Beneficiary Liability for Certain Paramedic Services May Be Substantial

HEHS-94-122BR: Published: Apr 15, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) whether volunteer ambulance companies are certified to participate in the Medicare Program; (2) whether volunteer ambulance companies bill for their services; and (3) Medicare beneficiaries' liability for the services of paramedics who meet volunteer ambulance companies as secondary responders.

GAO found that: (1) Medicare contractors rely on states to certify ambulance companies for Medicare participation; (2) most volunteer ambulance companies do not charge for their services or have their own paramedics; (3) a high proportion of those served by volunteer ambulance companies are elderly persons; (4) Medicare does not pay separately for paramedics as secondary responders; and (5) Medicare beneficiaries may be liable for paramedic intercept services.

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