Public Statement Concerning Emergency Call Page 3 of 402/21/2013
Did the Fire and EMS Department “bill” the patient’s family?
No, the Fire and EMS Department did not “bill” the patient’s family.
The Fire and EMS Department uses a contractor for filing insurance claims and ambulance billing. On January 5,2013, the contractor mailed a notice requesting insurance information and permission to file an insurance claim.This notice is required by Federal law and is sent to all pa
tients. The notice states: “As a courtesy to our
residents, we will only bill your insurance company for the services performed. If you have insurance, please
complete and sign the back of this form, and return to us.”
DC Municipal Regulation 29-525.2(d)
requires the Department “not (to) bill or hold financially responsible, any
District resident who is a Medicare beneficiary not covered by any other secondary health insurance programfor any out of pocket expenses, including co-payments, deductibles and co-
The Fire and EMS Department’s ambulance billing policy, along with answers to commonly asked questions, can
on the Department’s website
by accessing the link below:
What has the Fire and EMS Department done to prevent this from happening again?
The Fire and EMS Department sincerely regrets what occurred and has already acted to preventreoccurrences.At the time of the call, emergency call volume was very high. All ambulances and several fire trucks were alreadyat or responding to other EMS calls. At the same time, ten (10) ambulances had been placed out-of-servicebecause 106 firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics called out sick earlier during the same work shift. Although theDepartment attempted to place more ambulances in service by using overtime personnel, the list of employeesavailable to work overtime was exhausted before all out-of-service ambulances could be staffed. After January1st, the Fire and EMS Department implemented new procedures that have reduced the number of employeescalling out sick on the same day. Additionally, rules restricting the availability of employees to work overtime arebeing reviewed and may be revised.
Several days after the call, a notice about filing an insurance claim was mailed to the patient’s address. Although
this type of notice is a requirement of Federal law, the contractor responsible for filing insurance claims andambulance billing changed the language used for such notices during December, 2012, without notifying the
Department. The revised language of the notice was confusing and could be misinterpreted as a “bill.” The Fire
and EMS Department received a number of complaints about the new notices during January, 2013. On January29th, the Department reviewed the revised language of the notice and immediately instructed the contractor tosuspend using such notices until they could be updated. Currently, all insurance claim and billing notices areundergoing content review.