As the default Risk Management guy for my agency (until the new gig kicks in that is) I get routed all manner of citizen complaint that has anything to do with the Ambulances.
As a result I often have the opportunity to do some public relations work right there on the phone.
Did the mean Paramedics stab you with a needle? Let me just take a look at your chart here…oh. It says here you’re a known diabetic and had a blood sugar of 21. Yes, Sir. Yes I understand you have trouble remembering to take you medicine. Yes I do think they should have woken you up first before stabbing you with the needle. But here’s the thing…
Most complaints seem to come in about 2-4 weeks following the date of service.
Our billing turn around is about 2-4 weeks.
Total coincidence I’m sure, but every now and again I get a phone call that brightens my day. Often it has to do with someone most certainly under the influence of a central nervous system depressant and their attempt to recover said intoxicant from the Paramedics that took it.
Take Eddie Dean(Not his real name, but think of Eddie from the Dark Tower series). Eddie called me doing his best Tommy Chong impression, right down to forgetting to answer some of my questions until after I ask “are you still there Eddie?” “Wha?”
Boils down to this: Eddie is refusing to pay the ambulance bill because the Paramedics stole his marijuana. Tough part on this one is that Eddie seriously needed some aggressive ALS care a few weeks back and I’ve got a gold star chart to prove it. He mixed up a few prescriptions for a few diagnosed ailments and…BAM…altered, parastesias, the whole 9. Most complaints revolve around fizzled attempts at a Lawsuit Chart, which still has to be paid prior to their surely losing case being heard.
Eddie is worried the Paramedics thought he was high at the time, which he claims he was not and I believe him…until he starts to try to explain how high he is right now. While on the phone with me. “Like…like right now, I’m able to smoke some and feel good, but I didn’t smoke a lot that night.”
He swears his girlfriend can corroborate that the Paramedics took his weed so I ask for her number to call her. Eddie didn’t think that all the way through and is asking that I not call her right away, that he needs to call her first to tell her what to say.
Smooth move, Eddie.
On the answering machine at my office is a message that ends with “If this is a pressing clinical matter, please call (my cell phone number).”
Eddie left me three messages yesterday (Saturday) moderately sober and begging me to call him immediately so I can talk to his girlfriend who “can tell you more about what happened because I talked to her already.”
So now I get to hang onto an open file about how while in the midst of a code 3 scene time of less than 11 minutes at an 8th floor apartment, my crew somehow had time to grab a few little green bags.