$1,000 to take you to the ER!

Are you guys familiar with this?

A very close friend of mine was in a car accident recently and was taken to the Emergency Room by the Phoenix Fire Department. A few weeks later, that person received in the mail from the Phoenix Fire Department a bill for $1,000! The bill asked to charge the patient's insurance company.

Then later, another letter in the mail from the Phoenix Fire Department asking for authorization to bill the insurance company for future trips to the Emergency Room! I have never heard of this before!

One reason I love living in Phoenix is because of the outstanding municipal services, but I had no idea you to have to pay for them on as as needed basis. Plus I happen to know that the Phoenix Fire Department does a lot of Emergency Room runs with drug over doses etc, and do those patients have insurance that pays a thousand dollars for each time they are taken to the hospital?

Is this something new? What is going on here?