On Sept. 27, 2015, the Manatee County EMS made a call on my 96-year-old mother.
She was non-responsive, having a diabetic low blood sugar situation. The EMS crew gave her an IV and she roused. They did not transport her to the hospital, and we stated we would take her to our home, and she would see her own doctor the following day.
She received a bill for the call in the amount of $500. My mother owns her home and pays taxes to support fire and EMS services in Manatee County. Had she been transported, the hospital would have added on a sizable billing, which both Medicare and her insurance company would have paid. Does this make any sense?
I spoke with the EMS service department, informing them of my years of public service as a firefighter, now retired. I rode ambulance for the first five years of my career. The city I worked for in Michigan did not charge for ambulance services (it is tax-supported also). My son was a paramedic/officer with the Bradenton Fire Department, and my brother a police officer, now deceased, with the City of Lansing, Mich.
The advice I received from EMS was to write a letter to the county's Community Services department, plead her case, speak to a benefits coordinator regarding the Fee Assistance Program, and fill out a host of documents proving her income and need. They said "maybe" this would reduce or waive the fee. They seem reluctant to understand the stress this is/will cause to my elderly mother.
I am wondering if I need the services of the fire department for a structure fire, or a police officer, if they will send me a bill for this tax supported service, too.
Gary D. Bogart