Ekurhuleni ambulances are not free

A resident contacted Express distraught over a R922 ambulance fee that had been added to her municipal statement.

According to the Birch Acres mother, who wished to remain anonymous, her son had recently been taken to hospital by Ekurhuleni Emergency Services and she assumed the service rendered was free.

This was not to be the case.

The child was transported from Birch Acres to Carstenhof Clinic.

Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS) emergency planning manager and acting spokesman, Eric Maloka, said patients were classified into three main groups for the purpose of service fee determination.

These groups are: full paying patients, subsidised patients and patients offered free services.

“The City of Ekurhuleni renders medical services on behalf of Gauteng Provincial Government and tariffs are in accordance to the national established Unified Patient Fee Schedule (UPFS) which was approved and effective from April 1, 2017,” explained Maloka.

Maloka pointed out that full paying patients are liable for the full UPFS fee as regulated by the Medical Schemes Act. 1998 (Act No 131 of 1998).

Subsidised patients are categorised based on their ability to pay for health services into four categories: HO, H1, H2 and H3.

“Fees payable by subsidised patients are expressed as a percentage of less payable by full paying patients as determined by the latest edition of UPFS. HO or free services patients qualify for full subsidisation. These are pensioners and pregnant women as guided by Notice 657 of 1994, July 1, 1994.

H1, H2, H3 are patients qualifying for partial subsidisation, ie their income is less than R36 000 per annum.”

Emergency numbers are: national emergency toll-free number 10177, cellphone emergency number 112 (international toll-free number) and life-threatening Ekurhuleni emergency line 011 458 0911.

  AUTHOR
Tumelo Mthethwa

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