Errant Ambulance Subscription Appeal Causes Confusion
Some in Macungie service area mistakenly receive request for funds from the Cetronia corps.
Some Macungie- and Lower Macungie area residents may have been surprised recently when they opened a letter asking them to support Cetronia Ambulance Corps of South Whitehall Township.
The surprise comes because Macungie Borough and some surrounding portions have been served by Macungie Ambulance Corps since 1955. The organization is seemingly as strong as ever. So why the appeal from the more distant ambulance service?
The answer is that the letters were sent to some people by mistake, according to representatives of both ambulance corps.
"We have received dozens of phone calls regarding residents covered by the Macungie Ambulance Corps receiving a Cetronia Ambulance subscription request," said Christopher Greb, operations manager for Macungie Ambulance. "There has been no change in primary coverage area and the request has certainly caused confusion."
Some people received the letter by mistake because Cetronia's mass mailing mistakenly included all residents in the 18062 ZIP Code, according Larry Wiersch, chief executive officer of Cetronia Ambulance, which also was founded in 1955.
"We apologize and will gladly answer your questions as to which service is appropriate for you to subscribe to if you are unsure of which primary ambulance service covers your area," Wiersch said, offering to clarify the coverage area for anyone who is confused.
The Cetronia Administrative Office number is 610-398-0239.
In general, ambulance subscriptions provide individual or family coverage for participants for a year. If a person who is covered needs ambulance service, the ambulance corps will accept insurance coverages that are paid. A patient will not have to pay uncovered expenses out of pocket. However, a nonsubscriber would have to pay what his insurance company will not.
That is the benefit to the subscriber; meanwhile, the ambulance corps has the advantage of receiving a steady income stream to maintain service.
As Greb said, he received dozens of phone calls from confused residents. These are valid concerns, but the leaders from both ambulance corps want you to know there are safeguards.
First, because of 911 computer programming, a caller will receive an ambulance from the proper district even if an incorrect service is requested, unless a back-up is necessary because of an influx of simultaneous emergencies. Next, the two corps have reciprocal agreements, meaning that if a Macungie subscriber is treated by Cetronia, the same financial benefits apply, and vice-versa.
Wiersch encouraged all residents to subscribe to their local ambulance service, regardless of where that service is located, because that support is critical to keeping pre-hospital care strong throughout the region.
So, there has been no change in territory or squabbling for more patients. All that Greb wants is to give residents the confidence that their needs will be met. He said that Lower Macungie Township has sent out a mass email to residents and posted information on its website to try to clarify the situation. He also has contacted Macungie borough officials in an effort to do the same.
Macungie Ambulance Corps covers all of Macungie and Alburtis, all of Lower Macungie with the exception of a few homes just outside of Emmaus, the western portion of Upper Milford Township and a portion of Lower Milford Township.