Orangeburg County is hiring a new company to handle its EMS billing services.
During Monday’s county council meeting, council unanimously approved a motion to enter into a contract with Carolina Ambulance Billing EMS.
Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said the county has always contracted the handling of EMS billing, which is complex and involves several different rules and regulations.
“Medical billing is highly technical and highly litigious,” Young stated.
“When you use an ambulance, you have so many hours after that ride to bill the people and to bill Medicare, Medicaid and insurance. A part of that billing, when you’re dealing with medical information, you have to worry about HIPPA rules and regulations. So, part of that billing is to say what they did to you in the ambulance,” Young said.
“You have to be certified by the federal government to be able to do billing and all of that. And those certifications cost: the equipment, the HIPPA rules, laws, regulations,” Young said.
He also mentioned the use of specific equipment attached to ambulances that require clearance through Medicare and Medicaid to access files necessary for the billing process.
“If those bills are not billed within a certain timeframe, then Medicare and Medicaid will not pay them,” Young said.
The county put the billing services out to bid.
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Carolina Ambulance Billing EMS will receive a percentage of the amount billed each year. The contract is for two years, with the option of a two-year extension.
“The lowest percentage that was requested was from CAB EMS revenue and their base bid was 4.35%, which is about 19% less than Low Country Billing, who we currently use,” Young said.
Young said the county wanted Low Country Billing to replace its equipment, but the company refused.
Also during the meeting:
• Council approved a lease-purchase agreement for eight new tri-axle dump trucks.
The county will be auctioning the eight trucks currently being leased, then use the funds received from the auction to make a down payment for the purchase of eight new Kenworth trucks through vendor Worldwide Equipment.
The total cost of the new trucks is $1.4 million.
• Council approved a resolution supporting the request for modification to the Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie South Carolina Project. The resolution allows the extension of water lines in the Holly Hill, Santee and Elloree areas, as well as other areas in Calhoun, Dorchester and Berkeley counties. Orangeburg County’s matching portion of the project funds exceeds $1 million, according to Young.
• Council appointed Dr. Celillus Spell to the Orangeburg County Library Board of Trustees. She will represent District 6.