Ambulance removes charge for man double-billed after 911 call

April 19, 2017 06:02 PM

A representative from American Medical Response says a man, who was double-billed for a 911 call, should have only been billed once.

We first brought you this story on Friday after Howard Griffin came to us with the issue. He told us he called 911 for a severe allergic reaction. After calling, an ambulance responded, but he says they didn't have anyone who could administer the medication he needed, so a second ambulance was called.

Weeks afterward, he got billed for both ambulances. His insurance company handled one bill, but not the other.

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But now, Griffin says the company has forgiven the second bill. "The director and some other people looked at the bill and decided to write it off," he says. "I appreciate the help that Channel 10 gave me."

A representative from American Medical Response or AMR told us: "We were able to review the bill and Mr. Griffin was incorrectly billed. We contacted him yesterday and apologized for the error. As I said on Friday, we take these inquiries very seriously and do everything we can to review and adjust as needed."

Following this story, some were wondering: How do ambulance operations and billing work? We asked Chris Murtaugh, the captain of Henrietta Volunteer Ambulance.

"In New York State, there's essentially two levels of care for the most part," he says, "There's basic life support which equates to Emergency Medical Technician or EMT and there's advanced life support which would be a paramedic level response."

When you call 911, dispatchers determine what type of ambulance responds to your home. As for as billing: "If we had a basic life support -- that is what we call first responding to a call -- and then we had another Henrietta paramedic unit meet them, it should just be one bill for that department," Murtaugh tells us.

But when multiple departments are involved, billing gets tricky.

"For example, if we were to go meet another department's agency and we were providing the paramedic services then there's the potential that the patient could see or the insurance could see two bills," he says.

As for Howard Griffin, he will sleep better now. "I hope it helps someone else who might be in a similar situation," he says.

If you are having the same problems as Griffin, we also looked into how you can challenge and pay for expensive medical bills, you can click here for tips.


Nina Porciuncula

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