Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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Fulton County EMS didn't collect $780,000 in billing

WAUSEON - Up to $780,000 is at stake for Fulton County in an ongoing investigation of medical billing problems in its emergency services agencies, county Administrator Vond Hall said.

The county has discovered 5,595 outstanding medical bills for emergency medical service runs dating back to 2005, Mr. Hall said.

The county launched its investigation in April after a state audit discovered lapses and mistakes in billing for emergency medical service runs. Robert Hartman, the county's Emergency Medical Agency/Emergency Medical Services Director, was dismissed June 16. The cost to the county will not be determined until a monthlong investigation is completed, Mr. Hall said. The state audit is also at least a month from being finished, said Emily Frazee, a spokesman for the state auditor's office.

Over the past two weeks, 365 bills have been mailed as the county rushes to collect Medicare bills before their one-year deadline, Mr. Hall said. The county intends to attempt to collect its due for every bill, but for many it may be too late, Mr. Hall said.

"We're not going to collect all $780,000," he said.

The total value of the bills issued since 2005 - when the county began handling medical billing internally - is about $2.5 million, Mr. Hall said. Of that total, about $1.55 million or 62 percent was properly collected, he said.

The remainder reflects the difference between the bills' total value and amount that is owed to the county, Mr. Hall said.

"It's not like we weren't doing any [billing]," he said. "We just weren't doing it to the level we needed to."

County officials are also considering establishing separate director positions for Emergency Medical Services and the Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Hall said.

Mr. Hartman told The Blade in June that his former position involved an overwhelming amount of responsibility, preventing proper oversight.

Rodney Cheney, who is Mr. Hartman's interim replacement, said he supports the change.

"I think it's needed," he said. "There was a full work load between the two positions."

The county also is advertising for bids for medical billing services from private companies.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:

aschmitt@theblade.com

or 419-724-6104.

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