One Week After Mother's Death, Woman Gets $25K Bill

| by Reve Fisher
Air AmbulanceAir Ambulance

Although her mother died before the air ambulance made it to the scene, an Indianapolis woman received a $25,000 bill for the vehicle a week after her death.

On Sept. 23, 2015, April Breck’s mother, Sheila Breck, died in a car accident, WRTV reports. While on her way to pick up April from work, an ambulance crashed into the SUV Sheila was driving, WRTV reports. It is unclear who was at fault for the accident.

"It turns out that an ambulance going to a different call hit her in my car going 85 miles per hour," April told WRTV.

Emergency rescue workers called for an air ambulance to report to the scene. However, the 64-year-old’s heart stopped beating before the ambulance arrived. The chopper never actually transported Sheila's body.

After her mother’s death, April received a phone call pertaining to the air ambulance.

"So then about a week later, I was trying to deal with all of the insurance issues, car insurance issues, and PHI, the air ambulance company, started calling me and telling me she had a bill for $25,000," April recalled.

The bill, which was for the company’s base rate, was $18,000 more than Sheila's other medical bills combined.  

As the statement lacked any sort of itemization, April was unsure exactly why the bill amassed to $25,000.

"Like it’s no big deal," April said. " ... You’d have a lot more itemizing in your groceries."

PHI Air Medical said certain costs are acquired in order to dispatch their services.

"If our helicopter and crew have been called to a scene to provide critical care services to a patient in need, this means we have incurred costs on our end to provide this specialized care,” the company said in a statement.

PHI Air Medical noted that April did not receive a bill, she received a statement. However, the statement reportedly includes an "amount enclosed" box and a place to put credit card information. It's unclear whether the company expects April to pay the $25,000 or not.

"We are completely dedicated to servicing the needs of our patients and patients’ families," Brad Deutser, spokesperson for PHI Air Medical, added in another statement. "We are constantly working with and for our patients and are committed to ensuring the billing process is clear and seamless for all parties involved."

On the WRTV Facebook page, commenters debated whether or not the charges for the air ambulance were reasonable.

" ... [T]o send them a bill for something they didn't use is ludicrous," one Facebook user wrote.

"This is not a free service, folks," another Facebook user wrote. "You get access to an entire hospital emergency department from the scene to the receiving hospital. The air ambulance deserves every penny."

Sources: WRTV, WRTV/Facebook / Photo Credit: WRTV

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