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.