Scotland County EMS sees bump in revenue

LAURINBURG —When Scotland County EMS pulled up in front of EMS Management and Consultants in Winston-Salem, in an ambulance, no one was alarmed.

Sirens weren’t sounding, lights weren’t flashing and no one was injured. The EMS agency visited EMS|MC last week, National EMS Week, to showcase the new vehicle purchased in October 2015, purchased as the result of a successful partnership with EMS|MC.

EMS|MC does third-party billing for Scotland County.

Since 2013, EMS|MC has helped Scotland County EMS increase revenue. EMS|MC reviews all ambulance transports for the agency, and each one is coded and billed to the primary payor, usually Medicare, Medicaid or an insurance carrier.

In the case where a patient does not have insurance, the patient receives the full bill. Robert Sampson, assistant director of EMS for Scotland County, recalls what it was like before the partnership with EMS|MC began.

“We went from having limited access to guidance on billing to having our billing company help us understand more about what we needed to document to have a clear picture of what happened on a call,” he said. “They provide knowledge and expertise that truly helps us, including our medics who have greatly improved their documentation skills.”

Debbie Sandlin, administrative assistant, expressed how hard it was to keep up with the industry changes.

“Now, we feel comfortable that the EMS|MC billing team is going to be more aware of the frequent coding updates when processing claims. We put our trust in the billers.”

That accuracy and knowledge of industry rules and regulations steadily led to an increase in revenue recovered for Scotland County EMS. With an improved cash flow, Sampson enjoys updating the life-saving equipment for his crews.

“With the support of the county, we’ve been able to improve our technology, which has enhanced patient care,” he said. “Our Lifepack 15 defibrillators have wi-fi capabilities. We were able to purchase mobile hotspots for our ambulances that allow the defibrillators to transmit our 12 leads straight to local hospital as well as to our PCI center. That’s improved efficiency.”

Scotland County EMS runs between 5,600 to 5,800 calls annually. Year after year of life-saving transports began to take a toll on the condition of the ambulances. In October 2015, EMS purchased a new ambulance replacing one that had been on the road for almost 20 years. But more important than requiring less maintenance or downtime, the new vehicle provides reliable service to the citizens of Scotland County.

“It has improved our ability to provide better and more efficient patient care,” said Sampson. Scotland County EMS has purchased an additional vehicle that is slated to arrive next month, replacing the oldest vehicle in the fleet.

As for where he sees Scotland County EMS in the future, Sampson hopes to continue improving the equipment that will give medics the best tools to effectively do their jobs. He is quick to add, however, that new ambulances and equipment and EMS revenue are not possible without the support of the county commissioners and the EMS crews.

“EMS does a phenomenal job day in and day out. They put in a lot of time and hours. This truly starts with them.”

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