Central Ga. ambulance agencies got $15M from Medicare | News
Ambulances are big business in Central Georgia -- a more than $15-million-a-year business.
That's the amount paid by Medicare to 18 companies and agencies in 2012.
The data released this week by the Center for Medicare Services shows that the companies billed the federal health-care service for nearly $44 million and received $15.7 million.
That means Medicare spent more on getting people to and from hospitals than on internal medicine ($14.7 million); hematology ($12.6 million) or cardiology ($11.2 million).
The data was released this week by the Center for Medicare Services after a court order lifted an injunction sought by the American Medical Association that had been in place since 1979.
It reveals wide variances in reimbursements, procedure costs and what services are provided to Medicare beneficiaries.
Releasing the data could help consumers understand health costs, help providers deliver better care and enable journalists and advocacy groups to sniff out fraud, experts say.
The numbers detail more than $77 billion in payments during 2012 to 880,000 providers nationwide.
The top three companies for Medicare payments in Central Georgia were all ambulance companies:
- Palms Medical Transport of Byron billed for $9.5 million and received $3.6 million.
- Middle Georgia Ambulance of Macon billed for $10.6 million and received $3.3 million.
- And a Middle Georgia Ambulance subsidiary, MGAS Holdings, billed for $9.0 million and received $2.8 million.
The top 10 doctors or companies for Medicare payments in Central Georgia also included another ambulance company, ChoiceCare of Dublin; a nephrologist (kidney); three hemalogist/oncologists (blood-cancers specialists); one radiation-oncologist and one dermatologist.