How much does an ambulance cost in South Africa

  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

All three are interventions used to stabilize patients until they reach a hospital, JustMoney said. Depending on the patient’s condition, emergency personnel will perform the life support necessary to ensure their safety.

The main difference between basic and advanced resuscitation is that the former does not include invasive treatments – in other words, a patient’s skin will not be pierced, like with a needle or scalpel, if they receive basic resuscitation.

The patient will be billed according to the category in which his resuscitation falls.

For example, if your lung collapses in an ambulance and emergency personnel need to pierce your chest to re-inflate it, this will be considered advanced resuscitation because your skin must have been pierced.

“All emergency medical service providers bill the medical plan if the patient is insured, or the patient directly if they do not have medical insurance coverage,” said Shalen Ramduth, director of operations at Netcare 911 .

Medical aids and bill payment

In South Africa, medical aid providers have partnered with specific private emergency companies, outsourcing them to clients to call them in the event of an emergency.

If patients call another company, insurers pay only 40 to 60 percent of the account, JustMoney said. If you were unconscious at the time of the call, the insurer would assume someone else called and the full account will be covered.

But this must be motivated by the transport ambulance service, which will have to explain why the client did not follow the correct procedure.

Ambulances are not financial institutions and as such cannot provide credit to patients. “Patients often say that they can’t pay anything or that they haven’t called the service and therefore refuse to pay,” said Denver Ramnarain, director of the ambulance service organization Quick Response Services.

Refusal of service

A patient can refuse care from anyone, whether they can afford it or not.

If a person refuses transportation for financial reasons, that is their choice. But it is the responsibility of the attending physician to ensure that the person is not in a life-threatening situation.

Ramduth said all emergency medical service providers should help with life-threatening cases, even when patients cannot pay for the treatment received.

If they decide to wait longer than necessary and not to transport a person with potentially fatal injuries, this could be considered negligence, which can be reported to the South African Council of Healthcare Professionals ( HPCSA).

“However, this is difficult to prove because the person may decide that they do not want treatment and may not disclose that it is due to the cost. Or the doctor can act in the best interest of the patient, and they could still die, ”Ramnarain said.

State services

According to the Western Cape government website, no one will be denied emergency medical services because of their ability to pay for the service.

It states that if you are a member of a specific medical aid, you will be charged uniform rates for patients agreed with the medical assistants. And if you’re not, you’ll be assessed based on your income and billed accordingly.

Ramduth said South Africans are protected by the National Patient Bill of Rights, which means they have the right to medical assistance.

“If an uninsured patient does not experience a life-threatening emergency, they have access to provincial emergency services which will provide stabilization and transport to a hospital if necessary, at no cost to the patient. “

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