Frequent 911 users costing KCMO taxpayers millions of dollars

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Fire Department reports some people are using the ambulance service way too much and it's costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Last year, KCFD paramedics responded to more than 62,000 calls. However, some of those calls that the fire department describe as "frequent users."

In 2013, the top 25 frequent users called 911 for an ambulance 671 times.

In their most extreme case, one person called 200 times and each time that person was taken to the hospital.

In all the cases, the frequent users haven't paid their bills, costing the fire department's ambulance service about $12 million a year.

KCFD Chief Paul Berardi said the problem doesn't affect only the department's ambulance service but the hospitals that the "frequent users" go to as well.

"We must absolutely respond to all calls for services but there are a number of ambulances in the system so we're able to do that but there is no doubt these high volume calls impact our ability to serve those true life-threatening emergencies," Berardi said.

The department said since they identified the problem in 2007, they've been working with social service programs via the Citizens’ Assistance Program to get frequent users the help they need to stop using emergency services.

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