Most of us think of ambulances as an emergency room. But that’s not always what people call one for.
“They call us for all kinds of crazy stuff. A toothache, I hit my foot, I’m afraid of having the Covid,” said Vinny Faraone, director of Kunkel Ambulance. “We have regular callers who call regularly, sometimes two, three times a day.”
Non-essential ambulance calls can hurt.
“We don’t need frivolous calls to remove this possible stroke victim who could be over the air 911 or a heart attack victim who is clearly seriously ill and in need of this pre-hospital care. immediate, âsaid Greg Eisenhut, President and CEO. of Mohawk Valley Ambulance Corps., or, “MOVAC.”
Non-essential calls have plagued ambulance companies for years. They are now trying to innovate to get by.
âWe recently became one of the only ambulances in the region to enter into a contractual agreement with UCM Telemedicine, in Albany, where we understand the plight of some hospitals and the fact that emergency rooms are overused and people are ‘Expecting there to be a primary care facility there,’ says Eisenhut.
The new arrangement allows MOVAC paramedics and paramedics to provide another option for patients who call an ambulance for a non-emergency.
“We ask the patient if you are interested in this, and if he says yes I would like to speak to a doctor at my house, then we agree, so we call the number and log in to the program and they give us the information.” to connect us on zoom, âsays MOVAC EMT, Bethany Muha. “A pregnant woman who had Covid and she was afraid her baby would get sick too, but she wasn’t sure so instead of carrying her around and letting her wait in a waiting room with other people sick, our provider was able to hook up with a doctor and he was able to tell her and talk to her and be like listening, you have Covid, your baby will be fine, just do this x, y and z. “
Emergency room visits from the comfort of your own home. It remains to be fully determined: how do you bill it and who pays for it?
“All of this is in the works. Insurance companies recognize it, some insurance companies are starting to pay,” explains Faraone. âFrom an insurance company perspective, think about it, you know it’s a $ 25 or $ 50 bill, vs a $ 100 ambulance then a $ 2,000 hospital bill, so it’s really smart and it’s the future, it’s really the future. “
Kunkel Ambulance is refining its request to the NYS Department of Health, asking to start telemedicine for the appropriate calls.