LEON COUNTY - Florida's Capital County
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bullet Emergency Medical
  Services (EMS)
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Blue star of lifeLeon County Emergency Medical Services

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What number do I call if I need an ambulance?

A: If you need an ambulance right away, call 911.  For a non-emergency or routine transport, call (850)921-0900.  To schedule an ambulance for a special event or function, call (850)606-2100.

Q: Can I get medical advice by calling 911?

A: No. Medical advice can only be dispensed by your physician. If you're not sure what to do and you can't wait for your physician to call you back, we will be glad to send you an ambulance and transport you to the hospital to be evaluated by a physician.

Q: Do all ambulances go to calls with their lights and sirens on?

A: No. When a call comes in, it is carefully triaged by a certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher who utilized a computer based program to determine the most appropriate response for each call.  The Majority of calls are not immediately life threatening and therefore they do not require a lights and sirens response.

Q: What does it take to become an EMT or Paramedic?

A: In order to be eligible for certification as an EMT or Paramedic, you must graduate from an accredited program and pass the state exam.  In Leon County, Tallahassee Community College has programs for both EMT and Paramedic certification.  The typical EMT program takes about one year and a paramedic program is about two years, including the requisite EMT training. Additional courses such as EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator Course), HazMat, and Basic Trauma Life Support may be required depending on where you work.  For more information on EMT and Paramedic job requirements for Leon County EMS go to Leon County Human Resources Job List.

Q: How many calls did Leon County EMS respond to in 2007?

A: Approximately 30,000 calls.

Q. Who should I contact if I have a question about my bill?

A. Advanced Data Processing, the contracted vendor for patient accounts receivable should be contacted toll free at 1-866-758-2763.

Q. I pay for Emergency Medical Services on my tax bill, why do I also get billed when I use the service?

A. Leon County funds the EMS Division through a combination of a Municipal Services Taxing Unit and user fees. To minimize the taxing impact on the entire citizenry it was decided to impact everyone for the availability of the service through the establishment of the EMS Municipal Services Taxing Unit. Individuals who use the service then pay a user fee to fund the remaining cost of providing services. In this way, the taxes necessary to support Emergency Medical Services can be held to a minimum.

Q. Is the bill for ambulance treatment and transport covered by health insurance?

A. In most cases, yes. However, this depends in large part on the type of coverage that the patient has and whether the service is considered medically necessary by the patientís insurance carrier. The amount that your insurance company may pay towards ambulance transportation will vary based on the insurance contract that you have with your insurance company. Insurance plans offer different levels of coverage or customary charges that the insurance company will pay towards the bill. This amount varies greatly from 100% of the fees charged to another amount the insurance company decides is usually and customary. Each insurance company and, in some cases, each insurance policy may pay differently towards ambulance transportation.

Q. I was recently transported by ambulance and Medicare denied my bill for medical necessity. Why did they deny payment and what are my rights?

A. The Medicare program will only pay for ambulance services that it deems are medically necessary. In all cases, other means of transportation must be contraindicated due to the patientís condition, regardless of whether other means of transportation are available. The patientís condition must be acute and such that transport by other means would endanger the patientís life, limb or bodily organs.

A patient has the right to appeal Medicareís decision. In the event that a patientís bill is rejected, they can file an appeal for reconsideration. Simply obtain all of the information in regards to the service provided (i.e. ambulance records, emergency room records, physician notes, discharge orders, etc.) and mail them to the Medicare carrier requesting an appeal. Our staff would be happy to assist you with this process. For more information, please call 606-2100.

Q. Why does a fire truck come when I call for an ambulance?

A. Firefighters from the Tallahassee Fire Department and local volunteer fire departments serve as medical first responders on most emergency calls. They extricate patients from vehicle collisions, burning buildings and other hazardous conditions and assist Leon County Paramedics in patient assessment and stabilization. Though not dedicated healthcare providers, firefighters provide valuable assistance, particularly in the first few minutes of an emergency.

Q. How can I get a copy of my Emergency Medical Services Records?

A. All patient records are confidential and protected by various privacy laws. Leon County has established a privacy and security policy to comply with these laws and to assure the integrity of your protected health information. All requests for copies of records must be made in writing and authorized by the patient or the patientís legal guardian. Only under a few exceptions, such as complying with a subpoena, can medical information be released without the consent of the patient. For more information and to request a copy of your ambulance records, please call 606-2100.

Q. Why do I see Leon County ambulances parked at several locations around the county?

A. Leon County utilizes a dynamic deployment plan in urban areas to position ambulances at strategic locations to better respond to emergencies. Ambulances are scheduled and positioned based on historical call data. During traditionally busier times of the day, more ambulances are on duty. This process is similar to how law enforcement schedules and positions their officers. In rural areas of the County, ambulances are stationed at the county fire stations in Chaires, Fort Braden and Woodville. From time-to-time these units are re-positioned in an effort to provide a better response posture to the entire County.


Q. When do Paramedics utilize the emergency vehicles lights and siren?

A. The time saved navigating traffic using lights and sirens can be essential, but, due to the high risk involved with using lights and siren, only life-threatening conditions are dispatched or transported in this manner. The type of response is initially determined by medical dispatchers utilizing an internationally recognized Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) program called ProQA. ProQA guides the dispatcher through a series of questions to ask about the patientís condition. The answers to these questions then determine the response priority of the ambulance. This system also provides the dispatcher with life-saving pre-arrival instructions to give the person calling 911. Dispatchers can guide callers through providing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, bleeding control, child birth and care for someone having a heart attack among other things. EMD is truly the first, first responder to respond to a personís medical needs.

Q. What should I do when approached by an emergency vehicle?

A. State law requires motorists to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles who are traveling with lights and siren activated. The correct procedure is to pull to the right side of the road and come to a complete stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Motorists heading toward the ambulance should also pull to the right side of the road and stop as both lanes of travel are required to stop as long as a divided median is not present. If you are stopped at an intersection with a traffic light, you should remain in your lane of travel so long as the ambulance has an open lane to go around you.

Q. Do Leon County Paramedics provide community education programs?

A. Yes. Leon County Paramedics provide various community education programs that teach children and adults injury prevention and what to do in an emergency. If you are interested in having a program presented to your group, please call 606-2100 for more information, or see Public Education for more information. Programs must be scheduled in advance to provide adequate time to meet your needs.

Q. Iím hosting an event and want an ambulance there; does Leon County provide this service?

A. Yes. Leon County will provide ambulances at sporting and other events throughout the community. There is an hourly fee charged for events where an ambulance is required to remain at the event and in cases where the events location requires a dedicated ambulance. For more information and to schedule an ambulance to standby at an event, please call 606-2100. It is necessary for special event standbys to be scheduled in advance so that crews can be scheduled.

Q. I recently received my bill and noticed that the address for remittance is in Orlando; why is that?

A. Leon County contracts with Advanced Data Processing for patient accounts receivable services. As a safe-guard, all monies are deposited into a special account controlled by the County. The Orlando address is for the financial institution that manages this account.

Q. I recently received a check in the mail from my insurance company for ambulance transportation; what should I do?

A. Some insurance carriers send insurance payments for services rendered directly to the patient or the insured. In these cases, you should forward the payment to the County to pay towards the services provided to you. The patient is responsible for payment of their bill regardless of insurance coverage.
 

 

 

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