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To raise funds, Fire Department proposes new service: Ambulance insurance

Original post made on Dec 22, 2020

Palo Alto residents and businesses may soon have the option of subscribing to a new service that most will hope they'll never have to use: unlimited ambulance rides.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 22, 2020, 11:26 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by 911 Nightmare
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2020 at 12:35 pm

911 Nightmare is a registered user.

Based on the Weekly story here: Web Link no one should ever call an ambulance in Palo Alto. If you do, the police may show up, accuse you of imaginary crimes or mental health issues, harass and humiliate you, search your house and then refuse to transport you to the hospital even if you are having a stroke or seizure, all while the ambulance LITERALLY HIDES FROM THE SICK PERSON 2 BLOCKS AWAY.

If you are having a medical emergency, you are better off calling an Uber or having a neighbor drive you to the ER. Or just crawl there over broken glass. It will be more likely you will survive.

Also our City Council is a bunch of weasels who have done nothing about this since it occurred.

Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 22, 2020 at 11:03 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2020 at 1:26 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I was woken up tonight by the fire engine and fire department ambulance that was directly across the street. No noise, just the presence of a large truck. They took a neighbor away in a stretcher. Not sure at this point what happened. But it gave me a good feeling that capable people were so close, here in an emergency, and we have SU Hospital right here.

At a recent event we were all talking about moving. Most said that when they checked out other locations there was a lack of medical care and hospitals that had super qualified medical help. That is a major consideration when looking at a different place to live. Something to think about.

A friend lived on the Big island - Hawaii - but he had to go to Honolulu for medical checkups. That is Kaiser.

Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 23, 2020 at 7:07 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 23, 2020 at 9:13 am

Neal is a registered user.

The budget shortfall due to less sales tax and hotel tax revenue is temporary. This new source of revenue will never go away. Just another money grab.

Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2020 at 10:42 am

Old Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

This is simply another way to get money out of the people who fund the Fire Services (and all other PA departments) already. Emergency services are the primary services provided by this department. Quoting from the 2019 PAFD Semi-Annual Performance Report submitted to the PA City Council: "Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is the primary service that the Palo Alto Fire Department provides to Palo Alto and Stanford. While this shift toward EMS is being seen across the region, the Palo Alto Fire Department is the only Fire Department in the County that provides ambulance and transport services. Of the 2,632 Emergency Medical Service calls the PAFD responded to in the first period of Fiscal Year 2019, the overwhelming majority were for medical, trauma and cardiac calls that did not involve a vehicle accident." In order to accomplish this, the PAFD reported that it has: 4 Battalion Chiefs, 22 Fire Captains and 60 Operators/Firefighters. Is there no end to the money grabs being perpetrated by the city government? Is the City staff never embarrassed by these grabs?

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Dec 23, 2020 at 11:27 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

This sounds like an excellent idea. My mom pays $200 per trip (after Medicare and her private insurance pay their portion). Ambulance trips are very expensive, and insurance should pay 100%.

If you have a medical emergency, call an ambulance. Uber, cabs, neighbors, etc. don't have the medical equipment that ambulances have (hooking you up to oxygen, testing your heart, etc.) nor are they medical professionals.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 23, 2020 at 11:29 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Recently one of our neighbors had a medical emergency and was taken out on a stretcher to one of the two waiting ambulances that had been in front of their house for around an hour, along with 2 other official vehicles.

Years ago a driver ran into our parked car and the young driver was merely shaken up. But we had literally 16 vehicles here -- several ambulances, a few fire engines, cop cars, motorcycle cops... It looked like an invasion.

This could be a real money-maker.

Posted by Ted Glasser
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 23, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Ted Glasser is a registered user.

Emergency hospital transportation from a Palo Alto Fire Department ambulance should be viewed as a tax-supported public service available to everyone — the same way we view public schools, public libraries, public parks, etc. It’s unconscionable to expect people to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for ambulance service when facing a life-threatening emergency.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Dec 23, 2020 at 10:31 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by Granny B
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2020 at 2:16 am

Granny B is a registered user.

