I have decided too many in this field use the phrase
“You call, we haul, that’s all.”
So I have declared that today, January 22, 2010 is the last day we are allowed to say that, unless you have a side job in the refuse industry or possibly driving a tow truck.
Your new slogan is
“You hurt, we flirt. You lyin’, someone might be dyin’.”
It is not against the law, nor outside of your responsibilities to inform persons when their injuries or illnesses are untreatable by you and your staff. Nor is it against the law or outside your responsibilities to tell the truth when they ask if they should have called you.
I have been known to remind clients that a baby could be choking nearby but they will die because their paramedic resource is here putting your swollen wrist in a towel from your kitchen and frozen vegetables from your freezer while all your college buddies watch from the couch.
“I didn’t know what to do so I called you guys, is that wrong?”
“Yes.” Odd look. “An emergency and an injury are two remarkably different things. Sometimes they overlap, but not as much as you might think. Your ambulance will be here shortly, they’re coming from far away, busy night tonight.”
“A lot of sick people huh?”
“Do you think I need an ambulance?”
“What should I do?”
“Goto a doctor. But as you can see I’ve taken the pain away and reduced the swelling in your wrist using common household items. I learned this in the cub scouts. This is as much pre-hospital care as we can give, so from this point on everything is else is just a ride. A very expensive ride.”
“Can my friends take me instead? I mean I thought you guys could get me in quicker.”
“Sure your friends can take you, let me help you to the car. Sign this release form first and assume liability for the bill.”
“The bill from us coming here to help you. As much as your politicians would like you not to know, this tax payer funded service is not fully funded to the point we can provide service for everyone calling 911, so we bill for our service.”
OMG happy, what are you doing? If he’s insured that’s an easy ALS billing transport, we need that money!
No, I just freed up one of your precious ambulances to run an actual emergency call and performed vital public education, something our profession fears among all other things.
A well informed and healthy populace generates few billable transports.
Stop lying to your patients by telling them they should always call you when they stub their toe or that there is no fee when there is one. Lying to them IS against the law and outside your responsibilities. Telling the truth and refusing transport are two completely different things.
Telling the truth can never get you in trouble.