By Perry Schaible
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Residents here who receive a statement for costs stemming from ambulance transportation shouldn't mail a check.
Township officials say there is confusion over a new third-party billing system that allows the community to be reimbursed by insurance companies for supplies used during ambulance services.
Capt. Dick Santel, head of Emergency Medical Services, has received several complaints from confused residents.
"They were receiving statements that could have been construed as a bill or misleading," Santel said.
There have been at least two incidents in which people have paid the statement amount, which should have been paid by their insurance company. The money was returned by the township.
"We are inadvertently sucking money from families who can't afford it," said Catherine Stoker, trustee president.
In December, officials began working with Health Serve for third-party billing for ambulance services.
The intent, Stoker said, is to recover the $80,000 to $100,000 a year cost of supplies used by medics during runs.
Those funds were formerly paid by the hospitals until federal authorities began to question whether it could be viewed as an enticement to use a particular facility.
Officials said the statements received by residents should be forwarded to their insurance companies, and that residents should have no out-of-pocket costs.
Santel said he met with Health Serve representatives three weeks ago to ensure future statements would clearly read zero in the amount due column.
"The bottom line is it's new and as issues come up, we're working through them," said Fire Chief James Detherage.
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