Four companies responded to Riverhead Town’s request for proposals to provide “medical transportation billing and reimbursement services” for the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance back in December. Only one, however, said it can provide “electronic patient care reporting,” something town officials said they prefer to paper reporting.
The electronic PCR would allow ambulance respondents to input information digitally and immediately send it to insurance companies. State officials may require electronic reporting in the future, officials said.
The RFP was issued in mid-November and the responses were opened in mid-December.
The four companies that responded to the town’s RFP were Amerik Medical Billing of Lake Forest, Calif.; Certified Ambulance Group of Rocky Hill, Conn.; Evolution Billing Concepts of Yonkers, and Ambubill Inc. of Monroe, N.Y.
They each proposed to be compensated based on a percentage of ambulance bills, ranging from 3.5 percent to 10 percent, and depending in some cases on the number of calls.
Amerik Medical Billing, whose proposed rates ranged form 5.7 percent to 6 percent, was the only one of the four companies to offer electronic PCR, for which it added another half percent.
The town plans to have third-party billing for Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance services, but only for people involved in motor vehicle accidents, where a person’s auto insurance is likely to cover expenses.
Supervisor Sean Walter said the town could require third-party billing for all ambulance calls in the future, but for now, it’s limited to auto accidents.
“We want to crawl because we can run,” Mr. Walter said at Thursday’s work session.
Councilman John Dunleavy has been pushing for third-party billing for ambulance calls for years.
“We have to start this,” he said. “It’s going to take six months to get this thing organized.”
Al Gehres, the district manager for the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance, told the Town Board Thursday that the hardware for the electronic PCR system would cost about $50,000. The town also will need to buy software and support services from whatever company it chooses, he said.
The ambulance district is funded through special taxing district that extends townwide, although many of its responders are volunteers.
It could receive additional funding through the third-party billing.
“We’ve been putting money in fund balance for you for a long time,” Mr. Walter said in regard to the cost of the hardware.
He said the ambulance district has a lot of money in fund balance, as the town was saving up in case it eventually decides to move the ambulance corp into the former Armory building on Route 58.
Board members opted to put a committee together some time next week made up of town officials and ambulance representatives to review the proposals and make a recommendation to the Town Board.
Mr. Gehres said the ambulance corps had recommended a Syracuse company to do the medical billing for the town.
However, that company did not respond to the town’s RFP.