Letter: Medical center CEO responds to free ambulance editorial

Dear Editor,

Providing a free Ambulance Service sounds like a novel idea. However, if the general purpose sales tax does pass, there is no statutory guarantee Ambulance will receive any funding. City Council members and County Commissioners will have ultimate authority on which entities are supported every year.

Our current relationship with the City of Green River is very good. They have told us they will fund the current losses, but that also assumes we will generate revenue ourselves by billing patient insurance.

If we stopped billing insurance the losses would be 60% higher and thus put more of a strain on the general tax fund.

The other problem with providing free Ambulance service is the concept of Moral Hazard where patients overutilize a service because it is free. Copays exist because your insurance needs you, as a consumer, to use it only when necessary. It is shown that individuals consume less healthcare when they have to pay something for it (Ryan, 2021).

Our resources for EMTs and Paramedics in Green River are finite. If the system were to become overwhelmed because citizens started using the ambulance to triage every small issue we could quickly become crippled and unavailable to respond to truly emergent calls in a timely manner.

Bailie Dockter

Green River

 

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