Uber or ambulance? Pine Belt residents speak out - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Uber or ambulance? Pine Belt residents speak out

A new study by the University of Kansas shows an increasing number of people are choosing Uber instead of an ambulance for trips to the hospital. Photo credit WDAM. A new study by the University of Kansas shows an increasing number of people are choosing Uber instead of an ambulance for trips to the hospital. Photo credit WDAM.
PINE BELT (WDAM) -

The Pine Belt is reacting to a new study that shows an increasing number of people are choosing Uber, the popular online transportation service, instead of an ambulance, for a trip to the hospital. 

The study is from the University of Kansas.

It checked out ambulance rates in hundreds of U.S. cities when Uber was available in the area from 2013-2015.  

It found that Uber use reduced 'per capita ambulance volume' by about seven percent. 

The study says more patients may be using Uber to save money. 

"The paramedics are prepared to take care of whatever is necessary at that moment, because most times you need an ambulance, you're in trouble and you need help, (so) it's not worth saving money to go on Uber," said Dallas Moseley, of Waynesboro. 

But, Serrina Blackmon of Hattiesburg feels differently.

"It's cheaper, it's like only $15 to use Uber, it's better than a medical bill." she said.   

Uber wasn't available in the Hattiesburg area until July, 2016.

And at least one Pine Belt ambulance company has seen no drop in the volume of calls since the service became available.  

"Overall, our calls have been consistent, we've not seen a decline in ambulance calls," said Chuck Carter, chief of operations for Triple-A Ambulance.     

"We encourage people to call 911 if you have an emergency. You're going to talk to a trained dispatcher and you'll be entered into a system of care that could provide critical intervention," said Carter. "It also provides early notification of the hospital." 

Carter added, "People are free to make their own decisions, but we would encourage them to dial 911."

Copyright 2017 WDAM. All rights reserved. 

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