Mt. Laurel EMS asks township council to approve increase in base billing rate for EMS calls

This would affect non-residents traveling in town, as the EMS has a forgiveness policy for residents when insurance doesn’t cover calls.

Mt. Laurel EMS Chief Joseph Stringfellow has asked Mt. Laurel Township Council to increase the base billing rate at which the EMS bills for EMS calls.

Stringfellow spoke at this week’s council meeting and said the current base rate of $600 has been in effect for many years and has fallen behind many of Mt. