Monday, December 29, 2003

Deerfield may bill for ambulance



By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - The fire department may start billing residents' insurance carriers for ambulance runs in Deerfield Township.

The township already bills non-residents for the transport service. By extending that billing policy to residents, township officials estimate they could generate $200,000 to $400,000 a year to offset emergency service costs.

Trustees will discuss the idea Tuesday at their work session, which starts at 1 p.m. at the trustee meeting room, 3292 Montgomery Rd.

"This wouldn't even begin to cover all our costs," Township Administrator Greg Horwedel said. "But it is a way to help defray some of the costs."

Deerfield Township would be following in the footsteps of a number of municipalities, including the city of Mason, which collect from residents' insurance carriers. People already pay for the ambulance service when they pay for their insurance coverage, Deputy Fire Chief Nathan Bromen said.

"We're really one of the last ones to really jump on board with this," he said.

The charge would depend on the type of ambulance run, but would be between $260 and $450. Trustees will have to decide what to do about residents who do not have insurance.

Currently, non-residents who do not have insurance get billed. But the township has a policy of "soft billing," meaning it does not send a collection agency after those who do not pay. The city of Cincinnati follows a similar policy.

Deerfield Township has a 64 percent collection rate.

"We have to make a reasonable attempt to collect, but we don't send anyone out (to collection agencies)," Bromen said.

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E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




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