Don’t let this happen to you

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At 1:50 a.m. on Jan. 29, I was home alone and had to get up to use the bathroom. I tripped, hit a dresser and wall, hurt my head and broke my right clavicle.

I was on the floor and couldn’t get up, so I scooted over to my cellphone and called 911. Northern Lakes came to my house and took me to Kootenai Health ER. ER took X-rays (showed fracture) and since my shoulder was dislocated, sedated me and put it back in place.

Shortly afterward, an ER person asked me how I was planning to get home; friend or relative, taxi or Northern Lakes. Since it was maybe 4-6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I didn’t want to disturb either of my daughters (at homes with little kids) or a neighbor. I thought a taxi would be unwise in my state since I was dressed in a T-shirt and underwear, no shoes or socks. So I asked that Northern Lakes would do it.

My insurance paid for the trip to ER, but not home (non-essential). I understand that. The Kootenai County EMS bill for that trip home was $630.60, which comes out to $126.12/mile from Kootenai Health to my house (approximately 5 miles). Plus, the Northern Lakes station is less than a mile from my house. Northern Lakes personnel were great in handling me on both trips, I have no complaints about them.

I was told recently that I signed a document at the hospital stating the cost of the ride home. Obviously I signed a document, but considering that I was injured, on pain medication, was sedated and by myself without a relative or friend to advise me, I honestly don’t remember signing anything, and had no idea that it would cost so much. I also didn’t have my reading glasses with me, so I couldn’t read what I was signing.

I requested a full or at least a partial refund of the $630.60 bill that I paid because I feel it is excessive and also I was in no shape to fully comprehend what I was signing.

But my request was turned down twice by the EMS billing department. The reasons given: I already paid the bill and I wasn’t poverty level.

I don’t mind paying something for the ride home and help into the house, but I thought $630.60 was excessive, especially since part of my property taxes goes for their services.

Moral of the story: If you are going to get hurt, don’t be alone. Make sure there is another person there to assist you then, at the ER, and can also help you get home.

• • •

David Klaw is a Hayden resident.

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