15 Sep 2014
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EMTs Still Making Calls to Providence

East Providence has not shut off mutual aid calls to Providence even though the city is still not collecting reimbursements for expenses for uninsured people.

EMTs Still Making Calls to Providence EMTs Still Making Calls to Providence

East Providence EMTs continue to respond to mutual aid calls in Providence even though it’s costing the city hundreds and hundreds of dollars for many of them.

“East Providence has not shut them off,” said Mayor Bruce Rogers. “And even if we did shut them off, we would still respond to major emergencies.”

“But we are trying to find the right amount that we can charge for calls not reimbursed by insurers,” Rogers said.

The problem is the 20 percent of mutual aid calls in Providence for people without insurance coverage. That works out to almost 90 calls based on the most recent analysis done of the mutual aid calls to Providence.

The actual numbers were 442 calls from East Providence to Providence and 44 from Providence to East Providence, said Rogers, or 10 times as many calls made than reciprocated.

Most EMT calls are billed directly to insurance companies. No problem there. The city is reimbursed.

But the 20 percent of the calls to Providence for uninsured people, said City Manager Peter Graczykowski, is costing East Providence thousands and thousands of dollars in unreimbursed expenses.

“That’s an inherent unfairness,” Graczykowski said.

“People are uninsured,” said Rogers. “We understand that. But it’s hard enough in East Providence right now.”

Rogers said meetings have been held with Providence’s public safety commissioner, Steven M. Pare. And he’s trying to come up with a solution, Rogers said.

In the meantime, East Providence Fire Chief Joseph Klucznik is trying to come up with a fee schedule that can be used to bill other communities for EMT calls that are not reimbursed, said the city manager.

Part of the difficulty in putting together a fee schedule is that every EMT call might involve a different level of service. Some calls might cost $900, said Rogers, others might cost $1,100 or more.

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