Hancock County Fiscal Court recently entered into discussions with A&B Ambulance Medical Billing Services for the company to oversee the county’s ambulance billing services.
As payment for its services, the company receives 12-percent of the amount collected from customers each month. The company remits all of the money collected to fiscal court, sends the court an invoice each month for the amount due and the court has 45-days to pay the bill.
The company originally proposed a 30-day payment window, but fiscal court members balked at this time frame. Magistrates said with the timing of the court’s meetings, it would be hard to meet the 30-day time frame. The company then agreed to the 45-day window.
The county also entered into discussions with Credit Bureau Systems, the parent company of A&B, to handle the ambulance services delinquent accounts.
Traditionally, the county runs an outstanding balance owed to the ambulance service of over $100,000. This month the outstanding balance totaled $141,407. The county does not receive this entire amount due because some people simply do not pay the bill. To help with delinquent accounts the county turned to Credit Bureau Systems.
The process works in this manner.
When a person uses the county’s ambulance service, A&B handles the billing of the claim and securing payment for the service. Usually, personal insurance, Medicare or Medicaid pay the ambulance bill.
Other times either insurance did not pay the entire bill, or the person lacked insurance entirely. In these situations, the person is responsible for either the entire bill, or the amount insurance did not pay. A&B works these accounts, and if people pay the bill in full, or make payments on the bill the company takes 12-percent of the amount collected.
A&B tries to collect the bill for 120-days after sending out a statement to the customer. If the person ignores the bill and does not communicate with A&B, it then turns the bill over to Credit Bureau Systems for collections. This marks a change from the past.
The previous company worked to collect on bills, but if a person refused to pay the bill did not go to a collection agency. Now bills do, and Credit Bureau Systems takes 30-percent of the amount collected.
“I think that is fair because before we were not getting anything,” Hancock County Ambulance Service Director Damian Rice said. “So, anything is better than nothing.”
At this point, Hancock County Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts queried Rice about the outstanding bills.
“In some instances there is zero money collected?” Roberts asked.
Rice told him yes, that in the past if people did not pay the bill, the county simply lost the money.
“We would get 70-percent of what we are not getting now?” Roberts asked.
Rice told him yes.
Magistrate Mark Gray asked Rice what happened if someone was making payments on a bill, and the repayment schedule went past the 120-day window. Rice said as long as people make payments on the amount, the 120-day window is not activated.
“It only goes to collection if there is zero communication and zero dollars being collected,” Rice said.
County Attorney Paul Madden Jr. wanted clarification on when the 120-day window started, and oversight of the company to ensure it did not bill the county for money for which it is not entitled to receive. Rice said though A&B is a subsidiary of Credit Bureau Systems, they operate independently.
“The collections invoice is a separate invoice,” Rice said.
In addition, Rice said a web portal existed that allows him to view outstanding bills.
The agreement runs for one year. Fiscal court wanted a change in the contract to allow the body 45-days to pay the collections invoice. The court decided to table approval of the contract until the July night meeting to allow this change to be made.
In other action
Hancock County Industrial Foundation Director Mike Baker appeared before the court and thanked the body for paving Bittel Road, which is the east entrance to the Lewisport Industrial Park. He said paving the road helps in endeavors to attract tenants to the park.
Baker also said unemployment hovers around 3.6-percent in the county. He said that figure translates to around 130-people out of work and actively looking for employment.
Baker also said the Industrial Foundation continues to work with the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet to market development properties in Hancock County. He said when the Coleman property west of Hawesville comes available in June of 2022 it gives the county one of the premier industrial development sites in the state.
Also, on July 22 at 11:30 a.m. at the Career Center a luncheon will be held to let employers know what services exist through GRADD and the career center to help them grow their business. Baker said representatives from Owensboro Community and Technical College plan to attend to inform area industry of the training programs available through the college at the Lewisport campus.
- Fiscal court approved the June meeting minutes.
- Fiscal court approved the Occupational tax report. It showed year-to-date collections of $4,857,552.05. Roberts said that figure represented a growth of approximately $600,000 from this time last year.
- Approved the May and June Treasurer’s report. The June report showed a balance of $5,843,899.33, roughly up $500,000 from this time last year.
- Approved the Jailer’s report. It showed collections of $776 for the month.
By Ralph Dickerson