1. #1
    drex
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation volunteers charging for service???!!!???

    as a former volunteer in riviera beach md,
    it has come up in the local government that all companies that provide ems service (paid/volunteer combined) will start to charge for transport to hospital. the funds generated from this will not go into fire department budget but instead in a general county budget. now as a volunteer we recieved alot of donations by giving free service to our community and now it is being taken away and we will not benefit from the out come of this whole mess. i feel this is wrong and it should remain free to our community.

  2. #2
    Bob Snyder
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    Exclamation

    Most EMS squads in my part of PA have been phasing out donations in favor of billing insurance providers and individuals for five or ten years already. This is especially true as they have moved from all-volunteer to combination squads.

    Don't be surprised if the volunteer fire service isn't more than 10 or 15 years behind them. Donations and fund raisers aren't going to cut it forever. People just don't care enough to support their volunteer organizations anymore, and they are too short-sighted to see that the alternative will cost them more in the long run. Just my personal opinion.

  3. #3
    F02
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    Post

    Now let me get this straight.You are supposed to bill the patient but the county gets the money? Does the county provide you with any funds? If not are the other companies going along with this? I think if you combine forces and take this to the public it might not get to far. As for vol. fire billing. Our dept. has been billing insurance companies for years.Most homeowners policies will pay a service charge to a volunteer dept.

  4. #4
    RVFDCapt
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    Our dept. has been billing insurance companies for structure fires and MVA's where we assist with any patient rescue. We have been rather sucessful in receiving payment. However, it is not enough! We still send out a annual mailer to the entire district for donation. Fortunately, the district is also supplemented by a fire levy on the taxes.
    I agree with F02 that you should take it to the public if you are not getting any of this money back from the county. We need all we can get these days. Expenses/costs aren't going down!!

  5. #5
    Kelly Tool
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy

    I agree with F02, if you aren't getting any of the funds back from the county than it isn't helping you. Not only that but amagine what the public thinks when they have to pay for the service and the money isn't even going to help vollies. Bad PR. The whole idea is that a volunteer outfit shouldn't have to charge. Again this hurts PR when people start to wonder why they have to pay for volunteers. Sorry to say but it in todays world it is what things are coming to. Until the public realizes what they are giving up it leaves us volunteers in a tight spot.

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    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!

  6. #6
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    Volunteering does not equal free. Show me a department that has no bills to pay.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Snyder
    Most EMS squads in my part of PA have been phasing out donations in favor of billing insurance providers and individuals for five or ten years already. This is especially true as they have moved from all-volunteer to combination squads.

    Don't be surprised if the volunteer fire service isn't more than 10 or 15 years behind them. Donations and fund raisers aren't going to cut it forever. People just don't care enough to support their volunteer organizations anymore, and they are too short-sighted to see that the alternative will cost them more in the long run. Just my personal opinion.
    Bobby:
    Why "guest"?
    What happened to your account?
    I hadn't seen you in awhile.
    Welcome back.
    Our ambulance service receives tax money INDIRECTLY from each fire district that has agreed to fund it. Our department provides 29% of our annual budget to the ambulance service. Four fire districts fund the ambu service.
    The ambulance also charges a fee for transport. They have no fundraisers. WE have the fundraisers. AND we also charge for fire/rescue services that are out of district. The reason most departments are charging out of district users is because they pay no taxes for the service.
    Where you need to exercise caution is when it is someone from a neighboring district. It is not good PR to bill them. So you need to use discretion. You also need to consider a professional billing agency. Many use it and rave about it.
    We send the bill, with a reminder and when they don't pay, we turn it over to the attorney.
    In Illinois, by law, we are permitted to charge $125 per hour per apparatus, $35 per hour per man and we also have a DUI stipulation where we can assess through the county state's attorney and get a flat DUI fee of $500.
    Trust me; we don't do it for the money. We do it to stay afloat. It brings in about $5000 - $6000 additional funds a year.
    Not bad.
    Email me if you need additional info.
    CR
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  8. #8
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    Default Just an FYI

    Hey CR, Webfire resurrected this thread from the dead .... last post 1999! Bob's post ... 1999!

    Better get new glasses, GRANDPA! hehehehe
    September 11th - Never Forget

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RspctFrmCalgary
    Hey CR, Webfire resurrected this thread from the dead .... last post 1999! Bob's post ... 1999!

    Better get new glasses, GRANDPA! hehehehe
    OK, smartie pants.
    I stand by my comments.
    I HAVEN'T seen bob snyder in awhile.
    So there!
    And I DO have glasses; several pair of them, because I forget where I put them.
    Just because a guy has a birthday, you have him ready for the retirement home.
    Sheesh.
    CR
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    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  10. #10
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    Ok, you got me there!
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  11. #11
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    Wow. I didn't realize I did that. The thread was on the first page of the forum. Weird.

  12. #12
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    I can honestly say that here in Ohio, we as volunteers bill for EMS on a volunteer company. We bill the insurance company, and we also have someone do follow ups with the people if the insurance does not cover the total amount charged.

    Now, we have to bill everyone due to selective billing clause. But, we do get more monies generated through this system than we do through donations, and yes, we can still collect normal donations and still have a levy in place.

