FDNY Addresses Ambulance Bill to “Unknown Asian”

Department working with vendor to address unknown patient identities


 
 

JOSH SAUL, The New York Post | | Friday, December 13, 2013


The FDNY sent a bill for an ambulance ride to a building at The New School - addressed only to "Unknown Asian."

The $784 bill was sent to the college's building at 2 W. 13th St., leaving staffers scratching their heads when it was discovered Tuesday.

"I hesitated to open it but then I was like, 'Well, I could be an unknown Asian,' " said Christine Ahn, 29, who works in the dean's office at Parsons The New School for Design.

The bill bears the FDNY logo and demands $784.40 for a Nov. 1, 2013, emergency in which the patient was transported from 255 W. 14th St. - the address of an Associated Supermarket - to Beth Israel Medical Center on First Avenue.

The FDNY oversees the EMS.

"The funny thing for us was that there are so many Asians at this school," Ahn said.

Chris Rivera, 34, an assistant in the dean's office, quipped, "We'll just go down the hall and ask every Asian student if they needed medical assistance."

Rivera recounted the moment he found the bill in the office mail.

"When I saw it said, 'Unknown Asian,' I thought it was racist," he said.

Both Rivera and Ahn want answers from the FDNY.

"There must be 'Unknown Hispanic' or 'Unknown African-American' bills out there," Rivera said. "What else goes on in that agency?"

A FDNY source explained how the bill was generated.

When the female patient was transported at about 3 a.m. Nov. 1 for a "drug or intoxication" issue, she could not be identified by name, but a person accompanying her said the patient lived in a New School dorm, so the EMS workers filled out the form with "Unknown" for the first name and "Asian" for the last name, the source said.

The form was processed and sent to a Fire Department billing contractor, which mailed it out.

"It's a clerical or administration error that the bill was sent out," the source said.

FDNY spokesman Jim Long said changes would be made to fix the problem.

"We're speaking to the vendor and we're asking them not to process bills that have an 'Unknown for the name," Long told The Post.

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