In June Delaware County Commissioners directed county Emergency Medical Services to seek proposals and bids for cost recovery services.
Monday morning EMS Chief Mike Schuiling presented a contract with PST Services to commissioners, which they approved.
“They were the lowest bidder,” Schuiling said. “They came in exceedingly lower than anybody else.”
Until now majority of EMS has been funded by a county sales tax. “A very large portion is paid for through a .5-percent permissive sales tax,” Schuiling said. “I receive countless phone calls every day from people who want to pay their EMS bill and they’re just shocked that we don’t bill.”
“I think Delaware County is one of the only and last, that I’m aware of, agencies that does not participate in any cost recovery services such as the EMS soft billing. Also known as insurance-only billing,” he said.
Schuiling said with changes in the Affordable Care Act and the changes of funding models the county needs to start billing insurance companies. “The cost of medicine as a whole is continuing on the rise,” he said. “What we’re doing here is looking for a reimbursement from the insurance company, not the resident.”
Steve Culham, PST Services, said the State of Ohio mandates that insurance companies have minimum requirements in a policy. “Cost of ambulance transport has to be in there,” he said.
Schuiling said if an insurance company only covers EMS up to certain amount the remainder of the cost is covered by the county. “We are going to recoup a portion that is the actual cost to treat a patient,” he said.
“Delaware County residents will not see a bill,” Schuiling said. “They will receive no billing, nothing in the mail from Delaware county or the billing company that indicates that they owe us money. This is strictly insurance billing.”
However, non-county residents will be billed for the remainder, Culham said.
“How are we coming with getting others signed on to soft billing,” asked Commissioner Jeff Benton, “township, city?
“We’ve set up a meeting with any other departments in the county that would chose to establish soft billing services,” Schuiling said. “They would contact PST and set up a contract through them with the rates and essentially the language we have already established.”
The meeting is Nov. 9.
“Communication is going to be extremely important to the residents because there will be misunderstandings,” said Commissioner Gary Merrell. “Bottom line we are leaving money on the table and this an opportunity to collect money that all of our neighbors around us are collecting.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.