Outsourcing authorized for ambulance billing

Users of ambulance services provided by the city’s fire department will have more convenient options to pay for those services and the fire department will see increased revenue when a private company takes over the billing tasks for those services.
Fire department personnel have been investigating the option of outsourcing the ambulance billing for almost a year and narrowed the original field of nine companies which had responded to a requests for proposals to two choices – New England Medical Billing of South Easton and Comstar of Rowley – which met all the criteria which had been established.
The final two companies were interviewed by the department’s committee which was augmented by Fire Commission Chairman Albert Masciadrelli, Tammy Tefft, the director of purchasing and Mary Daley, the assistant city auditor.
At the Fire Commission’s most recent meeting, Fire Chief Mary Regan sought and obtained approval from the commission to award the contract to Comstar.
She said that Comstar will be paid three per cent of the total amount collected for ambulance services and said “the rate is very good comparative to area departments that are doing outsource billing.”
She explained that the company will take over both billing and collections and will deposit the receipts directly to a city bank account.
“They don’t take any money at all” she said. “They bill the city and then we have that 45 day period to pay them.”
The department will benefit, Regan said, by increased collection of monies due. She said that she provided Comstar with information about the past ambulance utilization and said the company officials she consulted said “they felt as though a conservative increase in revenue of $100,000 would be in order.”
She also said that consumers will benefit because “they offer credit card payments, they offer payment plans for people, there’s a lot of things that we can’t do right now that they’re going to be able to do.”
Masciadrelli said “it’s really a ‘user friendly’ type of operation and said he was comfortable with Comstar because “a lot of their accounts are in the western part (of the state.) They’re familiar with all this area.”
Regan said that ambulance bills will still be subject for abatement for any resident who applies for relief due to hardship.
Decisions about granting abatements are based on the narrative provided, Regan said, and will continue to be made in the department.
Regan said that the contract has been sent to Comstar for their approval and said that she hopes the contract can be finalized in time so they can will take over ambulance billing on July 1, the start of the city’s new fiscal year.
She said that the new company will “start fresh” and that payments and collections for services already provided will continue to be managed by fire department personnel.

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