Thursday, February 07, 2013

CARS and cost recovery

I do not live in the County. If I did, I would be a lot more upset about the changes to the delivery of emergency services. As it is, we have a long time relationship with the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department as Chris remains a volunteer there. Interestingly, we spend a lot less time there since Chris has been promoted, but our commitment to volunteerism and the department remains strong.

When the City wanted to implement cost recovery for ambulance service in order to support the expansion of the fire department into ambulance service, I balked. I support Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) as an institution in our community. I think having CARS in our community saves taxpayers money in two ways: we dont pay for people and equipment to expand emergency services and we dont pay for the increase in health insurance premiums and copays as a result of localities billing for the service.

The County has not been transparent with the change from supporting CARS to implementing a very expensive ambulance service.  The public did not have an opportunity to weigh in on this change. Where do the supervisors stand on this expansion of paid ambulance service? What was the hurry in implementing this change? Why does the County believe that billing health insurance companies for service is a win win situation for taxpayers? Do they honestly think that health insurance companies wont pass that cost onto users? What about increasing copays (our copay for an ambulance ride is $150.00, and we are told it is relatively good insurance)? I also worry about whether folks who are unable to pay are being harassed by collection agencies or the billing departments of health insurance companies who dont receive their copay.

CARS and the other volunteer emergency service departments in the County are very professional, they have served our community nobly for many decades. I remain convinced that the County should work with the organization in a way that serves county taxpayer and supports the volunteer organizations. I am not saying that just because things have always been this way nothing should change. I am saying these decisions should be made more transparently and the process should be inclusive of all stakeholders.
Please ask your County Supervisor where he/she stands on this issue and demand answers to these questions.

1 comment:

Patience_Crabstick said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you. It's the people who can't afford the copay or who don't have insurance, who need the ambulance service the most.