GUINTA TO VISIT CONWAY FRIDAY; CONWAY CHIEF WILL TALK ABOUT AMBULANCES

by Christian Mower on August 23, 2012

REPUBLICAN REP. FRANK GUINTA IS SET TO MAKE SEVERAL STOPS IN THE CONWAY AREA FRIDAY MORNING.

HIS SCHEDULE CALLS FOR HIM TO FIRST TOUR ALVIN COLEMAN AND SON ON ROUTE 113 IN ALBANY AT 8:30 A.M. BEFORE STOPPING AT THE CONWAY FIRE DEPARTMENT AT 10 A.M.

HE’S THEN SCHEDULED TO STOP AT THE CONWAY TECHNOLOGY VILLAGE OFF ROUTE 16 FOR A SMALL BUSINESS TOUR OF ANIMETRICS.

CONWAY FIRE CHIEF STEVE SOLOMON SAYS HE LOOKS FORWARD TO DISCUSSING WITH THE FIRST DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE AN ISSUE THAT’S CRITICAL TO HIS OPERATION: THE COST OF RUNNING AMBULANCES – AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR THEIR SERVICES.

SOLOMON SAYS THE REVENUE STREAMS THAT HAVE KEPT AMBULANCE SERVICES RUNNING SINCE THE 1970s ARE NOT KEEPING PACE WITH CURRENT EXPENSES – AND THAT MEANS EMERGENCY PROVIDERS ARE USUALLY CLOSE TO NOT HAVING THE MONEY THEY NEED TO PROVIDE THE SERVICES THEY ARE EXPECTED TO PROVIDE.

SOLOMON SAYS AMBULANCE PROVIDERS USED TO BE ABLE TO BILL MEDICARE FOR REIMBURSEMENT USING WHAT WAS REFERRED TO AS “A LA CARTE” BILLING. THERE WOULD BE A BASE FEE FOR TRANSPORTING THE PATIENT TO A HOSPITAL, AND THEN ADDITIONAL FEES ADDED ON FOR EXTRA SERVICES LIKE STARTING AN IV, PROVIDING OXYGEN OR ELECTRIC THERAPY – SIMILAR TO WHAT A HOSPITAL BILL LOOKS LIKE.

SOLOMON – AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN WHO IS QUALIFIED AT THE PARAMEDIC LEVEL – SAYS THAT CHANGED WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DECIDED IT WAS PAYING TOO MUCH FOR AMBULANCES – AND IT CREATED A FEE SCHEDULE.

NOW, THE CHIEF SAYS, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT SERVICES HE PROVIDES A PATIENT – HE GETS THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY.

THE CHIEF SAYS MEDICAID PAYS EVEN LESS THAN MEDICARE.

MEDICAID IS A JOINT FEDERAL STATE PROGRAM THAT HELPS SOME PEOPLE WITH LIMITED INCOME AND RESOURCES WITH THEIR MEDICAL COSTS.

MEDICARE IS THE FEDERAL HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE 65 YEARS OR OLDER, CERTAIN YOUNGER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES – AND THOSE WITH PERMANENT KIDNEY FAILURE.