The full Warren County Commission will be considering a measure this month that could generate revenue for its ambulance service without increasing the cost to transport patients.
Under review will be a three-year contract with AMB, a national ambulance and EMS full-service billing and revenue enhancement firm that specializes in billing and obtaining payment for services. The service charge will be 5.75 percent per month of its net collection.
According to EMS interim director Preston Denney, the company promises to collect enough additional revenue to pay for its services.
“They guarantee us a 5.75 percent increase in collections,” said Denney. “If their increase is lower than that, then their fee will match that. If they only do a 4 percent increase, then their fee cannot be higher than 4 percent.”
If the company generates more than 5.75 percent in revenue, anything above that belongs to the county. Denney says he has contacted other counties and they are more than satisfied with the results.
“Every county in the upper Cumberland has switched to them,” said Denney. “Some counties, like Cannon County, they received a 12 percent increase. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to says they guarantee around 6 percent. Putnam County said its increase was between 6 and 7 percent.”
By the contact, the county agrees AMB will be the sole and exclusive provider of the billing services during the terms of the agreement, and will not utilize any other party of entity, or its own personnel, to bill for services rendered during the term of the agreement. If the company does not perform as expected, the county can terminate the contract.
The measure was presented to county Safety Committee members Teddy Boyd, chair, Carl D. Bouldin, Randy England, Ron Lee and Charles Morgan.
Currently, EMS has three people on staff in its billing department with two full-time people and one part-time person.
Morgan questioned what would happen to those staff members.
Denney replied, “We still have to keep people in-house to review runs, receive payment if someone comes in to make a payment and keep our records. Most of the people I’ve talked to have kept their same billing staff they had. In Putnam, they had two full-time and one part-time person. They dropped their part-time and kept their full-time people. All the company does is codes. We have to have staff for everything else.”
Committee members approved the agreement 4-1. Boyd, Bouldin, England and Morgan voted in favor of the agreement, while Lee voted against it.
“I have a problem paying for something we could do ourselves,” said Lee. “Maybe we can look into software where we can be more efficient or send our employees for training. I think we can generate that 5.75 percent ourselves.”
The contract with AMB was unanimously approved by both the county Financial Management Committee and Budget and Finance Committee members. It will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for its consideration March 21.