Billing related questions:

 

Why did I get a bill? I thought I paid taxes for the ambulance.

There are 2 reasons the district must charge for services

1.      As a contractual provider for Medicare and Medicaid, the district must agree to accept allowable, reasonable and customary fees from theses providers and submit charges for any remaining balance. Discounting of charges is not allowable for non-insured, government, private or commercial insurance providers.

2.      Monies received from taxes represent only 75% of the annual budget; therefore charges for services are required to continually provide Advanced Life Support EMS.

 

Does the ambulance district charge for services when a patient is not transported?

No, there is no charge for services when a patient is not transported to a medical facility. However, in the event that air medical transport by a helicopter is utilized, a charge for services is applied to recoup the cost of equipment utilized in the care of a patient prior to air ambulance arrival.

 

I received a statement in the mail. Is this the amount I owe? What if my insurance does not pay?

Review your statement carefully. Statements are sent out monthly to keep you informed of your account status. It may be possible that the amount shown does not reflect a payment due; it may be that we are awaiting payment by your insurance carrier. If you have any questions at all, contact an account specialist to review the status of your account. Sometimes there may be a simple error and we need to confirm the accuracy of your information. It is best to contact us as soon as possible with any concerns, as your insurance submissions are time sensitive and the quicker we can clear up any information the better. If your insurance does not pay, simply contact our administrative staff to review payment options offered by the district.

 

Do you accept credit cards for payment? Can I pay my bill online?

Meramec Ambulance District currently accepts credit cards as a method of acceptable payment, however we are unable to accept online payments through our website.

 

What are the charges for ambulance services?

Current base charges for services are determined by the medical necessity and residency of the patient. Insurance requirements mandate how those services are charged. Residents are charged a lesser base fee than non-residents. As of August 2006, the charges for services are as follows:

                       

                        Resident                      ALS-II                        ER                   $650.00

                        Resident                      ALS                ER                   $475.00

                        Resident                      ALS                Non-ER           $400.00

                        Resident                      BLS                 ER                   $375.00

                        Resident                      BLS                 Non-ER           $300.00

 

                        Non-resident               ALS-II                        ER                   $750.00

                        Non-resident               ALS                ER                   $575.00

                        Non-resident               ALS                Non-ER           $500.00

                        Non-resident               BLS                 ER                   $475.00

                        Non-resident               BLS                 Non-ER           $400.00

 

                        Mileage per loaded mile:         $10.50

(ER=emergency  Non-ER=non-emergency, ALS=Advanced Life Support  BLS=Basic Life Support)

 

What if I can’t pay my bill?

Meramec Ambulance District is very willing to make payment arrangements with any party faced with an outstanding bill. Patients, their families or representatives are able to contact the billing office during regular business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The District strives to aid patients and families by accepting modest payments on a monthly basis. This enables all involved to successfully handle the unexpected burden an injury or illness can create. It is our goal to work with all of the patients we serve and avoid the need for advanced debt collection.

 

Technical questions: 

 

Why couldn’t my father be taken to the hospital of his choice?

Meramec Ambulance District makes every effort to take patients to a hospital of their choice. However, in the instance of a life-threatening emergency, the closest and most appropriate hospital may be necessary for stabilization. Or, in some situations, a specialized treatment may only be available at a certain facility. There are also occasions when a hospital may be unable to accept patients due to overcrowding.

 

Why was ARCH helicopter used when I am an Air-Evac member?

Meramec Ambulance District is not affiliated with any air ambulance service. Our Paramedics and EMTs utilize the closest air ambulance for transport. Air ambulances are utilized in serious life-threatening instances and time is the ultimate decision-making factor in choosing an air ambulance service.

 

I live close to an ambulance building. Should I drive to the building if I need emergency care?

The EMS system is in place to assure that you receive emergency medical assistance at any location, quickly and efficiently. It is not a good idea to be driving around in an emergency situation possibly endangering your own life or the lives of others. In an emergency, simply call 911 and let the system work for you. Appropriate emergency response unit(s) will be dispatched to your location immediately.

 

Occasionally, EMS crews may be away from their station on an emergency call, attending training, or familiarizing themselves with the district as a part of our area familiarization program. Use 911 in an emergency. If the nature of your visit is non-emergency, for instance; getting a routine blood pressure check, you may come to the station. If the EMS crew is out, you can check back in an hour or so for the unit to return to their station.

