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Collecting the bills: Emergency ambulance discusses billing service

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 It wasn’t too long ago that the Carter County Emergency Ambulance Board took action to switch from using a billing service to collect for ambulance rides to doing billing in-house. After experimenting with in-house billing for a couple of years, the board moved last month to enter into a temporary contract with a new billing service, 911 Billing, but after experiencing the service, book keeper Valerie Nolan is tentatively recommending the board renew their contract with them for a longer term once their current one-year contract has ended. In addition to being responsive to questions and providing clear communication, Nolan said, they have also done a better job at collecting than the other billing service did. 

While the in-house billing was initially considered an improvement over the previous billing service, Nolan said she doesn’t feel the ambulance service currently has the in-house resources to handle billing better than the billing service. 

“I feel like we’ve lost money,” doing in-house billing, Nolan explained. She’s hopeful that 911 Billing can help them reclaim those funds the ambulance service has been leaving on the table, though. 

“As of now, I’m very impressed (with 911 Billing),” she said. 

In other business, director Rick Loperfido reported the ambulance service is still down one full-time paramedic. Loperfido said they would like to increase the staffing of both paramedics and EMTs. He said he had one paramedic apply, but when they reached out to her to continue the process she never responded. 

In addition to a paramedic, Loperfido said they would like to increase their part-time staff, to offset overtime rates and assist with transfers from the nursing home. 

Loperfido also updated the board on truck and equipment repairs, and reported on the repairs to the oxygen refill system. 

He told the board the refill system had performed “well for the most part” over the last month. One issue he said he was preparing for was the replacement of seals in the unit. Those seals will need to be replaced on the unit soon, because of new recommendations from the RIX Company to replace seals after every 500 hours of operation. When the unit was first purchased the recommendation was to replace them every 1500 hours of operation, so three times the life under current recommendations. 

Loperfido noted he was also working on a Kentucky Homeland Security grant that he hoped would allow the ambulance service to replace their security camera system and provide the building with a new door lock entry system. 

Loperfido also reported that the ambulance service obtained another ultraviolet disinfecting lighting unit, for use at the Olive Hill station. The devices are used to kill pathogens such as the COVID virus. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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