Mom being billed for ambulance between nursing home and hospital. Anyone dealt with this? - AgingCare.com

Mom being billed for ambulance between nursing home and hospital. Anyone dealt with this?

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Mom was in nursing home for physical rehab. During this time, she had to go to the hospital a few times for outpatient-type procedures. The nursing home arranged for her transportation via ambulance.

Ambulance company is now billing her for these transports, and she is upset. Nursing home rep is now telling her that she should have arranged for her own transportation, but we were actually always under the impression that they are responsible for the transport when she's under their care, and that it might even be a liability for them if she gets third-party transportation. At the time she was in care, they never suggested that she get her own ride, nor did they inform her that she would be billed for this... they simply arranged the ride.

I told her that she should simply refuse to pay it, and if it goes to collections she then has a whole bunch of other rights, but she is the type who gets upset if she gets a letter with a big red "FINAL NOTICE" in it. Anyone dealt with anything like this, or know what the norm is for transportation while in nursing care

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I think the nursing home should have been upfront with you. Insurance often doesn't cover an ambulance call from home if the feel it wasn't an emergency (a hard call for people who don't know what is wrong in the first place!). But the nursing home should have known if this was normally covered or not and discussed options with you.

I can understand your mother's distress over refusing to pay. Only you can decide what is more important for her well being - just cough up the money and remember the lesson or fight it. It's really awful, but I think you are down to those two choices.

Just as a reference point - I remember my parents paying for a couple of dad's ambulance calls from home when he was in excruciating pain from urinary retention, and the reason for non-payment was too many calls. They said is he had that kind of problem he should be in a nursing home. Sometimes we just don't know what to do.
Carol
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My dad was in the rehab section of a nursing home and he fell and needed stitches. An ambulance was called and to the hospital was paid for but not back to the nursing home. We even asked if we needed to take him back and was told, "no, wait for an ambulance."
We have asked the nursing home where my FIL is to transport him places, even it it does cost extra and they do not want to. They are insistant that family take him to appointments even when we tell them there is only one driver and he is at work during appointment times. They schedule them anyway and it is lost hours from work. So sometimes, it happends in reverse too with family wanting an ambulance and not being able to get it.
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She received a notice from a debt collector in the mail. We're drafting a letter stating that we dispute the debt.

It's actually advantageous when it goes to a collection agency... those are much easier to sue.
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This is not a scam, but a cash cow for ambulance companies. I got a bill for $600 for a non-emergency 1 mile trip! Is she on Medicare? Does she have a Medigap policy? Why didn't they cover it?

I don't know much about the billing part, but I do know that you can negotiate. She has probably been billed the "list price." Find out what they would have billed her insurance, and offer them that. If you have a friend with a mean streak who's a good negotiator, sic them on the ambulance company. You will probably have to pay something, but a lot less.

If you can't avoid paying, think of it as an expensive lesson for preventing it from happening again. It sucks.
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I think Medicare won't pay because it wasn't an emergency. Its an expensive lesson.
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