Ambulances, the Safety Net’s Safety Net, are Hurting for Cash

They’re the safety net of the medical care safety net. Like emergency room doctors, they treat everyone, regardless of that person’s ability to pay. And that puts them in an ever-escalating Catch-22 say the state’s 715 public and private ambulance providers. Especially when it comes to transporting patients under Medi-Cal, the state’s health care system for the poor.  “We respond without consideration of a patient’s ability to pay unlike anyone else in the medical community except ER physicians who must also take all comers,” said Don Vonarx, general manager of Riggs Ambulance Services whose coverage area is Merced County. “Medi-Cal doesn’t consider the cost of providing those services.”

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