Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 9, 2013

EMS deficit is projected at $585,000 for coming fiscal year

System could lose some Medicaid funds


Somerset —

Not long after councilors terminated the agreement, the county began the process of securing those funds after obtaining financial documents from the city. 
Billy Duncan, acting EMS chief, presented his budget requests for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year on Monday. Included in those numbers was an expected shortfall of $585,000 — a result of changes in Medicaid and Medicare, according to Duncan and Girdler, which led to this year’s shortfall as well. 
City Budget Manager Jimmy Hogg said he and Duncan came up with the shortfall after averaging out the collection rates for Medicaid and Medicare from the last several years.
“That’s about as good a projection as we could come up with,” Hogg said. “We’re hoping those numbers are pretty close.”
“That number will be given to the county,” Girdler said. “Really nothing’s changed except we want to provide services now and determine who pays later.”
The city has proposed a new agreement that would entail the county paying $1.6 million yearly to the city to ensure any shortfalls are covered — and anything beyond that the city intends to cover itself. But so far, no agreement has been reached on any new contracts. So instead, the city has opted to re-establish the terms of the 1995 agreement until new contract terms are worked out.  
“ ... The county would still come out $200,000 better by accepting that (new) proposal,” said Girdler. 
EMS has a collection rate of around 87 percent — considered a relatively good rate — but that hasn’t stopped the shortfall from developing. 
Duncan said EMS will soon lose upwards of 10 percent of the money Medicaid does provide because dialysis services, something that currently requires transport from home, may be provided “in-house” for patients. 
“Nobody’s got money,” said Duncan. “Everybody’s broke.” 
Duncan said he spent six months acting as a “squeaky wheel” in securing around $26,000 out of $76,000 currently owed to EMS by the state’s veterans’ affairs cabinet. 

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