything, and they have to respond. One day one of the EMT inquired as to the condition of her prostrate. She said it was killing her. A smile was had by some even though they couldnt do anything about it.
 

jimmnn

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The point of the initial article Charles posted is sort of being lost in this political discussion, Western Eagle County Ambulance (WCAD) and at least one other service in the state are going to begin to try the Community Paramedic model which has been successful in reducing this system abuse in many other rural areas of the country.

http://www.communityparamedic.org/

Jim<
 

Warbirdhunter

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The point of the initial article Charles posted is sort of being lost in this political discussion, Western Eagle County Ambulance (WCAD) and at least one other service in the state are going to begin to try the Community Paramedic model which has been successful in reducing this system abuse in many other rural areas of the country.

communityparamedic.org > Home

Jim<
Great link. Thanks Jim!
 

MikeyB

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The article mentions that the average ambulance call is $300-$400. I'm assuming this is what Denver Health charges? Just curious what the actual 'break-even' charge for an ambulance call is? Most agencies seem to charge a per call fee + mileage + supplies + procedures (see Littleton Fire website, etc.). But since the paramedics are paid a salary regardless of number of calls that would be a fixed cost. So what I'm asking is how much more a 1 hour EMS call is versus if the crew was in-service for that hour. This would be 'at-cost' for the agency for gas, supplies, etc. not the amount they actually charge. In other words how much they would have to charge to break even.
 
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N_Jay

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The article mentions that the average ambulance call is $300-$400. I'm assuming this is what Denver Health charges? Just curious what the actual 'break-even' charge for an ambulance call is? Most agencies seem to charge a per call fee + mileage + supplies + procedures (see Littleton Fire website, etc.). But since the paramedics are paid a salary regardless of number of calls that would be a fixed cost. So what I'm asking is how much more a 1 hour EMS call is versus if the crew was in-service for that hour. This would be 'at-cost' for the agency for gas, supplies, etc. not the amount they actually charge. In other words how much they would have to charge to break even.
You are asking a simple question with a complicated answer.

Think about all the MANY things that go into providing the "service" of one call.
Salaries are one, but you have equipment, disposables, fuel, etc.
Then add a portion of all fixed costs, vehicle, building, etc.
Then add a factor for intangibles, training, support staff, overhead, etc.

Welcome to the field of "Management accounting".

Now, are you interested in only the variable costs associated with a specific run, or a average run or the marginal cost of a specific run or typical run, or the total assignable cost, or the total allotted costs?

Sorry, just having fun.
OK, it was never "fun", but more like a challenge. ;)
 

MikeyB

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You are asking a simple question with a complicated answer.

Think about all the MANY things that go into providing the "service" of one call.
Salaries are one, but you have equipment, disposables, fuel, etc.
Then add a portion of all fixed costs, vehicle, building, etc.
Then add a factor for intangibles, training, support staff, overhead, etc.

Welcome to the field of "Management accounting".

Now, are you interested in only the variable costs associated with a specific run, or a average run or the marginal cost of a specific run or typical run, or the total assignable cost, or the total allotted costs?

Sorry, just having fun.
OK, it was never "fun", but more like a challenge. ;)
No question there was a lot of variables - but for simplification this is what I meant. There is a fire service based EMS that shares it station with an Engine company. Not looking for any portion of the fixed costs or intangibles. I'm just looking at a single EMS call where they go out for say a fainted party no meds, only transport. Just curious when they quote an article how much is actual direct cost to the department just for that call vs. unrealized revenue when the bill isn't paid.
By the way, I agree this is a terrible use of EMS! It does cost money to the city/agency to pick up a fake call and it puts them out of service. Seems people are always suing the agency or city for something, why can't they do the same to these bogus call-makers? Or better yet someone who dies because the unit was out picking up Mr. drive-me-by-the-bank sues that person (even though they don't have any money to be recovered but to make a principal out of it). Can't Denver for example have a one-person community-wide unit to respond to bogus calls and then make the bogus calls wait for a single ambulance that responds city-wide with 2 EMT-B pick them up? Might make them think twice if they have to wait 2 hours for the ambulance!
 
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N_Jay

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You are never going to get to a suitable answer.

It could be as low as fuel and a fresh set of sheets.
 

Toneslider12

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The cost vs bennefit for a fire department really isn't that great generally. Its a win for the department because they get more firefighters on the street and a win for the community because they get highly trained medics at their door fast. The problem rises not even from non-emergent incidents but from transports where people don't have insurance or can't pay. Most departments run their EMS budget from EMS earnings for the most part, if EMS earnings are down then what? Money has start coming from other places and usually its more from our tax dollars.

I'm not an expert on the subject but most FD's are starting to see that it costs more money to run fire based ambulances than its worth.
 
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The cost vs bennefit for a fire department really isn't that great generally. Its a win for the department because they get more firefighters on the street and a win for the community because they get highly trained medics at their door fast. The problem rises not even from non-emergent incidents but from transports where people don't have insurance or can't pay. Most departments run their EMS budget from EMS earnings for the most part, if EMS earnings are down then what? Money has start coming from other places and usually its more from our tax dollars.

I'm not an expert on the subject but most FD's are starting to see that it costs more money to run fire based ambulances than its worth.
Very true, Eric.
When a department in El Paso County started their own transport services a few years back, they funded it 100% with fees (insurance, medicare/medicaid, etc). Over the last couple of years, however, the collections have declined, mostly due to a large reduction in medicare/medicaid reimbursement. The city has had to dump tax money into the fire department to subsidize the ambulance service. Since the community seems to like having that service provided my the fire department, there hasn't been much complaining, but that won't work everywhere.
My department has long talked about providing transport services, but I don't think it will ever happen. The population we serve is, in many cases, barely above the poverty line, so they don't have insurance, and meager federal reimbursement won't cover all of the costs.
To top it off, you have to add in the enormous start-up costs: Ambulances ($100K each?), equipment, and of course staff. It would take a long time to recoup that, if it ever happened. Top that off with a private company that is already doing a good job providing the service, and you kind of run out of good reasons to even bother with it...
 
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