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EMS rates to increase

Staff writer

Rates for six types of service provided by emergency medical services will increase under a plan approved Monday by county commissioners.

According to EMS director Ed Debesis, the increases will permit EMS to capture the full amount of payment allowed by Medicare.

Mileage rates for taking someone to a hospital will go from $10 per mile to $12 per mile. Medicare pays $10.97 per mile.

Advanced life support non-emergency transfer will go from $400 to $600. Medicare pays $311.78.

Advanced life support emergency transfer will go from $450 to $650. Medicare pays $493.66.

Basic life support non-emergency transfer will go from $330 to $450. Medicare pays $259.82.

Basic life support emergency transfer will go from $400 to $550. Medicare pays $415.71.

A charge for administering three or more medications or treatments to a patient will be $750. Medicare pays $714.50.

“We’re not out of line at all?” commissioner Dan Holub asked Debesis when the new charges were being discussed.

Debesis answered that they were not, though he offered to put out requests for other EMS services to share their own charges.

“This is user fees rather than putting it on the tax rolls,” Holub said.

Debesis also brought in three bids for companies to take over EMS billing services, though he did not ask commissioners to accept a bid at this time. The county is four to five months behind on billing, Debesis said.

Each charges a percentage of revenue collected for their work.

EMS Billing charges 10 percent. Lifeteam charges nine percent but also a $500 setup fee and a 10 percent annual bonus for increases over the prior year’s collections. Omni Billing charges 7.75 percent of revenue collected.

Commissioners agreed to ask Omni to come talk to them about what they can offer the county.

Debesis said a meeting with the state board of EMS is scheduled for June 2. One of several cases on the board’s agenda, the Marion County discussion is expected to happen about 3 p.m. Up for discussion is whether Marion County should continue providing advanced life support services or restricted to providing basic life support services.

Mark Grayson, investigator for KBEMS, said no new allegations have been made regarding the county EMS service since three previous complaints about EMTs practicing beyond the scope of their licenses were decided by the state board.

“This case was discussed and prior action ordered, however prior to a signature of the final action the board wanted to discuss the case with the new director,” Grayson said in an email to the newspaper.

Holub said he plans to attend with Debesis.

“It’s just a discussion,” Holub said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke, who attended an earlier meeting with KBEMS, said the board was interested in helping Marion County go in the right direction.

“It was all under good faith, they gave us some recommendations to go by,” Dallke said. “In the meeting that I attended they wanted to get Marion County on the path for continuing services.”

Last modified May 25, 2016

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