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Data Shows Ambulance Fees Will Deter Emergency Calls for Help
Date:5/13/2010

  • "The results of this study indicate that indecision, self-treatment, physician contact, and financial concerns may undermine a chest pain patient's intention to use EMS," cited in Demographic, Belief, and Situational Factors Influencing the Decision to Utilize Emergency Medical Services Among Chest Pain Patients, Circulation (Journal of the American Heart Association), 2000:102; 173-178 (emphasis added).

  • "Lack of health insurance and financial concerns about accessing care among those with health insurance were each associated with delays in seeking emergency care for AMI [heart attack]." Health Care Insurance, Financial Concerns in Accessing Care, and Delays to Hospital Presentation in Acute Myocardial Infarction, JAMA, 2010; 303(14):1392-1400.  

Furthermore, an analysis of data from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department shows that EMS calls decreased (when adjusted for population) in the year an ambulance fee was introduced and remain below the pre-fee level.  In 2005 (the year ambulance fees were imposed), EMS calls dropped 9% from 2004 levels – this compares to an average decrease of 2.4% over the two years before the ambulance fee.  In New Brunswick, Canada, the number of 911 calls dropped approximately 13% after ambulance fees were reinstated.  The CEO of the Canadian ambulance service stated that the fees were a likely factor in the drop in calls.

In the face of these numerous sources of direct and indirect data, all which support the common sense notion that if you charge hundreds of dollars for ambulance services people are less inclined to call 911 for transport to a hospital for exigent and sometimes life-saving care, fee supporters have yet to offer a single study or shred of empiric
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SOURCE Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association
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