EMS For Free?

Should 911 EMS services be free? I wonder sometimes that if local government paid for the 911 EMS services provided and we didn’t bill patients, how different the system would be. Would there be more abuse due to people feeling that their taxes are paying for it? Would local government become more aware of the EMS industry and find ways to reduce abuse and offer other solutions like community paramedicine?  Perhaps even giving the ability for EMS crews to decline ambulance transport for patients who don’t require it.

What are your thoughts? Take the quick poll below and feel free to post comments on your views and what you think a solution could be and if free EMS is a good or bad thing.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Justin Schorr

    Police is free, fire is free, road work is free, even the dog catcher doesn’t bill. But when the situation is actually life or death we break out the checkbook? Shameful in my mind.

  2. Medic Trommashere

    I work in an area that does not bill for EMS, and the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the care of the people. We don’t know what someones’ insurance status is, so everyone gets the exact same treatment, whether or not they can pay for it. At the same time, I work in an area that through fund raising, can support their EMS system. Places that can’t get the supplemental money from doing bakeless bake sales or spaghetti dinners or whatever would fall under almost immediately. One of the services I worked for could not get trips paid for by those who took them. They received a little under 10k every year from payors of ambulance bills, even when call volume exceeded two thousand. One ALS trip cost almost 1000$, so you can imagine the hurt locker we were in when payroll came at the same time as a broken down ambulance.

    I have not seen a difference in “911 Abuse”, if not it’s a bit more rampant because people know there won’t be a bill. I do feel that we should not ask for insurance information though. The face sheet from the hospital is enough in my opinion.

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