FORTUNA FOOTHILLS, Ariz. – Foothills resident Rose Gamma is concerned after an emergency for her husband turned into a financial crisis. It all began back in March when her husband Daniel Gamma was in extreme pain. Rose called 911 and Rural/Metro responded to the call.
“They came and got him he had kidney stones, they kept him a couple days,” said Rose.
Her husband was fine but then just a few days later she said she got a bill in the mail from Rural/Metro for $600.
“I called Medicare what’s going on,” Rose explained.
She thought the bill was for the ambulance but medicare said that was covered, the $600 bill was for a fire truck that went along with the responding ambulance.
“So I called Rural/Metro, didn’t get much satisfaction from them, either I could pay the $600 and join Rural/Metro,” Rose said. “I don’t see why I should have to join Rural/Metro if I need an ambulance I should have an ambulance.”
The Foothills is an unincorporated area of Yuma County therefor Rural/Metro covers fire services and emergency responses for residents there, but that service comes at an annual cost. The fee is based mostly off of the square feet of a residents home. In Rose’s case her home is more than 1500 square feet with a garage, meaning she would have to pay just over $300 annually for rural metro service.
“Just for the privilege of having an ambulance,” said Rose.
13 On Your Side spoke with Rural/Metro about Rose’s case, they say these are long standing policies and should not come as a surprise to residents in areas served by Rural/Metro.
Charly McMurdie, a spokesperson for Rural/Metro explained, “Anywhere in the U.S. you will get a fire truck right along with that ambulance that is a NFPA standard, we didn’t create it but follow it and we bill for that”.
Rural/Metro says the best option for Rose and residents in her same situation is to contact Rural/Metro’s billing department, Mcmurdie said they can help get your costs paid,
“Her [Rose] best course of action is calling our billing department they will help her get that paid down,” Mcmurdie said. “I could ask my kids but why should I? They have bills too, it’s not fair.”
If you are having trouble paying a bill from Rural/Metro the number to their Arizona billing department is (800) 645-9902.