By Gary Nelson
A third party billing company should be taking over billing for the Cumberland County EMS department as of Dec. 16.
Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. reported the news to the county's budget committee last week.
Carey said, "They have scheduled training for the new system on Dec. 10, 11 and 12 and should take over the billing on the 16th."
The county's financial management committee unanimously approved awarding a contract to Ambulance Medical Billing (AMB) back in August.
The award of the contract was after the recommendation of the county’s emergency services committee and the review of the contract by county attorney Randal Boston.
The emergency services committee agreed to AMB’s proposal at a rate of 5.1.5 percent of collection fees and 12 tough books (computers) with a guarantee of increasing collection revenues of 15 percent and recommended it to the financial management committee.
The county had considered third-party billing in order to increase its collections for EMS/ambulance service bills that are going unpaid.
The county will have a contract with AMB and ESO Software Solutions, the company that supplies the software for the computers, but all interaction will be between the county and AMB.
According to the agreement, the company promises the county will see an increase in revenue collections once it takes over billing.
The company requires a considerable amount of data information from the county's EMS department in order to set the system up with the software for billing.
Carey explained that EMS has had to call each and every facility they transport patients to and get their code for billing in order to supply it to the company that will be taking over.
"That alone has taken a great deal of time and effort. They have had to physically call each place and get the code. That is a lot of places and a lot of calls. The dollar numbers should be up though once we start," Carey said.
Jeff Dodson, county fire chief and EMS director, reported last month that billing collections were down due to employees being out on leave.
Carey reported that a full time person had been hired, as well as a part time person to help get the billing caught back up and on track.
"We're close to having that all the way caught up and the numbers should be up," Carey said.
Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner and emergency services committee chairman, said the committee had asked AMB to attend its next meeting and explain why it has taken so long to get everything up and running.
"They have been invited to come to the meeting and we hope they will so we can find out why it has been taking so long," Hyder said.
The company said it would have the system up and running within six weeks after it was approved by the county.