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Read Comments Leave a Comment By GINGER ADAMS OTIS and MELISSA KLEIN

WHAT A PAIN: Ricky Alardo and Robert are "frequent fliers" who call 911 with fake chest pains or other ailments to get free meals and beds at hospitals.


These bums are costing you a fortune.


Ricky Alardo, a homeless alcoholic nicknamed Ricky Ricardo, swigs cheap vodka by day at his favorite corner in Washington Heights, then calls an ambulance to chauffeur him to the hospital for a free meal and a warm place to sleep, courtesy of taxpayers who fund his Medicaid benefits.


For a chronic caller like Alardo -- who phones 911 four or five times a week -- the annual medical bill can be as high as $300,000. Over 13 years, the length of time he has been abusing the emergency room, he has cost the medical system an estimated $3.9 million.


In Midtown, another bum, Robert, has faked emergencies to get food and shelter in ERs about 40 or 50 times in the past three years -- and taxpayers pick up his tab, too.


Ricky and Robert are among the dozens of "frequent fliers" who clog the 911 system, tie up city ambulances, crowd emergency rooms and burn through Medicaid money.


An ambulance ride alone can run as much as $800, and an ER visit can cost, conservatively, $400 a pop, according to estimates from medical experts.


City officials don't track frequent fliers or the costs associated with their transport and hospital care, but anecdotal numbers from ER and EMS workers suggest there are dozens throughout the city.


"We have a system that is extremely dysfunctional. We have no place to put these people," an EMS medic said.


A paramedic working downtown said some frequent fliers think they'll get faster treatment if they arrive at an ER by ambulance, rather than walk in.


"They know what to say to our call takers," he said.


Or they'll tell a bystander, "Oh, I have chest pains," the medic said.


Alardo, 53, phones 911 so regularly, medics know which calls are likely his.


"When Ricky passes on, I'll probably even go to his funeral," said one medic who works in Washington Heights. "I've seen him almost every day for the last 13 years."


An inebriated Alardo lauded the medics last week, saying they "treat me like a king."



The fare is 2.25......no free ride here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Geez these people are milking it big-time. Can't they come up with another way to get food and a place to rest besides wasting space in a hospital?

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1. Get a backhoe.

2. Dig a really big hole.

3. Dump freeloaders into really big hole.

4. ???

5. PROFIT!!!

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