Better Billing Aids Tenn. Ambulance Service

Ambulance staff now must file transport reports for billing by the end of their shifts


 
 

Ben Benton, Chattanooga Times Free Press | | Monday, November 7, 2011


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Sequatchie County's new ambulance service director says a number of large and small changes should keep the operation afloat and make it self-sustaining.

The biggest immediate issues are to catch up billing and update Medicare paperwork to get paid for eligible bills, director Marty Gipson said. Ambulance staff now must file transport reports for billing by the end of their shifts, which keeps paperwork up to date, he said.

"Last month, Medicare dropped us a check for $72,000," Gipson said.

"We've been averaging about $6,000 to $7,000 a week just from private insurances and people coming in and paying on their bills," he said of recent collections.

"Our fund balance is about $58,000 to $60,000, so we're staying in the black. That's the good thing," he said.

The county ambulance service has struggled for a half decade or more, according newspaper archives. County commissioners over the last five years or so repeatedly have transferred tens of thousands of dollars into the service to keep ambulances on the road.

Gipson said some other changes include a $50 charge to people who call for an ambulance then refuse transport, which will help cover fuel and labor costs for those calls. Also, a new credit card system will allow patients to pay their bills more easily. Jail inmates now will pay for their own ambulance transport from a commissary fund at the Justice Center, and the Sequatchie service is teaming up with neighboring counties to cut costs of medical supplies, he said.

Ambulance service Capt. Rusty Cheatham said the department has evolved and grown since he came on board 13 years ago.

"Then, we ran one 12-hour truck during the day and one 12-hour truck during the night," Cheatham said.

The department now has a 24-hour truck bolstered by a 10-hour daytime truck and a backup crew on 24-hour standby to man the service's third truck if the need arises, he said.

Paul Powell, county commissioner and budget committee chairman, said the ambulance service should finally gain some firm footing with a good billing system.

"It's doing fantastic compared with what it's done in the past," Powell said.

The service's short-term performance should be good and long-term expectations are high "as long as there are no changes in Medicare or Medicaid," he said.

The ambulance service should now be "able to carry its own load," he said.



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, ambulance 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

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York Ambulance Service Begins Using Power Cot

Service is first in county with new technology.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Traffic Cam Captures Wisconsin Ambulance Crash

Driver of ambulance cited for failing to operate safely.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Hospital Mourns Helicopter Crash Victims

TriState CareFlight pilot and crew killed in crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Deadly Mudslide In Central Japan Caught On Video

Mudslide in Japan caught on video by a security camera.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Moscow Subway MCI

At least 20 dead and 150 injured in subway derailment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Wounded Veteran Resiliency

Marine is one of many in quality of life study.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

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


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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


Multimedia Thumb

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

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


More Product Videos >