07 October 2014
By next July a revenue recovery program should be in place, Emergency Services Coordinator Cheryl Wilkins told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 1).
Revenue recovery is a way for counties to recoup some of the costs involved in providing ambulance transport to its residents by billing “insurance companies and individuals for the cost of emergency transport services,” Wilkins said.
Last May the county requested that the staff study the issue and develop a plan for implementing revenue recovery in Fluvanna. To this end, Wilkins put together a focus group that included members of Lake Monticello Rescue and Fluvanna Rescue.
By making comparisons with other counties using revenue recovery, the group has estimated that Fluvanna could bring in over half a million dollars per year through such a program. This is based on an average charge of $462 per ambulance transport and a 65 percent collection rate.
Wilkins emphasized three “key points” in her presentation: No one will ever be denied services, even those who can’t pay; those who don’t receive ambulance transport would not receive a bill; and most insurance companies already allow for transport charges.
“By not… billing and collecting that amount, we’re basically leaving a lot of money on the table,” Wilkins told the Board.
Wilkins’ group outlined several possible approaches to billing. The county could bill insurance companies only, and decline to send a bill to those without insurance. Or the county could bill insurance companies but send a balance bill to everyone. This method could involve a “soft” approach to collections and the use of “hardship waivers,” or it could involve a “hard” approach to collections. Another option is to use something called a subscription service, though Wilkins said a nearby county found that approach to be “an abysmal failure.”
Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch asked Wilkins if other counties experienced a drop in fundraising after initiating revenue recovery programs. Wilkins replied that the counties she has talked to have not experienced that problem.
Different counties use the funds generated by revenue recovery in different ways, Wilkins said, though most of the set-ups involved earmarking the money in some way for emergency medical services.
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