Ambulances start charging extra for obese patients - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Ambulances start charging extra for obese patients

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TOPEKA, Kan. - As America battles the obesity crisis, ambulance companies increasingly are charging extra to transport patients who weigh several hundred pounds.

Moving plus-sized people can cost more than twice the amount of transporting patients who are not obese because of the expensive equipment and extra workers needed.

The ambulance companies say it's time for insurance providers, Medicaid, Medicare or patients themselves to pay the added costs, which are cutting into companies' razor-thin profit margins.

Before ambulances had the heavy-duty equipment, paramedics just had to make do. They would ask burly firefighters to help lift people or use forklifts and flatbed trucks to transport patients.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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