Ambulance fees don
Sometimes a family member or a neighbor will call 911 if it looks like someone needs help or people will call 911 if they see an accident, said McBee. An ambulance will be dispatched to the scene.
When the crew gets there, they may find that the person isn't hurt and doesn't need an ambulance, he said. For those "good intent" calls, there is no charge, said McBee.
"Those are zero income calls. There's no reimbursement for those situations. These things happen. It's the nature of 911," said McBee.
Insurance scene is complex
Those with health insurance receive an explanation of benefits that tells patients how much insurance has paid for their ambulance call and to whom anything else is owed, said McBee.
Some coinsurance may waive deductibles for emergency transport, but it varies from company to company, said McBee.
If Morgan County Rescue Service is a preferred provider for your health insurance, that means the Rescue Service has gone through an inspection and approval process, said McBee. They are considered a provider that won't over-bill for services, he said.
The Rescue Service as a preferred provider agrees to accept a smaller payment for some situations and they will accept whatever amount insurance will pay, he said.
If there's still some outstanding portion, Medicare or some other supplemental insurance may pick this up, said McBee. Some have a Medicare supplement, which may or may not pay the unpaid part of their bill. This is hard for seniors because there may be some gaps in payment, said McBee.
Transport location decisions
Paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMTs) receive orders from a doctor-in-charge or paramedic with Med-ical Command in Morgantown as to where to take ambulance patients, said Corson.
A proximity protocol exists where if the person's condition is unstable, that they must be taken to the nearest hospital to be stabilized, he said.
"That's the law," said Corson.
Patients are transported to whatever hospital they have been ordered to take them. If it is a serious condition, they may transfer them from that hospital once they are stabilized to the nearest appropriate facility for care, if that happens quickly. Otherwise, the ambulance returns to base to be on call for emergencies, said Corson.
Sometimes at hospitals it takes three to four hours to stabilize someone and get them ready for transport to another facility so they don't stand by, he said. Another area ambulance service is called for routine transports.
The Morgan County Rescue Service has been doing some routine transports for the nursing home to help pay the bills, but they plan to return to just handling emergency transports, said Corson.
If it is a routine ambulance call and the person is stable, they will take them to the nearest appropriate facility. They often go to Winchester as a transfer, said Corson.
Paw Paw Fire and Rescue takes around 75% of their transports to Cumberland because it's a straight shot and it's faster, he said.