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Patient payment for emergency medical services treatment and its impact on injury control: an Alberta case

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A province-wide qualitative study on emergency medical services (EMS) in Alberta was initiated to better understand the extent to which patient billing influences EMS performance. After completing lengthy interviews with 108 EMS-related subjects it was learned through qualitative research methods that billing patients for EMS treatment (ambulatory care) has subtle or determined influences on EMS providers' emergency actions. Furthermore the act of billing patients can and does have an impact on patient care. It often leads to patients and/or their representatives refusing treatment and transportation. Testimony indicates that the final result can be and is troublesome to, patient outcomes. The findings support the generalization that in Alberta the patient's responsibility to pay for needed EMS treatment can be a major obstacle for inclusive injury control.

Keywords: Emergency medical services; cost; injury control

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research, Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and dentistry University of Alberta Edmonton Canada

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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