Ask someone if they’d rather walk 75 yards for free or maybe get pushed in a wheelchair and most everyone is going to say they’d rather do that than shell out $3,000 for an ambulance ride. An 84-year-old man says he doesn’t quite get why nurses told him he had to take an ambulance from the hospital to the medical offices next door to get an MRI.
As the patient points out, $3,000 is a lot of money, especially to go such a short distance. He was admitted to the hospital for dizziness and was told he had to go next door for the MRI, reports CBS Sacramento. He figured he could walk or go in a wheelchair, but nurses denied that plan.
“It’s ridiculous #1 and it wasn’t my idea #2,” said he said. “They said absolutely not, I had to go by ambulance.”
But then there’s the liability issue — if the hospital let him walk or wheel it, and something happened, they’d be in trouble.
“It’s not just our policy, it’s every single hospital policy,” said a spokeswoman for the hospital.
Insurance won’t cover the whole ride — which should take about 15 seconds each way — and now the man is on the hook for $1,628.58 he’s supposed to hand over to the ambulance company.
“I didn’t want them to turn me into collectors after 84 years. I certainly didn’t want them to ruin my credit,” he said. He still works full-time, otherwise he’d have Medicare Part B coverage which would pay for the ambulance ride.
The ambulance company tells CBS Sacaramento’s Kurtis Ming that the reason it costs so much to take the ambulance is because he has to cover the cost of 50% to 60% of patients without money to pay for rides.
After the station stepped in however, the company waived the fee due to the patient’s circumstances.