The following FAQs were developed to assist residents in better understanding this necessary change.
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A: For many years, both NCFMD and SCFMD have been able to waive or subsidize patient co-pays and deductibles for ambulance transport services.
Q: Why does the current subsidy program need to end?
A: Unfortunately, the Districts can no longer maintain their state-of-the-art ambulance service while still subsidizing patient insurance co-payments and deductibles. State law will not allow for tax dollars to be used to operate our ambulance service. Therefore, the revenues received for providing this service must cover the operating expenses. Increasing costs coupled with continued changes in Medicare and other insurance reimbursements are negatively impacting our ability to continue to provide this essential service for our residents.
Q: What is an Ambulance Membership Program?
A: The Membership Program is a strictly voluntary annual membership fee of $75.00 designed to lessen the out-of-pocket costs (co-pays, deductibles, etc.) for residents should they have a medical emergency and need ambulance transportation. This program is being modeled after other fire department and EMS agencies in the state and nation, to help offset the costs of providing emergency medical services while maintaining the level of service that our residents are accustomed to.
Q: Does this mean that I would have to pay for ambulance transport service?
A: Yes. Similar to all of the other ambulance service providers in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, residents who are transported by Authority ambulances would now be responsible for payment of any required deductibles or co-payments. We encourage you to contact your insurance provider and ask how this change will affect you and your family. It is important to find out how much your deductible or co-pay is, in order to make an informed decision regarding the possible purchase of an Ambulance Membership.
Q: When will this change take effect?
A: July 1, 2019. The Ambulance Membership Program has been approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS). As of July 1, 2019, patient subsidies will end and the Membership Program will take effect. Applications and membership agreements will be available online at www.afma.az.gov.
Q: What costs and services would the Ambulance Membership Program cover?
A: The Membership would cover any patient deductibles or co-pays for medically-necessary ambulance transports within the District/Authority boundaries (excluding the Tonopah area). After billing a patient’s insurance, we would accept the amount received from the insurance provider as payment in full.
Q: Who would be covered under the Ambulance Membership?
A: Membership would cover all permanent residents living in a member household (excluding the Tonopah area). The membership would not cover visitors.
Q: Would the Ambulance Membership cover ambulance transports originating from places other than my residence, but still within District/Authority boundaries?
A: Yes. Membership would cover all medically-necessary Authority ambulance transports that originate within Authority boundaries.
Q: What if I can’t afford to pay for a membership?
A: Authority staff are currently working with several agencies, including the local firefighters’ charities programs, to assist those residents who cannot afford to pay the $75.00 annual membership fee.
Q: Who can I contact with questions regarding patient subsidies or the Ambulance Membership Program?
A: For eligibility and insurance questions, please contact our contracted billing provider at 1-800-953-9777.
A: For purchasing a membership, please contact our administrative office at 623-544-5400.
Spanish Garden Drive, Sun City West, AZ 85375 • P (623) 544-5400 • F (623) 544-5455 • www.afma.az.gov
Updated: June 19, 2019