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Dearborn Fire Department to Begin Billing for More Medical Runs

The new cost recovery system could mean $800,000 in recouped funds to the city's coffers.

A new program implemented at the Dearborn Fire Department will help to recoup as much as $800,000 in costs annually associated with emergency medical runs.

According to the department, Dearborn firefighters went on 11,041 calls in 2012. Of their annual runs, around 8,000 are EMT runs—meaning that the call is medical in nature.

And of those EMT runs, around 2,000 are what is known as “treatment, no transport” runs, which is where a team responds to a call but does not end up taking the person in question to a hospital.

“What we were looking to do was come up with a reimbursement rate for those types of services,” Fire Chief Joseph Murray explained to the Dearborn City Council at a meeting in November.

Costs for TNT runs would be billed at a flat $400 rate, either to an insurance company, or an individual. Not all calls are billable, Murray said, but the cost savings for the department could still be significant.

Every run the department goes on is not without its costs—even if the person or people in question don’t need to, or deny the chance to go to a hospital.

According to Murray, the costs for medical runs aren’t easy to quantify, but are heft.

“You’re talking fuel, supplies, not only time on site, but also report writing, billing agencies,” he explained. “It’s a pretty significant cost.”

The department already had a billing system set up for EMT runs. But up until this cost recovery program was implemented within the past month, Dearborn’s fire department—and in turn, the taxpayers who fund it—were shouldering the costs of TNT runs.

Dearborn joins Taylor, Melvindale, Wayne-Westland, Wyandotte and many other fire departments in beginning to bill for those services, and Murray explained that most insurance companies are now equipped to handle those bills.

“Insurance companies were really the trigger for this,” he said, “once they started reimbursing for those costs.”

As with any billable runs, the Dearborn Fire Department also offers payment options and works with individuals who do not have insurance, or the funds to pay.

Regardless, the department still stands to save.

“It’s one piece of the pie,” Murray said, “and we’re making sure we’re maintaining the same level of service."

sam January 10, 2013 at 01:17 PM
New fire chief??? What's next. As if Dearborn does not already charge us enough in taxes and now this. It's time to put Dearborn in the past and hopefully it will flop like Detroit due to all the city B.S
Randy Woods January 10, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Yeah - say that next time you have to call an ambulance ... maybe they won't come and then you'll flop like Detroit ... as you say. Things aren't free sir and you are fortunate enough to live in a city that yes does have a higher tax rate but provides superior services far better than many of the surrounding communities ... You need a police officer, one is always within seconds of being there ... you need an ambulance, there is always one within minutes. Dearborn happens to have one of thee best response times of any first responders in the country and that's something to be proud of. Here's a concept - if the tax rate bothers you so much perhaps then you should move out to a city that doesn't charge as much .... and then cry when your house burns down or you die of a heart attack because nobody came when you called ... because the money wasn't there. But hey, you saved on your B.S. taxes right?
R. EALLY January 10, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Really Sam.... sounds like its time for you to put Dearborn in your past an move somewhere else.....
R. EALLY January 10, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Very well said Randy... Either this guy "sammy" likes to get without paying, or doesn't understand logical economics... if I put very "extra" trash in front of my house I call the city and for a nominal fee they pick it up for me... problem is with many people... they think they are owed something..or deserve something.... if "sammy" was really thinking he would realize that this "charge" is helping keep his taxes lower by making those that use...pay... some people these days need to go back to where they came from and see what kind of services they get there!!!!
Tom January 10, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Randy...no police officer in Dearborn (or any other city) is seconds away when you call 911. Furthermore, if the City charges for ambulatory medical services, what's next, they'll charge for police services if you should so require them? Don't tax dollars already pay fire/EMT/police salaries and for their supplies? Sounds like double dipping to me...
mike January 10, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Hospitals arent free so why should pre hospital care be free some people are just uneducated and speak without thinking I call these people public service killers cause they only want to destroy us when money comes into play but when we save there house from burning down or do cpr to save a family member they praise us the fact is nothing in life is free
Nancy Lehnert January 10, 2013 at 07:42 PM
I would hate to see someone not call for a needed EMT call because they were afraid they couldn't pay for it. There should be some way of helping those without insurance or funds.
forgedcrank January 10, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Treatment no transport calls are priority three (band aid) and burden the system terribly. Many many times over the FD responds to these runs only to be unavailable for life saving calls that require immediate impact. I agee with the fire chief 100%.
Lee Jacobsen January 11, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Forged, often, the 'treatment -no transport' calls save the Emergency room from being needlessly overburdened with patients that are, in the long run, safer staying in bed at home. (staff infections, other folk with flu etc) . 3-4 hundred is not unreasonable. An actual run to the hospital is probably in the $650 to $700 range. A typical example of a non transport call may be something caught in a child's throat, and , once cleared, no need to do hospital care. Perhaps an elderly person goes down the basement, but lacks the strength to go back up the stairs. They have no one to call, and call 911. Simple stuff, but critical to the one receiving he non transport care. With Obamacare costs looming, the city needs all the extra dimes and nickels.
Melinda Reeber January 11, 2013 at 01:53 AM
People need to take responsibility for their behavior. Nothing is free. If the run is non emergency someone still has to pay for the service. If people are charged maybe they will make better choices.
M. Imsosure January 11, 2013 at 04:50 AM
You are correct. I would like to add that many times it is not the injured person who calls for this EXPENSIVE treatment and left to his own devices wouldn't have called.
Marie Antoinette January 15, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Reportedly/allegedly, what is next is to merge the financially struggling Melvindale Fire Department with the Dearborn Fire Department. Dearborn will pay the Melvindale firefighters out of our budget and plans to close the Dearborn fire station in the South end of Dearborn. Rumor has it the city also wants to shut down the Dearborn Fire station on Outer Drive in west Dearborn. In the meantime, there reportedly/allegedly are plans to add another assistant fire chief to Dearborn's payroll as well as one more fire department administrator. And all along, I thought we were broke! What a relief to know Dearborn is flush with funds for all of these new additions to our city payroll.
marie antoinette January 15, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Reportedly/allegedly, what is next is to merge the financially struggling Melvindale Fire Department with the Dearborn Fire Department. Dearborn will pay the Melvindale firefighters out of our budget and plans to close the Dearborn fire station in the South end of Dearborn. Rumor has it the city also wants to shut down the Dearborn Fire station on Outer Drive in west Dearborn. In the meantime, there reportedly/allegedly are plans to add another assistant fire chief to Dearborn's payroll as well as one more fire department administrator. And all along, I thought we were broke! What a relief to know Dearborn is flush with funds for all of these new additions to our city payroll.
Tom B January 15, 2013 at 03:55 PM
How about using 911 for non-emergencies. Or multiple visits by police and fire for false alarms. Taxpayers are paying for that, too. Businesses that have false alarms, for no apparent reason, and police have to waste time because of defective alarms. We should not use emergencies as free transportation when a cab will do.

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