FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS? WE HAVE ANSWERS.

Emergency crews try to accommodate a patient’s request to a specific hospital, even in cases when the request is to a facility other than the closest ER. Of course, there are exceptions. Patients will be transported to a facility (other than the patient’s request) based on several other factors:

  • Need for Specialty Center, like a trauma center (critical injuries), stroke center, or STEMI receiving facility (heart attack)
  • If patient requests a facility that is on ED diversion due to saturation (overcrowding)
  • If the patient is in extremis, like an uncontrolled airway or uncontrolled bleeding, they are always transported to the closest hospital emergency department (ED)

Typically one family member or friend can ride to the hospital with the patient. Normally the family member or friend will ride in the passenger seat of the ambulance, up front. This way they can be properly secured with a seat belt. In addition, this allows the fire department paramedics and Emergency Ambulance personnel to work on the patient without the interference of the family or friend. One exception is if we are transporting a small (often frightened) child. Typically the mother or father will ride in the back of the ambulance to the ED. However a guest passenger is only allowed in the ambulance at the discretion of the transporting crew.

Patients do have rights when it comes to ambulance transports. For example, the patient can refuse treatment and transport by signing a refusal form, which would be provided by the transporting crew. In cases where the patient is unable to speak for him or herself, there is something called “implied consent”? This means that a reasonable person in the same situation, say unconscious would request treatment and transport. Patients also have the right to request private transport. A friend or family member can take the patient to the ED in cases where the patient has not received or is in need of ambulance transport.

You should call 9-1-1 in the event someone becomes suddenly ill or injured. If you are not sure you should call 9-1-1, we suggest you go ahead and call. Better safe than sorry.

No, the only reason you will receive a bill is if you were transported in the ambulance.

BLS means Basic Life Support. A BLS ambulance is staffed and equipped to monitor the patient’s condition and recognize changes and provide basic life support measures such as oxygen and spinal immobilization. It is staffed by two EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians.)

ALS means Advanced Life Support. An ALS ambulance is staffed and equipped to monitor the patient’s condition, recognize changes and provide advanced medical intervention when necessary to support life. An ALS ambulance is typically staffed by an EMT and an EMT-Paramedic.

The federal government has laws and regulations in place that are designed to protect your privacy (you will hear them referred to as the HIPAA laws.) These laws require us to be very careful about the medical information (called Protected Health Information or PHI) we share, and they consider the information about your ambulance trip (including the invoice) to be PHI. The questions we ask and the forms that must be filled out if we are to share your information with anyone besides you are required by law and are designed to protect you and the privacy of your medical records.

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