Fryeburg rescue to start charging patients

By Lisa Williams Ackley
Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Next month, Fryeburg Rescue will celebrate 40 years in operation.

Serving the communities of Fryeburg, Lovell, Brownfield and Stow in Maine, as well as Chatham, N.H., Fryeburg Rescue has annually requested subsidies from its member towns, but, until now, it has never charged individual patients for its services.

Fryeburg Rescue Chief Steve Goldsmith has been meeting with the boards of selectmen from the member towns to inform them that the time has come where fees will be charged to patients.

“We’re going to start to bill patients,” Goldsmith said. “I think there are only two ambulance services in the area that don’t charge patients — Fryeburg Rescue and Stoneham Rescue.”

According to Goldsmith, “We’re doing billing of patients, in order to keep budget requests down for all. We’re trying to keep costs down for our member towns, and the insurance companies are getting a free ride. Three-fifths of the people we transport have insurance coverage. We’re finding we’re subsidizing insurance companies. We felt it was necessary to come in with other revenue, and this (billing patients) allows us to hire more staff.”

No one will be denied ambulance service

Goldsmith said that those who do not have health insurance coverage should not worry, as they will not be turned away for lack of ability to pay.

Every time an ambulance run is made, a bill is generated, according to Goldsmith.

“We don’t want people not to call us,” stated Goldsmith. “Those who can’t afford it won’t be billed a second time. We want them to still call us. If they have financial hardships, arrangements can be made, and basically, Fryeburg Rescue will absorb the cost.”

Those with questions can call Goldsmith at 925-2572, or call any of the other Fryeburg Rescue officers or members of the Board of Directors.

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