Upstate N.Y. Agency Loses Bid to Go to Third-Party Billing

The president of HEMS was both discouraged and perplexed by the decision


 
 

Eileen Werbitsky, Buffalo News | | Thursday, March 1, 2012


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For several years, the group of volunteers known as Holland Emergency Medical Services has prepared to move to a third-party billing system that it says would bring in revenue and remove the group as a burden to taxpayers.

But after two years of lobbying the Town Board, whose approval HEMS needed, the answer it got this month was not what it wanted to hear.

"We're going to leave everything as it is," Supervisor Michael Kasprzyk said after the recent vote that ended HEMS' quest. "Changing things will present more problems than it's worth."

Joseph Gonter, president of HEMS, was both discouraged and perplexed by the decision.

"They say they don't want to be in the ambulance business, but when the town signs a contract with Waste Management, does that mean they're in the garbage business? I don't think so," Gonter said.

In December 2009, HEMS incorporated as a not-for-profit, the first move in an effort to steer the group toward a new business model, Gonter said.

That model would mean that HEMS, which answered about 170 calls last year, would begin charging for its services like Rural/Metro does, but at a lower rate. Customers would pay a co-pay to their insurance companies, and the insurance companies would pay HEMS the outstanding balance.

Currently, HEMS, which counts about 15 EMTs or paramedics in its ranks, operates solely on a $38,000 budget paid for through taxes to the fire district. Residents who require rescue or transport services from HEMS are charged nothing.

The rescue squad president said he is frustrated with the idea that some officials think the switch to third-party billing is not worth it. A professional ambulance-billing company had estimated HEMS could earn $85,000 annually.

Gonter pointed to Gowanda and Orchard Park as communities that have successfully turned their ambulance services around to self-sustaining entities.

Kasprzyk said Tuesday that the Town Board "agonized" over the issue.

"We didn't want to alienate residents and some of the firemen who didn't think this was a good idea," the supervisor said. He noted that rising co-pay costs and the number of uninsured residents in town also were deciding factors.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, third-party billing

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

British Medics Bid Farewell to Afghanistan Base

Medical team and troops leave Camp Bastion.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crash at Wichita Airport

Small plane crashes into airport safety building.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Authorities Investigate Firefighters at Arizona EMS Call

Confrontation caught on video involving Glendale firefighters.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Radio Problems for New York Medics

Medic’s radio failed during a call with an armed patient.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting Incident

Solider is shot by gunman at national memorial in Ottawa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >