Emergency Medical Service (EMS)

Frequently Asked Questions

EMS Vehicles MVA I-635


  • What is EMS?

    EMS stands for Emergency Medical Service. EMS provides medical care outside of the hospital or medical office setting. Most often, people call EMS when they have had an accident or are experiencing a medical emergency. Emergencies might include heart attack, difficulty breathing, falls, accidents, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdose and acute illnesses. EMS may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and enroute to a hospital.

  • What is an EMS system?

    EMS is much more than an ambulance service. The delivery of EMS is made up of many parts, together which are called the EMS system. The EMS system includes the 9-1-1 dispatch center, first responders, and the ambulance, physicians and nurses who provide advice via radio or phone, helicopter ambulances, hospital receiving facilities, and governmental and medical oversight bodies.

  • What if I don’t have medical insurance?
    KCKFD will still provide assessment, treatment, and transportation, as needed. The department attempts to recover medical supplies and costs through ambulance billing. The department will bill the individual’s medical insurance for cost recovery purposes. If the individual’s insurance does not pay or they do not have medical insurance, the department will bill the individual. Questions about the status of an account should be directed to the billing contractor, Intermedix at 1-888-980-9136.
  • Why does a fire engine respond on medical calls?

    This provides better service to the community. The department dispatches the closest first responder company and the closest ambulance to each emergency call. At least one of these vehicles will have a paramedic on board. Often both do. With fire apparatus in 18 fire stations and ambulances in 9 stations, the chances are good that the first responder fire apparatus will arrive before the ambulance. The paramedics and EMTs on the fire apparatus can begin life-saving assessment and treatment prior to the arrival of the ambulance. In the event that ambulance transport is not necessary, the ambulance can be canceled, making it available to handle other calls.

    For medical emergencies, the department is committed to placing a paramedic on the scene and for a paramedic to transport the patient to the hospital. For life-threatening emergencies, the department will place two paramedics on the scene to provide care for the patient on-scene and during transport.

  • What hospital will the ambulance take me to?

    Patients transported from emergency calls go to a hospital emergency room for evaluation and treatment. There are several rules that govern where that patient can be transported. The ambulance will normally transport the patient to their hospital of choice. If the patient is critical, i.e. in cardiac arrest, they will be transported to the closest facility. If the patient has certain medical conditions, i.e. trauma injury, burn, or chest pain, they will be transported to the closest appropriate facility. Pediatric patients may be transported to the hospital of choice or to Children’s Mercy, depending on the situation.

    Currently hospitals can select to close to patients arriving by ambulance. If that is the situation for the chosen hospital, the technicians will advise that the wait at that hospital may be delayed and give the patient the opportunity to select an alternative facility. However, if the patient insists on being taken to that closed facility, the ambulance will transport them there.

  • What insurance do you file?

    Normally it will be your primary health insurance unless the bill is due to an auto accident or an on the job injury (worker’s compensation). Occasionally you will receive a bill even if you have insurance because the insurance information was not available to the crew at the time of the call. If you endured a worker’s compensation injury or you would like us to file a medical claim with Medicare, Medicaid, and/or your health insurance, please contact our billing representative at 800-248-2262 as soon as possible. When calling the representative, please have your ambulance account number and insurance card available. Please understand that Medicare, Medicaid, and some health insurance companies do not cover Treatment without Transport charges.

  • What do I do when the insurance company pays the patient/insured directly?

    Please contact the billing representative as soon as possible at 800-248-2262 for further assistance.

  • What do I do when my insurance company denies payment for ambulance service?
    First, review your health insurance plan to see if they cover ambulance service. You can also contact your health insurance company for assistance. When the insurance company denies ambulance service, the patient/responsible party is liable for submitting payment to the Unified Government.
  • Where can I get more information on EMS regulations and certifications in Kansas?

    The Kansas Board of EMS oversees the provision of ambulance service in Kansas. Their website is www.ksbems.org.

  • How do I get a copy of an EMS report or ambulance bill?

    EMS reports and ambulance bills may be requested through Fire Headquarters for a small fee. The cost to obtain the EMS report is $5 and the cost to obtain the ambulance bill is $14. They can be requested in person only with a picture ID. EMS reports can only be requested by the patient, by the legal guardian (with proof of guardianship), by the parent or legal guardian of a minor, or by subpoena. A medical release form signed by the patient or guardian must accompany a written request by an attorney. Processing time is approximately 10 days. Please fax written requests with appropriate documentation to 913-551-0490 or mail them to:

    Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department
    Attention: Medical Records
    815 North 6th
    Kansas City, KS 66101

    Health Information Records Request Form (pdf)