Mid-Mo Ambulance's new collection agency draws complaints
Originally published November 21, 2012 at 6 a.m., updated November 20, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
Mid-Mo Ambulance District has contracted with a new collection agency, Ruben and Rosenthal, and collections picked up within 24 hours. Administrator Lee Kempf informed the board, based on complaints from people whose accounts had been turned over to the agency, that "apparently they are very aggressive in their collection methods." He has spoken to the company regarding complaints, but has found them effective. The new collection agency had already collected money owed to the district within 24 hours of making the agreement.
According to Brenda West, the district decided to try this collection agency partially because it charges no money up front. Instead, it works on a percentage of 25 percent of collections on accounts under a year old and 50 percent of collections more than a year old. Most of the rest require a significant amount from the district paid up front, many require a larger number of accounts for collection than the district actually has.
Kempf said a few more than 30 accounts were sent to the agency, and it looks successful because collections have already been made. The contract stipulates that 25 percent be paid to the agency on any accounts taken back. Kempf stated that he "won't pay to get back bad debt." The district is very lenient as far as payment plans go and is willing to work with anyone on their ambulance bill. In some cases, the patient or the receiving medical center has provided incorrect or insufficient information for filing for insurance.
"But when monthly statements and attempts to collect insurance information or payment are ignored, and the patient makes no contact with the office about their bill, they will be turned over to collections," Kempf said.
The board made no motions regarding the agency or collection of payments owed.
In other business, the board reviewed the Critical Care Transport (CCT) service begun by the district in June. Following new policy proposals, the board approved continuing the service with the new policies in force.
Supervisor Jason Elliott provided actual expenses and income from the very beginning. He said that even though the service currently has a $7,073.66 deficit, he doesn't see how it can be a financial burden. West reported the CCT looks much better than last month, since more claims have been processed and paid. She expects at least $10,000 more to be paid on claims in that time period. That would bring it into the black.
In view of the transports done so far, Elliott has more of an idea of what to look for when a request is made. A part of the new policy is that only Medicaid patients who are citizens of the district will be transported. Kempf said he believes the district has an obligation to residents, even if the cost of the transport is greater than the amount which will be received from Medicaid. If they are not from the two counties in the district, the district shouldn't be transporting at a loss.
The board approved renewal of the district's property, liability and casualty insurance. Mike Keith of Mike Keith's Insurance, Clinton, presented the renewal proposals accepted. The total premiums was $25,973. This is only a $134 increase from last year and is due to the addition of the Barnett base and a new supervisor car. The renewal of the crime policy (bond) for the board for $500 was also approved.
A bid was accepted from Humphrey Custom Flooring, Tipton, as the low bid for new vinyl flooring for the carpet at the Versailles base. The flooring looks like wood and should be easier to keep clean.
The treasurer's report gave a balance of funds on hand of $614,908.33 at the end of October.
Run statistics for October were: Tipton — 66 calls with 46 transports; California — 87 calls with 55 transports; Versailles — 150 calls with 107 transports; Barnett 15 calls with 10 transports. Total calls district-wide were 318 with 218 transports for a transport rate on patient contact call of 79 percent.