Government Fleet Top News

Fairfax County to Charge for Ambulance Trips

April 26, 2005

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA – In Fairfax County, anyone who calls for an ambulance will be charged for the service, according to the Washington Post.Government officials are quick to point out that fees will not be collected up front, no one will be denied service, and, in most cases, the costs will be covered by the patient's medical insurance. For those who can't pay, officials say they won't have to. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesman Dan Schmidt said no attempt would be made to submit a patient's name to a collection agency if that patient cannot pay. Officials have tried to drive home that message, especially to poor and low-income elderly residents who might be discouraged from calling for help.Under the new policy, the county will charge $300, $400, or $550 for an ambulance trip to the hospital, plus $7.50 per mile. Critics of the policy have argued that Fairfax County, one of the richest counties in the nation, could afford to provide a free ambulance service.Co-payment will be charged only to patients who don't live in Fairfax. Patients with no insurance coverage will be sent a "request for information" that will include a waiver form. After three waiver notices are sent, the fees will be considered uncollectible, according to officials.

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