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View Diary: Over $4400 for Emergency Room visit--why we need Universal Healthcare (176 comments)

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  •  Ambulance paid on commission? what? (15+ / 0-)

    I don't think so. That. Does. Not. Happen.

    What the Paramedics (thats what you had attending you) do is prescribed by protocol, protocols issued by a public health organization established by the state. What the company charges is incidental and is  in no way under the control of the paramedic who by the way is paid per hour. Usually not very much per hour. I can say this because I am one.

    You lost consciousness. That is a medical emergency. The causes of it can vary greatly and the worst possibilities need to be ruled out. Head injuries kill.

    The treatment you got from the paramedic is entirely reasonable. Its called Advanced Life Support. The IV access is established in case you are in need of medication. Should you have had a head injury (which can't be ruled out in the field) and lost consciousness and stopped breathing, or god forbid your heart stopped, you would need IV medication to restart it.

    Thats also why the heart monitor is applied. You don't get one or the other, you get both. Every time. It is necessary and beneficial to watch your heart rate, rhythm and blood pressure over time. Its called trending. We look for signs of shock (increasing heart rate, decreasing BP) and signs of head injury (decreasing heart rate, increasing systolic BP) and signs of cardiac distress (differing heart rhythms or more subtle changes in the electrical signals that could indicate Very Bad Things)

    Again. Loss of consciousness is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. The paramedic did nothing wrong. The bill you got from them is not their fault and not in their control in any way... and commission? Bullshit. That is all I will say about that.

    Beyond all that, you ABSOLUTELY, ALWAYS have the right to refuse medical treatment. Your employer wanted you checked out for liability reasons. If you really thought nothing was wrong, you had the right to refuse. The assessment provided by the paramedic would still be documented.

    That you were treated so badly by the hospital is in no way the fault of the paramedics who treated you. They did the right thing. You may not think it, but they did. Syncopal episodes such as yours are a big f'ing deal and the cause needs to be determined. Are you bleeding into your brain? that will kill you. Are you having a cardiac event? that will kill you. Are you so dehydrated your blood pressure is crashing? that can kill you. Are you having a stroke? that can kill you or cripple you, your choice if you decide not to call 911.

    If you pass out, call 911... and don't let doctors like that dismiss you. Loss of consciousness is a big f'ing deal. MAKE THEM DO ALL THE TESTS. I don't care how young or healthy you are.

    “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Kurt Cobain

    by RadicalParrot on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:58:06 PM PDT

    •  yep (5+ / 0-)

      Spot on here - why take risks unnecessarily.  This will be covered by worker comp, that's why employers pay (large) premiums but that's another story.

      •  True but... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Papuska, FloridaSNMOM, cosette

        I am reading a somewhat bitter account of his experiences with the paramedics who treated him and taking some offense to that. I probably should not take it personally but the misconceptions and misunderstandings presented here are pretty egregious.

        The idea that ambulance personnel are paid on commission! what a crock of poop... this diarist was treated exactly right by the paramedics given the circumstances. It is misguided at best to be upset at THEM for the bill, which is not their fault. Their interest, I will attest, was entirely in favor of his health.

        “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Kurt Cobain

        by RadicalParrot on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:52:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This was based on research (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry if I've offended you but my comments about commission were based on research of this particular private ambulance company.  I didn't just make it up. After receiving such a huge bill I investigated this company and found that it has literally thousands of consumer complaints filed against it for overcharging, charging for services they didn't provide, and--yes--it was stated they get paid on commission.

      We've had to call the local fire department a couple of times (once for a child who fell off his bike in our neighborhood, another time for a neighbor who thought he was having a heart attack), neither got a bill.  I'm assuming because our taxes pay for their services. These local paramedics were wonderful and professional.  My experience with the private company was quite different.

      •  I can understand that. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sorry if I came across a little nasty. I was rather well inebriated by the time I came upon your diary. I'm not sure which company you're referring to but I have never heard of paramedics being paid on commission. Its made pretty clear to us that even accepting a tip from a patient for services is not just unethical, but illegal. Quid pro quo is not taken lightly, and that is federal healthcare regs.

        Complaints are nothing new. Ambulance billing is a complex subject. Plenty of it I am sure is justified, but much of it comes from a misunderstanding of what it is that we do. Its also a legal mine field, having to navigate the maze of regulations from state, federal, medicaid and medicare, plus HIPPA, COBRA, and others... all of which impose different regulations under different circumstances. Add to that that violations often lead to consent decrees and imposed compliance initiatives with the DOJ, which go beyond what the legal regs specify, well... you can probably guess that not one of my coworkers has a single good thing to say about our billing department.

        I'm empathetic. I really am.

        “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Kurt Cobain

        by RadicalParrot on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:03:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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