Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bums' free rides costing us big time

From the NY Post:

These bums are costing you a fortune.

Ricky Alardo, a homeless alcoholic nicknamed Ricky Ricardo, swigs cheap vodka by day at his favorite corner in Washington Heights, then calls an ambulance to chauffeur him to the hospital for a free meal and a warm place to sleep, courtesy of taxpayers who fund his Medicaid benefits.

For a chronic caller like Alardo -- who phones 911 four or five times a week -- the annual medical bill can be as high as $300,000. Over 13 years, the length of time he has been abusing the emergency room, he has cost the medical system an estimated $3.9 million.

In Midtown, another bum, Robert, has faked emergencies to get food and shelter in ERs about 40 or 50 times in the past three years -- and taxpayers pick up his tab, too.

Ricky and Robert are among the dozens of "frequent fliers" who clog the 911 system, tie up city ambulances, crowd emergency rooms and burn through Medicaid money.


georgetheatheist said...

Ready, set, go! This is the precursor to the Obama health plan.

Anonymous said...

There is an old bum who hangs out around Broadway and Roosevelt, in front of that 24 hour lotto place, Pronto, named Tommy, or Irish Tommy, as he is called. He gets drunk and passes out almost daily, and is regularly picked up by an ambulance, and transported 3 blocks to Elmhurst Hospital, to dry out. I wonder how much THIS is costing us taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

if some nurse or paramedic could just "accidentally" let an air bubble form in the IV line, the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to the days of committing a minor criminal offense and doing a few days in jail? That's gotta be cheaper in the long run.

QJohnnie said...

Very old news. More than a few of these bums hang out on Hillside Ave. in Jamaica, passing out or getting hit by cars. They're one of the reasons Engine 298 is among the busiest firehouses in the city in EMS runs.

Now that Mary Mac is closed, they jam up Jamaica Hospital's ER...

Chumley McSnide said...

Ready, set, go! This is the precursor to the Obama health plan.

So easy to say, so much harder to back up.
Here, let me try my own angle:

Ready, set, go! This is the result of Bush the Lesser's massive tax cuts to the rich, which passed on no benefit to the growing ranks of poverty-stricken Americans.

georgetheatheist said...

You mean poverty-stricken American inebriates.

I am not my brother's keeper.

Anonymous said...

Ready, set, go! This is the precursor to the Obama health plan.


You better believe it!

Anonymous said...

Do they have drunk tanks anymore? What about involuntarily drying them out? They'll think twice about playing games with emergency services then.

driving around said...

Some numbers to put it in perspective:

FDNY EMS handles @3,800 911 ambulance requests every 24 hours, with 1500 or so considered "life threating" call types.

1,362,000 ambulance assignments city wide in 2008, with 269,000 in Queens.

@24,000 ambulance requests in Queens alone last month.

Now toss a couple of thousand of theses folks into the mix.

Where alcohol, drugs and mental illness meet, "Frequent Fliers" are born.

Most if not all ARE in need of follow-up mental assistance.They also tend to be among the physically sickest segment of the population.

This is nothing new. Especially the past 30 years in NYC.

If you were to examine national or international Emergency Service journals, or speak to providers in other municpalities, you would find this to be a frequent and well discussed topic.

There are no longterm viable solutions in sight, so 911 becomes the kluge.

driving around said...

Addendum to original op:

It should be noted that most, if not all, of the life threatening calls generate the response of an FDNY Engine company as well as a Police response.

Many will also recieve a 2 Ambulance response, as well as the response an EMS supervising officer.

Other City agencies may be involved as well
(e.g. in the subway).

However, the 911 system can't guess. All calls must be taken at face value. All patients must be evaluated in a standardized manner, each time, every time.
Maybe todays the day he delays your downtown F train, with a real heart attack this time.

Any mitigation or solution is cash intensive.

Anonymous said...

In New York the bums don't just get a free ride to and from the hospital--they get a free ride to Albany where they write all the laws for us to obey and them to ignore.

PizzaBagel said...

Don't dare lock them up. They sound like the kind who are just shrewd enough to game the system with frivoulous lawsuits. Next thing you know, there's a lien against somebody's property for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

If the federal government didn't do away with the old time mobsters, they could have dealt with these guys their own way. They didn't let crap like this happen in their neighborhoods.

EG said...

They should just be left to rot, right?

Anonymous said...

Yes,let them rot..........how about personal responsibility? I'd like to give them a bottle of wood alcohol.