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Ambulances Charging More for Obese Patients and Buying Heavy Equipment for Transporting

Posted Oct 22 2009 10:02pm

One more good reason to lose some extra weight, your ambulance ride may be charging you more.  Would you want to travel to the hospital loaded image via a forklift on a flatbed truck if there were no other alternatives? 

Some ambulance companies are investing in heavy equipment to get the job done and along with that investment comes increased costs and one company stated that somebody along the way has to pick up the extra cost, Medicare and Medicaid don’t.   Once you get to the hospital too and if you need an MRI, it may not be the enlarged size to do the job as well, some folks have had to be sent to veterinarian hospitals to have them done due to their weight and then you have another transport bill to contend with too.  BD

TOPEKA, Kan. - The memory still bothers Ken Keller: A panicked ambulance crew had a critically ill patient, but the man weighed more than 1,000 pounds and could not fit inside the vehicle. And the stretcher wasn't sturdy enough to hold him.

The crew offered an idea to Keller, who was then an investigator with the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services. Could they use a forklift to load the man — bed and all — onto a flatbed truck? Keller agreed: There was no other choice.

In the past, ambulance companies often absorbed the extra expense of serving the obese. Now they are adding charges similar to those already imposed on intensive-care patients, people requiring multiple medications and patients on ventilators.

"In order for these systems to survive and continue to provide their service, there has to be some way to recover those costs," said Jim Buell, a director at the American Ambulance Association.

Ambulances start charging extra for the obese - Health care- msnbc.com

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