Experiencing a medical emergency is a stressful experience for patients and their family. This stress should not be compounded by worries about getting an ambulance bill they can’t afford.
The variety and inequality of ambulance charges in Canada is a policy mess. Canada’s health ministers should work together to establish a consistent and compassionate approach.
Imagine you’re a physician seeing a six month old child in clinic. She has a fever and cough, she’s working hard to breathe and her oxygen levels are falling. You know she needs assessment in the emergency room and requires transportation in an ambulance in case her condition worsens en route. Her family understands the urgency of the situation, but asks, “Could we take her there in our car?”
Like Canada, the U.S. also overuses medical technology. CT scans in emergency rooms come to mind. But when there’s talk of using this type of service more rationally, cries of rationing ring through the media.