Elderly woman charged $800 for ambulance ride during emergency evacuation from nursing home

An elderly woman in California received a $792 bill after nursing home staff put her in an ambulance during an emergency evacuation for a dam break, reports Fox40.

Ninety-three-year-old Mildred Cole was rehabbing a leg injury at Yuba City, Calif.-based Fountains Nursing Facility in February 2017, when officials ordered more than 180,000 people in the area to evacuate over issues with the city's Oroville Dam.

Nursing home staff placed Ms. Cole into an ambulance, which transported her 47 miles to Sacramento. Ms. Cole received the $792 bill from the ambulance service, American Medical Response, in November, according to her granddaughter and caretaker Heather Terpelle. Ms. Terpelle contacted AMR, thinking the charge was a mistake, but they assured her it was not.

Medicare classified the ambulance ride as disaster relief, but would not cover the charges. When Ms. Terpelle called CMS to discuss the bill, a Medicare representative told her she could've been charged up to $2,500 since it was not a medical emergency.

"It seemed pretty clear to me that they had codes for special circumstances like an emergency evacuation," Ms. Terpelle told Fox40. "I just assumed that the situation was an emergency. I mean, it's not like she could've called an Uber or something."

Ms. Terpelle filed a direct appeal with Medicare to refute the charge this week.

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