The Ripon Common Council approved a proposal last week Monday from LifeQuest Services to provide EMS billing and collection services to Ripon Guardian Ambulance Service.
The proposal aims to ensure audit compliance and enhance billing and collection practices.
That’s because billing and collection practices have been stressed by increased call volumes and limited staff, while financial and Medicare audits have “called into question the billing and collection practices,” according to the city.
Last month, the Common Council preliminarily approved the proposal from LifeQuest and wanted to give City Attorney Lud Wurtz the opportunity to speak with officials from LifeQuest.
“We found that there were a lot of discrepancies in the way we were billing now,” EMS Chief Mitch Matuszeski told the Common Council last month. “I knew some of those discrepancies existed, but as we got deeper into that, we found out that, by nobody’s fault, … we had been doing some things incorrectly for some time.”
Matuszeski estimated that about 70% of the bills for ambulance calls have some sort of write off.
Likewise, City Administrator Adam Sonntag said last month that his previous community, Hillsboro, saw a roughly 20% increase in EMS revenues by switching to the Wautoma-based LifeQuest.
“There’s a likelihood that we do see an increase in revenues and more predictability in the collection process, which financially is incredibly important as we address some of the additional needs within that department,” Sonntag told the Common Council.
The Common Council last week Tuesday voted 6-1 to approve a two-year contract with LifeQuest. Ald. John Splitt casting the lone “no” vote.
Splitt said there are instances where the city will be unable to forgo a write-off because EMS personnel are taking individuals home after the hospital.
“This new service isn’t going to collect 100%,” Splitt said.
Matuszeski replied that a portion of calls are uncollectible, but are done as a service to local residents.
“Those are just done as a community service, essentially,” he said. “But to say ‘no’ to some of those transfers would leave some of our community members in a bad spot.”
The city’s contract with LifeQuest begins in 2022.
When the current contract expires, Matuszeski said he has received confirmation from LifeQuest that Ripon’s rates will not be drastically increased.
Is there an issue you want us to update?
If you’re wondering about something that was in the news but doesn’t have a resolution, send your idea to:
Mail: 303 Watson St., PO Box 262, Ripon, WI 54971