By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Adams County Ambulance Service plans to start in-house billing operations April 1 with the intention to eventually handle collections without a third party.
The county’s Ambulance Board agreed Thursday to notify billing and data collection company Intermedix, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that the county is terminating its contract as of April 1.
Intermedix has been handling billing and data collection for the department since 2007. It receives 9.9 percent of what it collects for the county.
Starting April 1, the department plans to send out bills and have Medical Business Resources, a Colorado-based health care financial services company with an office in Quincy, handle the collections for 90 days.
Medical Business Resources will receive 9.2 percent of revenue it collects.
“After that first initial 90 days, we will engage the second phase of the plan, which MBR will take a step back and start following up on billed claims and accounts at day 90,” Paul Davis, director of the ambulance service, said. “MBR will review those accounts, follow up on them and make sure that payment is timely aimed at reducing our days in the accounts receivable pile.”
MBR would receive 14.4 percent of what it collects from the older accounts.
Davis said the department should see a boost in revenue within 30 to 60 days after the new system starts as the company “cleans up” old accounts.
MBR also will provide support to the department for $4,340 a month during the transition.
“They’ll help us get up and running, help us work toward our own independent billing process over the period of several months, provide us feedback and help us with our regulatory compliance mandates,” Davis said.
Bringing billing operations back to the county is expected to cost $90,000, which includes hiring additional staff to handle billing, software purchasing and maintenance agreements.
Davis expects the relationship between with the department and Medical Business Resources to continue after billing and collection is brought in house. This would include audit services to make sure the department is compliant with regulations, as well as monitor accounting principals.
The Ambulance Board first received a report from Medical Business Resources in July that showed Intermedix could have collected an additional $238,000 in overdue accounts. The board asked the company to review the department’s billing practices.
The board heard in November that an additional $64,000 in accounts were overdue by more than 361 days. In April, the department had $221,000 more than 361 days past due.
Because the board expects to bring in additional revenue from changing its new system, it agreed to reduce its tax levy request by $200,000.
When the Adams County Board approved in November its budget for the 2013 fiscal year, an additional $200,000 for the ambulance service was included by an 11-9 vote. The budget for the Ambulance Service called for $3.13 million in spending and revenues of $3.267 million, and the revenue portion included a levy increase to $700,000 to $500,000.
Davis expects that the department will receive at least an additional $200,000 from the new collection system.