Florida county outsources medical bill collections

Bay County's ambulances are funded by patients, avoiding a new tax on all residents.

In Bay County, Florida, many residents were surprised when a ride in an ambulance landed them a bill ranging from $800 to $1,400. After the county took over ambulance service that was previously run by Bay Medical Center, it was decided that users of the service would be billed for the cost instead of the county introducing a new tax. 

Bay Medical Center, which EMSWorld.com reports was once a public hospital, went private last year after signing a long-term lease with Sacred Heart Health. Now, as upset patients are refusing to pay for ambulatory services, their outstanding debt is being outsourced to an outside healthcare claims management company. 

"Our hope is that people have enjoyed, and hopefully will continue to enjoy, very low taxes in Bay County, and that's a huge savings overall over a period of years," Mark Bowen, the County Emergency Services Director, told the News Herald.

"I think this is consistent with the kind of polices that the board has with other things, as well. They try to minimize the burden on the taxpayer, and they try and make sure that the people who are using the service are paying for it."

Bowen admitted that there have been complaints from county residents about the decision, but they have been surprisingly few. From the 9,000 ambulance calls in the county, Bowen explained that he has heard from only eight dissatisfied residents. 

If your facility is struggling with healthcare revenue cycle management, the decision to outsourcing receivable management can drastically increase cash flow. So far, the decision has helped Bay County avoid additional taxes on its residents while continuing to provide ambulatory care.