Letter: Jersey City Council, why are you considering changing EMS providers?

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Martha Larkins, a member of the South Greenville Neighborhood Association, wrote a letter asking the Jersey City Council why the city would consider switching EMS providers.

Jersey City Council
Jersey City Council

Dear Jersey City Council Members:



PLEASE do not change ambulance providers. I live on Neptune Avenue and it is terrifying to think that we may have Carepoint as our ambulance provider. 



The South Greenville Neighborhood Association recently had Robert Luckritz of JC Medical Center and Peter Kelly of Carepoint speak at our monthly meeting. 



LACK OF CAPABILITY

We asked Mr. Kelly whether Carepoint/McCabe can gear up to take on such a larger service population? He replied that there would be a “learning curve”. Really? A learning curve with our lives at stake! That is unacceptable.

POTENTIAL TO BANKRUPT RESIDENTS

Carepoint is a for-profit company owned by 3 people. They take bankrupt companies and quickly make a profit. They don’t do this by technical innovation or increased efficiency. They do it because they take advantage of a state regulation that requires out-of network providers to pay for emergency treatment without limit to what the provider can charge. That means that they make their profit by price gouging out-of-network providers. This business model means that people are getting outrageous bills. I know from personal experience. The charge for my 20 hour hospital stay at Carepoint Bayonne was over $69,179; my portion of which was $20,112. My insurance paid $49,067. The diagnosis was high blood pressure. I received no treatment other than some medication. The procedures were simply diagnostic. My four certified letters and dozens of calls to the hospital went unanswered.



You may think it is ok to systematically overcharge insurance companies —-but there is direct impact on the insured person. A person can easily reach their annual benefit limit and be left without insurance (lifetime limits are now banned, but not annual limits). Insurance companies can decide to stop insuring Hudson County residents. And it is morally wrong as a business model.



Far from expanding the Carepoint reach, you should be working with state officials to investigate them.

UNFAIR TO DIVIDE UP THE CITY


Wards A, B and F already have the biggest problems in the city, why would we now have to be subject to potentially less experienced, more expensive emergency medical care? We are already afraid to walk the streets. Please don’t create another problem for us.



WHY ARE YOU CONSIDERING THIS


Jersey City has many problems you should be trying to solve. Who asked for this? During the municipal campaign, each of you met with probably thousands upon thousands of Jersey City residents, going door-to-door and holding meetings to understand what your constituents needed. People did not ask for this. I asked both Councilman Lavarro and Councilman Gajewski if any of their constituents ever asked for this and both said no.



Thank you very much. I believe you want to do the right thing. Please let me know where you stand on this issue. 


Regards,
Martha Larkins

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