Ambulance Board starts process to dump billing company

Posted: Nov. 27, 2012 7:38 pm Updated: Dec. 11, 2012 8:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Nearly five months after the Adams County Ambulance Board first heard that its billing service was missing out on collections, the board has started steps to sever ties with the company.

In a special meeting Tuesday, members voted to have Medical Business Resources, a Colorado-based health care financial services company with an office in Quincy, develop a plan to bring the department’s billing in-house and let that company handle collections instead of Intermedix, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Ambulance Board received a report from Medical Business Resources in July that showed Intermedix could have collected an additional $238,000 in overdue accounts. The board had asked the company to review the department’s billing practices. Two months later, Intermedix officials said they would address the issues.

However, the board heard this month that an additional $64,000 more in accounts were now overdue by more than 361 days. In April, the department had $221,000 more than 361 days past due.

Medical Business Resources is offering the county an open-ended contract, which would eventually allow the county to bring the entire billing process completely in-house. Paul Davis, director of the Ambulance Service, estimated that it would cost approximately $90,000 to accomplish that, including hiring additional staff to handle billing, software purchasing and maintenance agreements.

“We have the ability to pursue this and be diligent at this,” he said.

Medical Business Resources would receive 9.2 percent of revenue it collects. Intermedix now receives 9.9 percent. Phil Begley of Medical Business Resources projected that the county could receive $2.9 million by switching companies. Intermedix brought in $2.3 million in revenue during the 2011 fiscal year and $2.2 million through the first 11 months of the 2012 fiscal year.

The Ambulance Service first contracted with Intermedix in 2007 to handle data and bill collection, and initially the department saw a 14 percent bump in revenues. However, collection has been an issue in recent months.

The county must give Intermedix a 90-day notice to terminate its contract.

The board also recommended the county give receivable accounts to Medical Business Resources to “clean up.” This would involve the company handling accounts that have not been closed by Intermedix. The company would charge a 20.2 percent fee.

Begley said the company could collect as much as $847,000, with the county receiving $676,000. He said the process would be completed in three to six months.

“Let somebody else clean that old (accounts receivable) up, so the new system and the new processes can start at day one moving forward,” Begley said.

Medical Business Resources can also provide support to the department during the transition. The company would charge $4,340, plus $124 an hour for this service.