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Palestine worries eased

December 10, 2012
Salem News

EAST PALESTINE - The village fire and EMS department is finally receiving more federal money for ambulance billing.

Fire Chief Brett Todd told village officials in May that Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements were behind by nearly four months, for a loss of "tens of thousands of dollars" for the department.

The reimbursements are a large part of the department's fund and the payments stopped as a result of an error on the renewal application due in January of this year, he said at that time.

The department was receiving money from private insurance companies but without the reimbursements was looking at a significant loss in funding, he added.

Village Manager Pete Monteleone announced recently the village finally received roughly $30,000 from Medicare for the ambulance services.

"This is very positive for next year's budget. Some of this is current money owed and some is back-pay coming in," he said.

Ambulance billing revenue was less than half of what it was last year, according to Todd's October figures, and $30,000 is the largest amount given to the department this year in the reimbursements, which started trickling in over the summer.

Finance Director Traci Thompson previously said the first reimbursement check was for roughly $4,000 or $5,000.

The village also received a $10,000 check for the services in early October, for a roughly $45,000 total payback so far. The department began rebilling for the services that month as a result of the reimbursements slowly coming in. Billing had been halted while the village attempted to get the problem resolved.

Councilman and finance committee chairman Jim Tyger said then that the issue needed to be "put to bed" in order to balance the budget by the end of the year.

The village is expected to end 2012 with a $100,000 carry-over balance-down from $217,000 from last year. The department operates on a roughly $240,000 budget each year and is expected to operate on a $239,560 budget next year.

The department responds to calls within the village and Unity Township, as well as providing mutual aid to neighboring departments. Firefighters and emergency medical workers are only paid when they are out on a call.

In October the department responded to 62 ambulance calls and a total of 566 calls since January, according to a report provided by Todd. A data sheet showing how many calls the fleet responded to last month has not yet been made available.

 
 

 

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