EMS writes off $1.3 million in unpaid bills for three years

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Medicare only pays so much. Ditto Medicaid. And if you are out of work and uninsured, you cannot pay anything. If you die without an estate, you are a minor with no assets or a jail inmate with no income, you cannot pay the bill either.
And that is why the Levy County Commission approved writing off three years of unpaid bills for its Emergency Medical Services.
“This is our bad debts," said outgoing EMS Director Trish Seibel at the Aug. 16 commission meeting. Her last day on the job is Friday. The new Public Safety Director, David Knowles, started on Monday.
Of the $1,390,127.96 taken off the books, $650,623.49 or 46.8 percent is uncollectible money from Medicare/Medicaid billings.
The reason is that reimbursement rates for the two programs do not cover EMS costs.
“Medicare and Medicaid only pays a certain dollar amount and if it costs you and you bill they do not pay," said Commission Chairman Danny Stevens in a phone interview on Tuesday.  "Medicare/Medicaid has for years only paid a certain percentage. They do it for everybody. ... You just have to write it off."

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