Get What You Pay For

Ambulance service says that insurance doesn't cover everything

Membership has its privileges — it is a catchphrase that has a place in the Southern Platte County Ambulance District (SPCAD).

At the SPCAD Board’s monthly meeting recently, the members heard a complaint from a client surprised at the amount of the ambulance bill she had received. It is a very common issue, according to Kam Hendry of American Medical Response, the ambulance service provider contracted by SPCAD last fall after the Board’s displeasure with service provided by the Kansas City Fire Department.

“I think citizens at large are shocked when they get an ambulance bill,” Hendry said. “They think it’s like police and the fire department and that it’s just part of your taxes and not a separate service.”

Hendry pointed out that though there are rate cards in every ambulance, no one is concerned with the cost while having a heart attack. Neither would the paramedics deign to respond to a patient’s needs until payment was arranged.

“The bill arrives and it arrives quickly, often while people are still recovering,” she said.

While the tax levied by the Ambulance District secures the services of American Medical Response, which is a nation-wide emergency care provider operating in 40 states, it does not cover the cost of individual services.