Richmond County mom speaks out about $2,500 ambulance ride

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF)– A local mom who wants answers. She said her son was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and now she has a big bill for a brief ride.

“I just wanted to get him some help. The last thing on my mind was a bill,” Renza Bing, Frank Bing II’s mom, said.

Earlier this month, Bing came home to her 11-year-old son struggling to breathe. She called 9-1-1, and eight minutes later, she said Gold Cross showed up. Frank’s dad carried him to the ambulance.

Renza said EMT’s checked the little boy’s blood pressure and gave him oxygen on the way to the hospital. It turns out, Frank was dehydrated and suffers from asthma. He was released from the hospital the same day.

The Bing family said they were prepared for a bill in the neighborhood of $500.

“All I heard was ‘Oh my God!’ and when he handed me the bill, and I saw $2,545.88, I was in complete shock,” Bing said.

“The county commission decided back in December that they were not willing to offer us a viable contract. What they offered was untenable. The only we could do was move ahead without it. Now, the rates have doubled, or a little beyond that,” Frank LIndley, CFO of Gold Cross, said.

Lindley said the base rate for an emergency service, which is what Frank had, is $2,200.  For every mile the ambulance drives, it costs a little more than $17.

Commissioner Sammie Sias believes the city should have control over EMS operations. He voted in favor of reducing Gold Cross’s subsidy.

“For the EMS service, she had no other option except to call Gold Cross. We know when people are in need, that’s a critical service, as I said before, so you don’t think about that, and you shouldn’t have to think about that. It is our responsibility as a governing body to think about those costs and things well before you call 9-11,” Commissioner Sias said.

“I feel for these patients and their families that have to pay this, but in order for us to continue operating without a subsidy, no business, except the government, can afford to operate in red ink,” Lindley said.

“I just want to get this rectified. I would just like answers. Why would it cost that much?” Bing asked.

Bing said she gave Gold Cross her insurance information, and is hoping that will lower the bill.

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