2008-12-20 / News

Council members, trustees discuss EMS billing issues

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON - A Med3000 representative told the Hebron Village Council members and the Union Township Trustees Dec. 10 that the company would have provided requested information to the trustees if the council had authorized Med3000 to do so. The representative was also clear that providing information to trustees was never part of a written contract with the Village of Hebron.

Trustees have complained for several months that they have not received information directly from Med3000 detailing how much revenue is generated from EMS billing in Union Township. They believed that their receipt of collection data was part of their agreement for the Hebron Fire Department to begin EMS billing. Trustees have been getting the data from the fire department , but trustees want to get it directly from Med3000. They consider it a matter of principle and believedirect receipt provides an extra layer of accountability.

EMS billing programs 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 aren't billed if they don't have insurance. Others will be billed, such as Buckeye Lake Village residents, if they do not have insurance coverage. However, unpaid accounts will not be turned over for collection.

EMS billing started in July 2007 and runs in Union Township have generated more than $53,000 since July 2007

"It's not like we're asking for anything new," said Trustee President John Slater to the council.

Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason said Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly told him the township was receiving the information. Slater said the trustees probably should've approached the council directly earlier. "We do need to work through the proper channels," said Mason.

Med3000 representative Fred Reedy said the fire department didn't begin EMS billing until almost a year after an agreement was reached. "We can't just assemble a report without authorization from Hebron," he said. Med3000 is able to provide the information to the trustees as soon as they have clearance.

"Now we can clear the air up," said Glenn Goodpaster, Med3000 vice president. He said Med3000 couldn't just give information to a third party because Med3000 is bound to its clients and there's a matter of confidentiality. Goodpaster said the trustees' request was never part of the written contract with Hebron. "My contract is not with Union Township; it's with the village," he said, adding that Med3000 has "really taken a beating" in the media over the issue. He said the village needed to give him direction.

Mason said he's been very happy with Med3000's service, and Med3000 information goes directly to Weekly.

Slater said there may have been nothing contractual, but it was agreed upon from the beginning. Goodpaster said a casual conversation can't be built into the contract. Mason said there was an 11-month span between speaking with Med3000 and signing the contract. "We now know what the problem is," he said, and it's time to solve it.

Reedy said Med3000 will make the information available to Weekly online. "We are more than willing to work with you," he said. Weekly said the department is obligated to give people requested information.

Goodpaster confirmed that the council directed Med3000 to make the information available to the trustees.

Slater wondered if the information would include a breakdown of mutual aid runs into the township. That revenue should be accounted for as well, he said.

Reedy said Med3000's programs don't break down mutual aid because it's really not directly relevant to his clients' needs.

Trustee Jessie Ours told council the fire department is doing a great job, but "got off on the wrong foot" with the EMS billing issue. He said township residents ask him if Union Township would benefit from the EMS billing revenue.

Mason said the law dictates that EMS billing revenue can only be used for fire department expenses. That's understood by trustees, who believe, due to their heavy investment in the department, that they should have some input on how the revenue is spent.

Tuesday, Mason said he and council members knew for some time that Union Township wanted reveneue information. They also knew that trustees were getting the data they requested. "What we recently learned was they were not satisfied the information, albeit more in depth, was being provided by Hebron Fire Department, not Med3000," said Mason in an email. "The bottom line is they chose to work through the fire chief, not the Village, when the fire chief (fire department) does not have a business, client relationship (with Med3000), the village does." If the trustees wanted more specific information, he said, they should have contacted the village. "Once I understood their concerns, we brought all parties together, and now the information will continue to be provided to the village as per agreement, and shared with the township via the fire chief," said Mason.

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