    Initially I had thought that this was double charging, but since we only charge the insurance company, we are not.

    The question here is if you are involved in EMS as a County agency then they have the right to do such, and the monies would go to them and then trickle down to you. But if you are an single entity as we are, then they can not touch your money.


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!

  13. #13
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    Default We bill, receive donations and tax money

    We are a volunteer fire and ambulance company that serves 4 townships and boroughs in PA (plus part of another township). We receive tax payer money from the municipalities. We also receive donations and run annual membership drives, shrimp feeds, crab feeds, weekly bingo, carnival, etc. We also bill for EMS services provided by our two ambulances.

    Because of the decline of volunteers to staff ambulance calls, we had to resort to some paid providers. We have a crew on duty 24x7. It is either two paid, one and one or all volunteer. At about $18 per hour for the paid crews (includes benefits), a 12 hour shift costs $216 per person that is paid. Consider we get about 760 calls per year.

    We do bill for transport and refusals. We are not making a profit by any stretch of the imagination. Between staffing, supplies, equipment, insurance, etc., we only recover about 25% of our EMS costs. The great thing is the billing helps to offset what the municipalities have to help out with - by the way, they are the ones demanding 24x7 coverage in station or within 3 minutes of initial dispatch.

    We have a lot of community support. We are starting to get more volunteers so hopefully we can reduce our requirements for paid staff.

    ADDED LATER: Forgot to add that we run a membership drive every year. It is $35 for the family. For that, we waive the difference between what your insurance pays and what we charge. Because of frequent flyers, we have had to alter it a bit recently though and limit it to 4 transports in one year. We have a few that we worry if we have not transported in the past 7 days.
    Last edited by cybernet; 01-28-2006 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Added comment...
    ---------------------------------
    Alex Wilson
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    Eureka Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Company
    Station 54, Stewartstown, York County, PA

    FF2, EMT-B, HazMat Ops, BVR-T

  14. #14
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    Our Ambulance Corps. was formed in 1972 and over the past 34 years has grown from an all volunteer staff with one ambulance and an old panel van with a set of jaws to now run 4 ALS units, 3 BLS, 4 wheelchair transports, and heavy rescue. We have a paid staff of over 30 and are still run and commanded by volunteers.
    Our basic coverage area includes our city, two surrounding townships, and ALS coverage extending beyond into parts of two adjoining counties.

    Like all other EMS units we initially bill the patient's insurance, and bill the patient for the balance. Back when we started our billing proceedure, we instituted a yearly "membership" to residents in our area. For example: if we do a basic BLS call and charge $680. and insurance pays $550., if a person has paid their annual membership ($35 per individual, #50 for the whole family) than the person is not billed for the $130 balance.
    Believe me, when you have alot of senior citizens who are on fixed incomes and the good possibility of needing medical assistance at anytime, it is a fantastic deal for them. It's the type of program which is vigarously supported by the community.
    Last edited by Driver76; 01-28-2006 at 10:43 AM.

  15. #15
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    Default Volunteer billing

    I don't know if this is helpful or not, but when my neighboring EMS (which is volunteer) wanted to charge because they had seen how Revenue Rescue (www.911rr.com) had bolstered our revenue, they had to come up with an alternate argument to ours, since we run a paid EMS.

    Basically, the EMS ended up not charging for man-hours since that it volunteered to the community, and just for equipment, as rising equipment costs were fast outpacing the donations rate.

    Furthermore, although the volunteers were just that, volunteering, they required a unique skill set. (Not everyone can just be a Paramedic), and the training and maintenance costs for that skill-set often fell upon the EMS. So even though the EMS wasn't having to pay their guys wages, it was still a cost to maintain the certifications, etc., and it was logical that this cost be passed on to insurance companies who were already collecting good money in premiums to

  16. #16
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    Default Volunteer billing

    I don't know if this is helpful or not, but when my neighboring EMS (which is volunteer) wanted to charge because they had seen how Revenue Rescue (www.911rr.com) had bolstered our revenue, they had to come up with an alternate argument to ours, since we run a paid EMS.

    Basically, the EMS ended up not charging for man-hours since that it volunteered to the community, and just for equipment, as rising equipment costs were fast outpacing the donations rate.

    Furthermore, although the volunteers were just that, volunteering, they required a unique skill set. (Not everyone can just be a Paramedic), and the training and maintenance costs for that skill-set often fell upon the EMS. So even though the EMS wasn't having to pay their guys wages, it was still a cost to maintain the certifications, etc., and it was logical that this cost be passed on to insurance companies who were already collecting good money in premiums to cover such charges.

  17. #17
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    Our EMS service charges people for transporting. I believe the charge may be higher if it is an ALS call.

    As far as Fire Departments go, I think that we should start charging insurance companies for false alarms, motor vehicle accidents (for use of oil absorbant and pads) and for maliciously set fires. It could potentially raise alot of money. One of the guys at my station used to be a firefighter in a CA town where they only charged people for MVAs if they lived out of town, which sounds like it would pass the town's boards only because the people in your town would not really oppose, as its not costing them anything.

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