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D.C. Fire department statement on ambulance 'bill'

D.C. Fire department statement on ambulance 'bill'

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Published by wtopweb
D.C. Fire and EMS released a point-by-point statement regarding the care of Durand Ford Sr. and resulting reports of an ambulance bill.
D.C. Fire and EMS released a point-by-point statement regarding the care of Durand Ford Sr. and resulting reports of an ambulance bill.

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Published by: wtopweb on Feb 22, 2013
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02/22/2013

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Vincent C. GrayMayorKenneth B. EllerbeFire & EMS Chief 
G
OVERNMENT OF THE
D
ISTRICT OF
C
OLUMBIA
 
Fire and Emergency Medical Services DepartmentWashington, DC 20001
Public Statement Concerning Emergency Call Page 1 of 402/21/2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:
Lon Walls at(202) 673-3331
February 21, 2013
PUBLIC STATEMENT CONCERNING AN INNACCURATEDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FIRE AND EMS EMERGENCY CALL STORY
Recently, a number of newspaper, broadcast and social media stories have circulated describing the delayedresponse by a District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department ambulance to an emergencycall during the early morning hours of January 1, 2013. Some stories also suggest that a patient was fraudulentlybilled for ambulance services. Unfortunately, much of the information being circulated is inaccurate and only servesto undermine the confidence that District residents have in the Fire and EMS Department to effectively provide highquality emergency medical services (EMS).
What follows are answers to commonly asked questions about this call.
1.
 
Did a Fire and EMS Department ambulance respond to the call?
Answer:
Yes, a Fire and EMS Department ambulance responded to the call.The call was dispatched to the Fire and EMS Department at 01:26 AM. Because of the nature of the call, theclosest available fire truck, Truck 17, was dispatched for first respond assistance. Because the call required aparamedic, the closest available ambulance or fire truck staffed with a paramedic was also dispatched. Truck 17arrived at 01:35 AM. Engine 10 arrived at 01:37 AM. Truck 17 called for additional assistance at 01:40 AM.From 01:26 AM until 01:42 AM, no DC Fire and EMS ambulances were available to respond to the call. Thisoccurred because all ambulances were already assigned to other calls. If no ambulances are available to respond
on calls, a mutual aid request is sent to neighboring jurisdictions. A Prince George’s County (Maryland)
ambulance began responding to the call at 01:45 AM.Because Truck 17 called for assistance, an EMS Supervisor was dispatched to the call at 01:41 AM. At 01:42 AM,a DC Fire and EMS ambulance, Basic 01, became available and also responded to the call. Basic 01 arrived at
01:55 AM, before the Prince George’s County ambulance. The EMS supervisor arrived at 01:56 AM.
 
 
 Public Statement Concerning Emergency Call Page 2 of 402/21/2013In all, four (4) DC Fire and EMS units with thirteen (13) emergency personnel arrived at the call, including eleven
(11) EMTs and two (2) paramedics. The Prince George’s County ambulance was not used for assistance and
returned to Maryland.The information provided above was compiled from computer aided dispatch (CAD) data records, radiocommunication audio tapes and incident reports. Emergency vehicle responses, arrival times and locations wereverified by GPS satellite vehicle tracking records.
2.
 
Was appropriate medical care provided to the patient?
Answer:
Yes, appropriate medical care was provided to the patient.The Fire and EMS Department uses a combination of fire trucks and ambulances to provide emergency medicalcare for patients. Truck 17 was a basic life support (BLS) equipped unit, staffed with firefighters trained as EMTs.Engine 10 was an advanced life support (ALS) equipped unit, staffed with firefighters trained as EMTs and onefirefighter trained as a paramedic.Personnel from Truck 17 provided first response BLS patient care, supplemented by ALS patient care after thearrival of Engine 10. Appropriate patient care, using recognized national standards, was immediately provided tothe patient after the arrival of each fire truck and was not compromised by the delayed arrival of Basic 01, theFire and EMS Department ambulance.The information provided above was compiled from a review of incident reports, including patient care records.
3.
 
Did a Fire and EMS Department ambulance transport the patient?
Answer:
Yes, a Fire and EMS Department ambulance transported the patient.Truck 17 and Engine 10 provided first response patient care prior to the arrival of Basic 01, the Fire and EMSDepartment ambulance. The patient was moved to Basic 01 and transported to the hospital at 02:05 AM. Theparamedic from Engine 10 accompanied the patient to the hospital on the ambulance, providing appropriatepatient care using recognized national standards. The EMS Supervisor followed the ambulance to the hospital toprovide additional assistance, if needed.Basic 01 arrived at the hospital at 2:26 AM. A nurse, working at the hospital, signed the ambulance reportverifying the patient was transported.The information provided above was compiled from CAD data records, radio communication audio tapes andincident reports. Emergency vehicle arrival times and locations were verified by GPS satellite vehicle trackingrecords.
 
 Public Statement Concerning Emergency Call Page 3 of 402/21/2013
4.
 
Did the Fire and EMS Department “bill” the patient’s family?
 
Answer:
 
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-
insurance.”
 
The Fire and EMS Department’s ambulance billing policy, along with answers to commonly asked questions, can
be found
on the Department’s website
by accessing the link below:
5.
 
What has the Fire and EMS Department done to prevent this from happening again?
Answer:
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.

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