Ambulance services will no longer be offered free of cost in the emirate as Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) starts implementing a self-funding programme to cover basic operational costs.
Patients will be able to use their insurance cards to pay for the service. However, those without insurance will be given the service free of cost on a humanitarian basis until required.
The first phase of the initiative will cover all Dubai residents and will later be extended to include visitors to Dubai as well.
Officials announced on Tuesday that the decision, which will be implemented by the end of the year, was not meant to generate income but to improve the services offered.
Khalifa bin Darri, executive director of the DCAS said that this move will help build a strategic plan for development of the health sector in the emirate.
“The health insurance coverage shall help in reducing the government spending on ambulance and emergency, while the DCAS shall cover the emergency needs of people who do not have valid health insurance according to the current policy,” said bin Darri.
He also commended issuance of the mandatory Health Insurance Law by Dubai government that provides health insurance coverage for locals and expatriates in Dubai, secures and improves provision of the health care for the entire community.
Dr Haider Yousaf, Director of Health Funding at Dubai Health Authority, said that the service was already covered by insurance in the emergency services Basic Health Benefits plan.
Accumed Practice Management company will be providing medical billing and revenue cycle management services to DCAS.
DCAS has a fleet of 177 ambulances that include vehicles of various types. It has 68 stations distributed across Dubai and is considered to be the largest in the world.
Recently, five Mustangs that can travel at up to 300/km per hour were added to the fleet.
The vehicles, which are worth Dh1 million each, have been modified and come equipped with basic medical equipment designed to respond to emergency calls. They have the ability to travel at a much faster pace than ordinary vehicles, therefore reaching an injured patient in record time.