Ambulance Companies To Begin Adding Charges For Obese Patients

As the nation battles with the obesity crisis, ambulance crews are trying to improve how they transport extremely heavy patients.

Overweight patients become significantly more difficult to move as they surpass 350 pounds. And caring for such patients is expensive, requiring costly equipment and extra workers. As a result, some ambulance companies are charging higher fees for especially overweight people.

In the past, the ambulance operators often absorbed the extra expense of serving the obese. Now, they're adding charges similar to those already imposed on intensive-care patients, people requiring multiple medications and patients on ventilators.

The companies say it's time for insurance providers, Medicaid and Medicare, or patients themselves to begin paying the added costs, which are cutting into their razor-thin profit margins.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Oct 26, 2009 at 09:44 AM
    I am reminded by what "they" did to smokers. You know, the ones we tax heavily, increase their health insurance and then deny allowing them places to smoke. Well folks, now the fat police are coming for you. Well, you endorsed their effort against smokers, I mean, you did realize what you were doing....right? It is just a matter of time before they can use skiing, sky diving and anything they want to tax or regulate, on their books. Afterall, its your fault. You allowed the gov to go after smokers, then fast food.....freedom is becoming an illusion. I say it is as C states, discrimination plain and simple. Yet most will set back and allow increases on taxes and services. Probably food taxes will be levied as in NC. Yep, Bev wants that too. I am sure the gov will have more expensive insurance for overweight people. Now, isn't that special!
  • by To Helicopter Location: Washington on Oct 25, 2009 at 08:09 AM
    Obviously, you are not in the EMS field. As any EMT/Firefighter will tell you, when pt's fall (heavy or light), they fall in the most confined, awkard places. We cannot just leave them there, so sometimes we put our backs/bodies in positions they should not be in. Now, medical transport trucks should be equipped with bariatric services, and it should be a requirement before the unit is certified by the state.You need to understand their is a huge difference in transport and EMS. Our ALS units are not equipped with hydraulic fancy stretchers. It is equippped with our backs, and we make every effort to utilize proper lifting techniques. But no, they should not be charged extra for obesity.
  • by helicopter on Oct 24, 2009 at 09:21 PM
    Convalescent care transport companies have bariatric trucks and stretchers to move obese patients, as do most rescue squads, and no they shouldn't charge more for the obese patient. If you hurt your back, you're doing something wrong! The equipment is there if you learn how to use it.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 24, 2009 at 04:41 PM
    Doesn't matter. THEY OVERCHARGE ANYWAY! To add to insult you then get to weight (pun) in the weighting (I did it again) room FOREVER TO GET SEEN!!! Those people you see in the obits DIED IN THE WEIGHING ROOM! Carteret Genenral in Morehead City IS THE WORST! DO NOT GO THERE!!!
  • by C on Oct 24, 2009 at 07:03 AM
    It seems to me that overweight people are among the last groups that can be discriminated against without fear of reprisal. Say anything even remotely negative about gays,muslims,or blacks,you'll be excoriated. You'll hear shouts of collective outrage and resounding cries of "We need more tolerance !" You'll be called a "homophobe",or a "hater",or the old standby, a "racist". BUT,it's pretty much open season on Christians,conservatives,law enforcement,and people who happen to be overweight. Say anything you want about these groups and it's perfectly okay. Insult them. Deride and belittle them however you wish,in whatever public forum you choose. THEN,you're merely "engaging in free speech" or "telling it like it is". Am I the only one who sees yet another double-standard on society's part?
  • by jr Location: bath on Oct 24, 2009 at 04:04 AM
    i expect that uncontrollable obesity would be an exception. but, if you are obese because of poor choices in food selection, then you pay more for emts to lift you. i've siad it in another comment: market forces are more potent, and reliable than anything else!
  • by HAHAAHAHAH anonymous on Oct 23, 2009 at 07:07 PM
    love it!!!! brilliant reasoning! sort of hurts my feelings cause im a little fat, but still good.
  • by EMT on Oct 23, 2009 at 05:34 PM
    Great, now I will not need back surgery.
  • by to Andy on Oct 23, 2009 at 05:32 PM
    Feel not feal is the way to spell the word. You must have a fat brain,
  • by George W on Oct 23, 2009 at 04:48 PM
    Fat people just don't get it.
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