Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ambulance plan needs changes

I was in a ski accident on Thanksgiving Day last year. After being taken down from the hill in a basket, I needed medical attention as I had excruciating pain in my hip. I was advised not to move my hip or back, and was taken to St. Luke's in the ambulance. In the ambulance, I was examined and medicated for pain before my arrival at the hospital.

When I received the bill from the Blaine County Ambulance District, it showed a balance of $595. My insurance company sent me a check for $179.50. Blue Cross/Blue Shield informed me that I wouldn't be reimbursed any further, as I hadn't chosen a service within the PPO network. I am not eligible for exemption, due to the fact that the Ambulance Commission was offered to join the PPO network, yet had declined.

If I had chosen a PPO provider, I would have had to have an ambulance come from Twin Falls.

Seeing the irony in this situation is obvious. When someone has a heart attack or a head-on collision in a vehicle, the ambulance driver doesn't give the patient a phone with a PPO directory. One wouldn't exactly be in a position to "shop around."

Being a responsible adult with medical insurance doesn't seem to do much good when you are in an accident. This county needs the ambulance service to join the PPO network. It hasn't so far, but can you imagine why? I think I just laid out the scenario.

The Blaine County Ambulance Commission is holding a meeting to discuss this issue on April 11. It will be at 6:30 p.m. at the old Hailey courthouse, upstairs in the meeting room. It is open to the public. I urge everyone to attend this meeting.

Patricia Richardson


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