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April 19, 2011

Chronic ambulance callers costing NY county

By Marci Natale
CBS6

TROY, N.Y. — A call for help or for a free ride? Rensselaer County leaders say Medicaid recipients are abusing ambulance services in the county by calling 911 for minor problems that will land them in the ER.

The ride may be free to the patient, but the chair of the Rensselaer County Legislature says it's costing taxpayers thousands. County leaders say they've heard from first responders directly who say many people receiving Medicaid assistance are calling for ambulances to transport them to the hospital for minor issues such as a bloody nose or an ear ache.

The Rensselaer County Legislature passed a resolution last week that will ask for a state review of what they label "chronic calls."

"We're hearing from health care providers were hearing from first responders that this is a problem, that these calls are adding up. People are calling multiple times a year and so what were saying to the state, when you're doing Medicaid fraud investigations, look into this. Try to get a survey going and see if the costs aren't something that could be ended." said Martin Reid, Chair of the Rensselaer County Legislature.

"There's been times when just about every piece of apparatus we have is out on the call and we can be shortchanged if a fire call comes in." said Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett.

Fire Chief Garrett adds that sometimes the patient will work their way through the emergency room so fast, they'll leave the hospital before the ambulance crew.

Republished with permission from CBS6.

 
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