Metro Detroit family shocked by massive ambulance bill after child transported with dog bite

Help Me Hank helps resolve long battle with ambulance company

Metro Detroit family frustrated over $5,300 ambulance ride

DETROIT – A Metro Detroit family was stunned by a massive ambulance bill after their child was taken less than 25 miles at normal traffic speeds with a non-life-threatening dog bite.

Little Kenna’s family was stunned when they received a bill for more than $5,000 from the ambulance company. They said they traveled less than 25 miles at normal posted speeds from Henry Ford West Bloomfield to Children’s Hospital in Downtown Detroit.

They’ve been battling the ambulance company for months, and the issue wasn’t resolved until Help Me Hank stepped in.

In July 2018, Kenna and her family were at a party when she was bitten by a dog.

“The dog reached over and bit her skull and shook it,” her mother said.

The young girl was first treated at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield, but her parents said doctors there suggested she be taken to Children’s Hospital in Detroit.

“They found out her skull was fractured, so they sent her to Children’s,” her mother said.

Kenna was put in an ambulance and her mother rode with her. Since her parents were told the injuries weren’t life-threatening, the ambulance rolled along at normal posted speeds, they said.

“There were no sirens and they obeyed all traffic laws,” Kenna’s mother said.

“I was following behind,” Kenna’s father said. “It was 2 a.m. There was no traffic and we obeyed all traffic lights. I was able to follow just like I’d follow any other car.”

Kenna was treated and released. She ultimately recovered, but the bill for the ambulance ride took everyone by surprise. After the insurance company paid a portion of the bill, the family was left with a tab of around $5,300. They claim they tried to negotiate with Superior Ambulance, but didn’t have any luck.

The family hired attorney Glenn Saltsman. He said he also faced challenges working to get the bill down.

“I was shocked, and I’ve been an attorney for 25 years and was disturbed by this,” Saltsman said. “They actually sent a $6,600 bill and my client’s health insurance paid more than $1,000, so when they kept going after my client over and above that, I was really upset.”

The family and Saltsman reached out to Help Me Hank. When we tried to reach out to Superior, leaving repeated messages, there was no response.

Finally, we reached out to Henry Ford Hospital and a contact connected Hank Winchester will the vice president of Superior. He said the issue would be investigated.

Days later, Saltsman said the battle had finally ended. The vice president for Superior said in a statement that the billing issues had been resolved.

“We’re thankful to Help Me Hank,” Saltsman said. “Without his intervention, I believe we would still be battling.”

If something like this happens to you and it’s not a life-threatening ask, find out if the ambulance provider is in network, even though these decisions are often made during stressful situations. If you’re hit with a big bill, call the hospital, your insurance provider and the transport company. Work to negotiate, if possible.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.