Commenting on Resident-1 Adobe Meadows' statement about friend on the Big Island of Hawai'i:
*I am from that Aloha State and can tell you on the "outer" islands (all islands other than O'ahu) there ARE medical facilities for checkups and routine illnesses, both Kaiser and other. However, because population is small on those islands, anything other than routine or short-term hospitalization needs to be seen in Honolulu (on O'ahu). For example, many people dream of retiring to Kaua'i. Not a great idea because of lack of specialized care. A few years ago my aged mother suffered from organ failure in Lihue Kaua'i, and was hospitalized. She suffered needlessly while waiting for the specialist doctor who comes weekly from Honolulu to help her along the way to a peaceful passing. Any sort of heart problem or specialized cancer treatment needs to be seen in Honolulu as well, a short airplane ride away, but nevertheless an airplane ride.
Commenting on statement by Ted Glasser:
*Thank you for pointing out that Emergency hospital transportation from a Palo Alto Fire Department ambulance should be viewed as a tax-supported public service available to everyone. We also need Medicare for All #H.R. 1384. Unfortunately our congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, does not support it, neither does Biden.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 24, 2020 at 10:09 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Comment on Medicare. Not to confused with Medicaid. Medicare is a deduction from the Social Security monthly check. This assumes that you have worked and contributed to Social Security through out your working life. This is the FICA deduction on your paycheck that is matched by your employer throughout your working life. People get a yearly statement that shows how much has been deducted toward your SSN, and eventually your Medicare deduction from your SSN checks. You get a letter every year that informs you of what you are getting and how the deductions have been applied to you SSN payments. You can't give Medicare for all because the amount is the end result of your working life and how much you have contributed.

Anna and Biden understand how Medicare is calculated and where the funds come from. There are agencies that can explain that to you - one in RWC.

Medicaid is a different animal.

Posted by Granny B
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2020 at 12:54 am

Granny B is a registered user.

I'm talking about HR 1384 definition of Medicare for All
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Medicare for All means:
comprehensive benefits
tax financed
a replacement for all private health insurance, as well as the current Medicare program
lifetime enrollment
no premiums
all state-licensed, certified providers who meet eligible standards can apply

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Well Granny - you are side stepping the obvious - people are having Medicare deducted from their SSN checks. We have paid into this our whole working life. And we are paying into it now. So that leaves all of the people who have not had a "working life" and have not paid into the system. That is the group that wants the "taxpayer" other than themselves -to pay for their medical care.

As you recall Obama Care would penalize you $2,000+ if you did not have insurance.
I think Anna and Joe can see that they will be in deep trouble when all of the people who have paid in get their investment truncated. When you say the Taxpayer - you are talking about the people who are paying in. Then there is a whole group that does not pay taxes. You can see where this is heading. It is usually the people who do not pay taxes that want the "taxpayer" to pay for their healthcare.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 25, 2020 at 12:18 pm

TimR is a registered user.

Will subscribers who don't end up using it at least get one free ride a year, to experience the thrill of speeding around, through intersections with the lights and siren on? Seems like that's the least they could do, plus it would be good for PR!

Posted by Granny B
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 26, 2020 at 1:58 am

Granny B is a registered user.

Re: Medicare for All...

The United States is the only industrialized nation without universal health insurance. Almost 20% of the nonelderly population in this country lacks health insurance at any given time, and the disparities in access to care and health outcomes are very much greater in the United States than many other places.

In the spirit of the season I am hoping for a new year where, as a nation, we make some progress toward caring for others.

Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 26, 2020 at 11:24 am

Hinrich is a registered user.

Several years ago a PAFD ambulance took me about 3 miles to Stanford hospital for an emergency. Other than the checks they do when they arrive, nothing was needed during the trip. The cost billed to my insurance was over $5000 of which I paid something in excess of $1000. Why so much. Medical billing, like health insurance is so intentionally opaque and extremely hard to follow for the consumer - why should such a short ride in taxpayer funded vehicles with taxpayer funded employees cost so much? This proposal sure sounds like another scheme to tax - as one said - those who pay in the system and scheme for yet another tax. Shutdowns cost money in lost tax revenues (and all the other devastation to business and people's livelihoods that officials don't seem to worry about) - a new tax scheme that won't end when the economy recovers is just the council never missing an opportunity to grab more. The city should provide essential services for the price of its taxation and rushing someone to the hospital in an emergency is an essential service. Citizens should say no to this. What's next - subscription fire service, police response only for subscribers?

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The Social Security Administration - of which Medicare is a part - is a huge government organization that employs a huge amount of people across the country. It interlinks with the IRS and many other government agencies. Many budget issues are out there to support the organization and all of the agencies that it feeds into, including the veterans agencies. Comparing to other countries is a non-starter as their systems are not set up the same way.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

AS we have seen on the TV shows getting people to the hospital after an emergency is a very tenuous operation and requires a lot of coordination for a successful result for the person in the ambulance. They are highly trained people who will be required to respond to any situation that is life threatening. Hopefully your insurance plan covers these contingencies. Check out your health insurance plans to see if it itemized as a covered cost.

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