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View Diary: I tried to take a taxi instead of an ambulance yesterday... (43 comments)

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  •  Did you know hospitals CONTRACT w/ taxis? (21+ / 0-)

    I'll tell you a very ugly little story that is completely true. Right here in the Bay Area, there are a number of hospitals Kaisercough* and even some local hospitals that contract their services with taxi companies.

    Now this is supposed to be for discharge only, but is sometimes abused for inter-hospital transport, blood drops, and very occasionally, to take indigent people off of the property.

    The blood drops are problematic because the blood isn't refrigerated and sometimes does spoil. Also, cabbies aren't always very careful with it.

    Obviously ER orders to drop psychiatric releases at local gas stations or 7-11 are also a problem. But they definitely happen.

    But far more troublesome is taking someone from, say Terra Linda to Santa Rosa Kaiser, obviously insured through Kaiser, in a taxi cab, with...

    their eye glue to their finger. Or, having a miscarriage! That's a popular one for Kaiser. Or, with their leg shoved in a giant hefty bag taped around the uncontrolled bleeding from their leg. Or a minor drug overdose. Or... let me try to remember now, because it's been a while... bad prednisone reaction where the client is virtually on the ceiling. Bar fight wounds. Methadone withdrawals. Unmedicated psychiatric cases. Anything that isn't technically classified as an "emergency" but probably is, from one ER to another.

    It actually warrants exposure.

    I've never talked about it much.

    Horrible that you went through that yesterday... very sorry.

    "Heidegger? But I didn't even know her!"

    by mahakali overdrive on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 11:13:48 AM PDT

    •  I forgot to mention there's a code: rant (12+ / 0-)

      that a taxi service uses for the hospitals they're contracted with. So this isn't like some totally untraceable phenomenon. It might be on the end of hospitals, BUT, in order for a cab driver to be reimbursed for the drive, they have to turn their IOU slips in to the parent company at the end of the week.

      It gets deducted first off of their overall rental fee, and if it surpasses that, translates into profit.

      Some of the slips are probably shredded, mind you, because no cab company on earth reveals its actual profits, and these IOU slips are a great way to delete the paper trail.

      But the actual codes are on every taxi dispatch wall, and most cab drivers will have slip receipts with the codes throughout the week.

      You could audit the slips from a taxi service and still see the post-profit slips as well. There aren't a lot of these, but from time to time, someone will make out lucky over a week.

      Shady, isn't it?

      Cab drivers are... not properly trained in medical care or anything.

      "Heidegger? But I didn't even know her!"

      by mahakali overdrive on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 11:22:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That happened to me on a business trip to SF (6+ / 0-)

      a few months ago. I became ill while in San Francisco on business a few months ago. The Hotel staff called an ambulance (if you ever want to have fun, get wheeled through the lobby of a hotel on a stretcher at about 1:00 in the morning with your colleagues are drifting in from their night of drinking).

      I do not know anyone in SF and so Kaiser offered to send me back to my hotel afterward in a taxi with a voucher. The cab driver became angry with me for not telling him when I got it that I had the voucher. Silly me, I was still worrying over the fact that I had nearly stopped breathing in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar city.

      I received a bill about 2 months ago for over $900 for the ambulance ride since the doctors and ambulance were outside of my normal coverage.

      There is an endless demand for people to speak, There is a limited supply of intelligent things to say--Jon Meacham

      by smartdemmg on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 12:06:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kaiser billed my 8-year old son (5+ / 0-)

        for being in a car wreck with an unconscious driver, 13K for ambulance transport to a non-Kaiser hospital. I feel you on the bill. That's shameful and well, so are they.

        Yes, those vouchers. They get completely exploited. Obviously they aren't just used for outbound transport. They get used for all sorts of bizarre things that Kaiser and other hospitals want, although Kaiser is the worst offender I've seen.

        I wonder if Kaiser patients and the general public know about this?

        I wonder if this is area-specific or does this happen in other parts of the country as well?

        Please don't be upset with your cab driver. I guarantee they had no idea what to do, and the way the cab industry works... it's so exploitive of labor, it's unreal. There are some perks, for sure, but overall, most drivers just get screwed all the time and constantly endanger their lives to do it. The procedure is poorly laid out by the companies and you sometimes wind up owing money to work. It's complex.

        Point being that I'm suddenly wondering if this is common or uncommon?

        We had no mental health facility here, so ALL psych releases from ER's were "stabilized" and then... released. We have few homeless shelters, so in the winter, all releases went to the street corners.

        "Heidegger? But I didn't even know her!"

        by mahakali overdrive on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 12:20:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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