EMS billing, collection changes could prove beneficial

Published 6:04 pm Saturday, April 23, 2016

A proposed amendment to the city’s EMS billing and collections contract could result in savings for the city, if the Washington City Council authorizes the city manager to sign the amendment.

That authorization could come Monday during the council’s meeting.

The existing contract with EMS Management & Consultants was entered into in 2010. At that time, the contract specified that EMS Management & Consultants would receive 7.5 percent of collections in made on behalf of the city. Later, that rate dropped to 7.25 percent upon achievement of specified performance conditions.

The amendment would extend the contract by three years and lower the collection fee to 6.95 percent. Implementation of the amendment would save the city about $2,100 a year, according to a memorandum from Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s administrative services director and chief financial officer, to the mayor and council.

The agreement may be terminated for several reasons, including if Beaufort County takes over EMS coverage in the city.

The city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017, which begins July 1, includes $45,000 for EMS billing services and $5,000 for EMS bad-debt collections.

For the current fiscal year, the projected revenue from EMS Management & Consultants’ collection efforts is $700,000, according to Rauschenbach.

In other business, the council is scheduled to consider authorizing the mayor to sign a new lease agreement (regarding the Washington Civic Center) with the Washington Tourism Development Authority. The current lease expires June 30.

The proposed lease calls for a three-year term with automatic one-year renewals, fixes the city’s annual subsidy for the facility at $35,000 and includes a 50/50 profit-sharing provision between the two entities based on the change in net assets as reported in the independent auditor’s annual reports. As for rent, the WTDA will not pay a monthly about, but it is responsible for paying for all management and operations costs. The WTDA may submit funding requests to address specific maintenance costs, with the city, recognizing budget restraints, making its best efforts to fund such requests.

Under the new lease, the city is responsible for major structural maintenance of the Civic Center, including decks, floors, roofs and plumbing and electrical systems.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at www.washingtonnc.gov, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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