Emergency Medical Services
As the fire service has evolved to be more heavily involved in emergency medical services (EMS), it is necessary to regularly review and update our operations. Consistently, EMS calls account for approximately 70% - 75% of total calls for the department annually.
The Solon Fire Department has delivered emergency medical services (EMS) for many years. In the early years, there were very few tools for personnel to utilize and the training consisted of mostly basic first aid. Since that time, the services delivered have greatly improved. Today, the Solon Fire Department offers high-quality paramedic-level service on a 24-hour basis.
While there are many different ways to deliver emergency medical services, the Solon Fire Department has chosen one of the most cost effective methods available. In order to minimize costs, the department utilizes cross-trained personnel, that is, personnel trained in both emergency medicine and fire fighting. These personnel are responsible for both fire suppression and emergency medical response.
Why does the fire truck go on ambulance calls?
You may wonder why sometimes a fire truck responds with the ambulance for EMS calls. On calls where information given to the dispatcher indicates that the emergency may truly be life threatening, such as heart attacks or a person unconscious, a fire truck responds with additional personnel so the patient gets the highest level of care possible. These truly life threatening emergencies require multiple actions to be taken simultaneously and fast! The additional firefighters and paramedics on the fire truck assist the paramedics on the ambulance not only at the scene, but sometimes during the transport to the hospital.
Will you receive a bill for the ambulance?
Ambulance billing was started in April 2005 to help defray the cost of operations. For Solon residents, the basic premise of ambulance billing is to bill the insurance company for emergency transports. These charges are covered in most health care insurance policies. The City accepts medicare, medicaid, and insurance company payments. The amount left over for the resident patient to pay is forgiven and written off. Because we deal with payment providers, Solon residents should not receive an invoice for services delivered. You may receive correspondence from our billing agent, Great Lakes Billing if the fire department paramedics or hospital personnel did not or could not obtain your insurance provider's information. All non-residents will be billed for services not covered by an insurance plan.
What is the ambulance billing money used for?
In years past, proceeds from ambulance billing have been used to purchase EMS equipment, ambulances, and training for paramedics so they can remain current with changes in the emergency health care field. Some examples of equipment purchased are:
- Rescue Squad - $240,000
- Stretchers - $21,380
- Heart Monitors - $45,626
- Miscellaneous supplies
Which hospital will I be taken to?
State law requires paramedics to take patients to the closest and most appropriate facility. Because the language of the law is open to interpretation, the paramedics use their best judgment based on the condition of the patient. If a patient is in an immediate life threatening medical condition, they will be transported to the closest most appropriate facility. If the paramedic determines that the patient's condition would not worsen during a transport to a facility farther away and is not immediately life threatening, the decision may be made to transport the patient to the hospital of their choice.
We are very fortunate in Northeast Ohio to have access to so many great hospitals. These include several specialty hospitals which impact our transport decisions. State law requires that trauma patients must be transported to a Trauma Center. We also have Burn Centers, Stroke Centers, Pediatric Hospitals, Maternity Hospitals, Psychiatric Emergency Centers and Cardiac Cath Labs. Hence the paramedics will utilize their knowledge to select the most appropriate hospital for the circumstances.