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500-foot ambulance ride cost $673

UPI News Service, 03/22/2006 

An Illinois man says he will not pay the bill for an ambulance ride until someone explains to him why the five-minute, 500-foot ride cost $673.

Ken Ward was further incensed to learn that the January trip -- which took him from a heart clinic to Swedish American Hospital -- was charged at double the typical rate because he lives outside the Rockford, Ill., city limits.

Rockford Fire Chief William Robertson said the City Council set the price and the distance is irrelevant.

"It cost what it cost," Robertson told the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. "Whether we go across the street or whether we go five miles, you have the same care in the back of the ambulance."

Ward threatened to take his complaint to the City Council and disputed a claim that he was given advanced life support during the trip.

"I probably could have walked it," Ward told the newspaper. "If I had known it would be that much, I literally would have crawled across the street."

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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