2008-10-25 / News

Trustees want more details on EMS billing

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON - Union Township Trustees and the Village of Hebron may have different ideas about what could be done with EMS billing revenue. Monday night, Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly presented a fire department budget to trustees. Weekly's report showed the fire department has collected $151,000 from EMS transport bills since last year.

EMS billing programs are designed to collect reimbursement from private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. However, federal regulations may require Hebron to collect the deductible or co-pay portion of the EMS transport fee from non-residents. Hebron and township residents living in the Hebron contract area should not receive bills if they aren't covered by insurance. Others will be billed, but unpaid accounts will not be turned over for collection.

Hebron Fiscal Officer Carie Kraner said the village began collecting EMS billing in July 2007, when the village did not have a fiscal officer. The village hired a MED3000, a Pittsburgh based medical administration company, to manage the EMS billing. The money is deposited in a Park National Bank account, where the Hebron Village Council wanted it held for a year to determine roughly how much money is collected annually.

Kraner said the state requires EMS billing revenue to go into the general fund, and council members said the money will eventually go to the Hebron Fire Department. In his 2009 budget, Weekly hopes to use $12,000 toward operational EMS supplies, $14,000 toward fire & EMS training, $55,000 will be set aside annually toward EMS vehicle replacement, $15,000 toward computer and communications equipment, $5,000 will be set aside annually for EMS equipment and upgrades, and $30,000 toward a pump and ladder truck, leaving $20,000 in a contingency fund.

The Hebron Fire Department's operational expenses are $974,364 a year. The township, which contracts with Hebron for fire protection, pays 60 percent of those operating expenses, or $584,618. When EMS billing began, Union Township Trustee Jack Justice asked that MED3000 separate money collected from patient transports in the township from those in the village.

"It never happened," said Justice. "It's a bit of a soft subject." He said he understands MED3000 had its reasons for not separating them in the beginning, and he's not blaming Weekly or anyone else from Hebron, but he would like to know how much of the EMS billing revenue is generated from township runs.

Trustee John Slater agreed. "They've done what they can" to separate the village and township totals, he said, but doing so was part of the original discussion when EMS billing was approved. Slater said that while the trustees aren't currently expecting a slice of the EMS billing revenue, they want to have "some idea" of how much money is generated in the township if there is a budget crunch and the township needs to fall back on that revenue.

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