 

What are the yellow boxes on the front of the ambulance stations?

The yellow boxes on the ambulance stations are emergency 911 phones connected directly to the 911 dispatch center. If you are passing by and need to report some sort of emergency; simply push the button and speak clearly to the dispatcher on the other end of the line just like a phone. Advise them of the emergency you are reporting and help will be dispatched. No need to worry about your location, it will be automatically sent to the dispatch agency once the button is pushed. However we do not recommend driving to the ambulance building in case of a medical emergency. Call 911 from your current location. If you need assistance of a non-emergency nature, simply use the doorbell located near the door at each station.

 

General knowledge:

 

What is the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?

Initial EMS training begins at the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) level. Once licensed by the State of Missouri as an EMT, you may then proceed to the Paramedic Level of training. The EMT level of training is where emergency medical “basics” are learned, applied and practiced. An EMT can administer oxygen and secure a patient airway, and defibrillate (“shock”) using an A.E.D. (automated external defibrillator).

A Paramedic can start IVs, intubate (put a breathing tube into the trachea or windpipe), interpret EKGs and administer life-saving medications.

 

Why is Ambulance spelled backwards on the front of the ambulance?

“Ambulance” is printed backwards on the front of an ambulance so that when approaching a vehicle from behind, drivers see the word “AMBULANCE” in their mirror in the correct form.

 

How do EMTs and Paramedics become licensed?

EMTs and Paramedics are licensed by the State of Missouri. Both EMTs and Paramedics must complete 144 hours of CEUs (continuing education credits) every five years. An EMT-P must complete 196 hours of CEUs every five years. In addition, EMT-Ps must maintain CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certifications every year and every two years respectively. Meramec Ambulance District strives to ensure that our staff accomplishes these requirements by utilizing a training program that allows personnel to attend courses required for relicensure.

 

What does ALS stand for?

ALS stands for Advanced Life Support. In the event of a medical emergency, advanced airway, intravenous access, and medications may be utilized.

 

 

What area does the district cover?

Meramec Ambulance District covers Approximately 240 square miles including the northeast quadrant of Franklin County and portions of Jefferson and St. Louis Counties in the east central portion of Missouri.

(For more see general info. page)

 

How many calls does the district respond to annually?

The District responded to:

3,033 calls in 2007

2,929 calls in 2008

2,789 calls in 2009

3,006 calls in 2010

3,090 calls in 2011

 

Who is working for the district?

The District employs 1 EMS Chief, 27 full-time employees approximately 20 part-time employees and 2 full-time administrative personnel. The District is governed by a Board of six elected officials.

(For more see the Staff page)

 

What type of vehicles does the district own?

The fleet currently consists of 7 ambulances:

            4-2007 C-4500 Chevrolet Duramax AEV Trauma Hawk ambulances

            2-2009 C-4500 Chevrolet Duramax AEV Trauma Hawk ambulances

            1-2013 International Durastar AEV Trauma Hawk ambulance

            1-2003 Ford Explorer (administrative staff vehicle)

            1-2007 Ford Expedition XL (administrative staff  vehicle)

 

What type of equipment is in the ambulance?

The ambulances are equipped similar to that of an emergency room with advanced life support medications and equipment. Each ambulance is also equipped to treat both adult and pediatric patients for trauma and medical emergencies.

 

What does it cost to hire a full-time Paramedic?

To hire one full-time Paramedic it costs approximately $44,000. This includes pre-employment testing, training, orientation, uniforms, insurance benefits and the first year salary.

 

How often is assistance from a neighboring district (mutual aid) needed?

Mutual aid was requested by Meramec Ambulance District: ………….32 Times in 2007

                                                                                                ………….  3 Times in 2008

 

How often does Meramec EMS assist other agencies with mutual aid?

Mutual aid was rendered to our neighboring districts ………………….71 Times in 2007

                                                                                      …………………67 Times in 2008

                                                                                                            …..41 Times in 2009

                                                                                                            …..55 Times in 2010

                                                                                                            …..51 Times in 2011

 

What other services does the district offer, other than EMS?

The district offers many services to the community such as:

      • CPR classes
      • Blood pressure checks and monitoring
      • School career day participation
      • EMS on-site standby for community events
      • Participation in CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Training)
      • Educational training site for EMS and health career students
      • Disaster drills and crash simulations
      • Community blood drives