A Michigan family was shocked to learn that they were on the hook for nearly $8,000 after their daughter took a 20 minute ride in an ambulance.

No Flashing Lights, No Emergency

Neil Fichtenberg says his daughter was suffering from RSV when she was admitted to Detroit Medical Center in Troy. It was later decided that the infant would have to be treated at DMC's Detroit campus. The infant was not in distress, she simply needed to be transported from one hospital to the other. No life-saving measures had to be performed during her ride and there was no need for the ambulance to turn on its flashing lights or siren.

However, DMC chose to use Superior Ambulance, a company that does not participate with the family's insurance carrier, Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Their out-of-pocket bill was $7,637.36.

Fichtenberg tells Detroit's WDIV-TV that his requests for an itemized bill were ignored. He also notes that his family was not given the opportunity to choose which ambulance service would provide transportation for his daughter.

Media Exposure Brings Sudden Change

After nearly a year of frustration dealing with DMC's billing department, Superior Ambulance, and his insurance company, Fichtenberg contacted WDIV's consumer investigation reporter.

In the video below, Hank Winchester reports that the hospital had a sudden change of heart after learning that the family's debacle was going to be featured on the TV station.

DMC then issued a statement saying that the outrageous $8,000 bill was an error and that transportation between hospitals was not the family's responsibility.

The takeaway from this particular situation is that it's always a good idea to scrutinize decisions that are being made about your family's care, and whenever possible insist that services are provided by doctors and companies that participate with your insurance carrier.

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