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Sheboygan Ambulance Service in the Spotlight Again


SHEBOYGAN, WI (WHBL) - Sheboygan aldermen are satisfied with the work of the company that does the billing for the city ambulance service, and Wednesday night recommended that its contract be extended for two years.  Aldermen met as a Committee of the Whole and received a detailed report from EMS Billing, but once again the discussion turned to whether or not the city should be in the ambulance business.  Committee of the Whole Chair Jim Bohren expressed concerns about collections not meeting projections over the past 5 years.  He said sooner or later you have to make a business decision if this is a business you want to be in.  That led to Alderman Don Hammond raising a "point of order" saying that discussion should center on the billing contract, not whether or not the city should be in the amublance business. Bohren said that when the city went into the business nearly 5 years ago, it was on the premise that it would collect 48 percent of its fees.  He said that projection hasn’t been met in the last five years.  Eric Kiefer of EMS Billing said in the two years that they have been doing the collections the rate has been about 47 and 43 percent, respectively. Fire Chief Jeff Hermann said the service brought in 620,000 dollars in revenue in 2012 and is on pace to bring in 775,000 dollars this year. He said ambulance rates have not increased since the city took over. According to the EMS, about 70 percent of all runs are covered by Medicare or Medicaid and the payment rate is nearly 100 percent.  About 13 percent, or 382 runs last year, were not covered by Medicare or some other insurance and their payment rate was only about 15 percent.