By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Cumberland County Fire Chief and EMS Director Jeff Dodson reported to the budget committee Tuesday evening and said funding from Medicare is finally flowing into the county "pretty good."
The county EMS went several months at the beginning of the year where it was not receiving Medicare payments due to several glitches in the re-validation process.
"What was the root cause of all of this?" Allen Foster, 4th District commissioner, asked.
"Back last fall, Medicare required all EMS agencies to go through a re-validation process. Not all have even gone through it yet. Anyway, we had to fill out several forms and submit them. We got all the paperwork filled out and submitted it," Dodson said.
"We had money coming in through December and then noticed in February that, as of January of this year, we hadn't receiving any claim payments. Well, we contacted them and they said one of the forms was incomplete and they said we wouldn't receive any money until we were reinstated," Dodson said.
He further explained that it took several months of little odds and ends and quirks that weren't completed or checked off.
At one point, Medicare owed the county nearly $500,000 in claims that had not been paid.
"It was very frustrating," Dodson said.
Dodson said the funding finally started flowing by late July, but the county had to resubmit all the old claims in addition to newer, current claims.
"So far, we've gotten everything resubmitted up to June of this year and we've got a little more to go, but we don't know for sure what's paid from the older claims and what's paid from the newer claims," Dodson said.
"Well, your Medicare representative should be able to tell you. They can generate a report for what's outstanding from 60 days or 90 days and tell you what's outstanding on all these claims. There is a way they can tell you," said 5th District Commissioner Jan McNeil.
"We've got to know about this and what kind of figures we're looking at in order to plan our budget," 1st District Commissioner and Budget Committee Chairman Harry Sabine said.
Commissioners said they would like for Dodson to come back to the committee in November and a give an updated report from Medicare on what's outstanding and what's been paid.
Dodson reported previously the county had received payments from Medicare for $324,000 from last month and $50,000 from the month before.
"I think we've got the problems worked out now because money's flowing regularly. Normally we get around $200,000 a month when everything's running right," Dodson said.
The committee unanimously agreed to have Dodson come to the November monthly budget meeting and give an updated report.