Need An Ambulance? If You're Overweight, It's Going To Cost An Extra $543

An ambulance ride with American Medical Response in Topeka, Kansas will soon cost an extra $543 for folks weighing 350 pounds or more. Though AMR already owns cots that can support up to 500 pounds, they claim that because of rising demand from so-called “bariatric patients,” they now need to buy winches and “extra large and reinforced cots.”

Keller said AMR needed to increase its charge for bariatric patients to pay for more manpower and transportation equipment. The bariatric equipment includes extra large and reinforced cots, as well as a winch to help technicians load the patients into the back of the ambulance.

“These people have special needs during transport,” Keller said of the bariatric patients. “Many of these people don’t fit our standard cots. Our normal cots will hold over 500 pounds, but when you max out the ability of the cot, you put the patients at risk. Having these resources means a little less manpower and a much safer way to lift the patients.”

Keller said as a general rule, AMR will begin charging patients the increased bariatric fee if they weigh more than 350 pounds. He said the technicians, however, would use their discretion and consider the overall size of the patient in determining if they are bariatric. “We look at the length and width,” Keller said. “A patient could be 325 or 275. We will look at the qualifiers of the patient and the special needs, and then we submit them to the insurance and see if we agree.”

AMR previously charged $629 to transport overweight and critical care patients. The price for Medicaid and Medicare patients will hold steady, and the new $1,172 fee will only apply to patients with private insurance.

What do you think? Should extra-large or sick patients have to pay more for an ambulance ride?

Some overweight Topeka patients to pay more for ambulance use [Wichita Eagle]
AMR rates rising for obese [The Topeka Capital Journal]

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