NORTH LEWISBURG – In an effort to make sure its taxpayers no longer receive unwarranted bills for ambulance services, the Northeast Champaign County Fire District Board approved a resolution on Monday adopting a new billing protocol.
Board member Andy Yoder (North Lewisburg) said the new protocol came about after the board was made aware of several instances in which residents of the fire district were billed for ambulance services.
Under the new protocol, after providing ambulance service to an individual, the fire district’s billing agent will only bill Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance, third-party payers, and individual nonresidents of the NECCFD.
Residents of the district, whether insured or not, will not receive a bill unless their insurance provider pays them directly via a check for the approved services. In this case, Yoder said, the resident will be required to pay the amount of the check to the fire district.
“Our goal is to make sure residents are not charged for a service they already pay taxes for,” he added.
The board also passed a resolution adopting the definition of a “resident” for ambulance billing purposes.
Under the adopted definition, a resident is defined as any of the following:
•A person living within the political boundaries of the NECCFD, which is comprised of the villages of North Lewisburg and Woodstock, as well as Wayne and Rush townships.
•The immediate family member of a person living within the NECCFD. An immediate family member can be a spouse, grandparent, parent, child, stepchild or grandchild.
•The owner of real property subject to taxation within the fire district and that individual’s immediate family members.
•Any employee of the NECCFD.
In other business:
•Board member Max Perry (Wayne Township) was assigned to the role of chairperson, replacing fellow board member Cheryl Hollingsworth (North Lewisburg).
•The board agreed to retain Medicount as its exclusive ambulance billing agent. Under the new four-year contract, Medicount will receive 7.5 percent of the fire district’s gross collections from ambulance runs, the same rate as the previous contract.
•Fire Chief Mike Penhorwood presented the board with a breakdown of all runs the NECCFD made in 2016. Of the 526 total runs, a slight increase from the previous year, more than half (269) took place in North Lewisburg. The remaining breakdown of runs per specific area within the district were as follows: 113 in Wayne Township, 92 in Rush Township, and 25 in the village of Woodstock.
•Discussions began as to whether the district should look into purchasing a new squad this year or wait until 2018. The board agreed more information needed to be gathered and hashed out before making a decision.
•Penhorwood, Hollingsworth, Operations Manager Sarah Page, board member Jackie Hayes (Woodstock) and board member Randy Williams (Rush Township) were all named to the district’s Volunteer Firefighters’ Dependents Fund Board.