The billing hours of Warren County EMS are changing again and consideration could be made to reducing the number of employees since the county has entered into an agreement with a private company to handle part of the department’s responsibilities.
Back on Jan. 4, the county Safety Committee adjusted the billing hours to keep the office open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with staggered one-hour lunches for the two full-time employees.
Prior to that, the office was open from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and complaints were heard that the office closing early gave no time for people to make it after work to pay a bill.
The schedule change means the full-time employees are working eight-hours a day, five days a week. According to Safety Committee chair Teddy Boyd, the employees have objected to the change and are requesting of EMS interim director Preston Denney they be placed on the same schedule as the rest of the county’s departments.
“Billing at the ambulance service want to know why they have to keep the office open until 5 p.m. when the rest of the offices in the county close at 4:30,” said Boyd. “They want 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday thru Thursday and on Friday, they stay open until 5 p.m.”
On the committee with Boyd are Commissioners Carl D. Bouldin, Randy England, Ron Lee and Charles Morgan.
According to EMS billing records, 12 people have come in since January to take advantage of the extended hours.
Recently, the county has agreed to enter into a contract with AMB. Per the contract, the county agrees to allow the company to be the sole and exclusive provider of the billing services during the terms of the agreement, and will not utilize any other entity, or its own personnel, to bill for services rendered.
Morgan questioned the need to have two full-time employees and one part-time employee if the county is now outsourcing a large part of the department’s duties and the office has only had 12 people walk in to pay a bill in four months.
Denney said it takes the company five to six months for the changeover to take place and at that time, the workload on employees will go down.
“They said with the workload decreases, we probably won’t need the part-time position,” said Denney. “It would be up to us if we kept it or not. April 15 is the day we have set to go live.”
Committee members voted unanimously to allow the office hours to change to match the rest of the county’s departments. Consideration will be given to reducing the number of employees after AMB is fully operational.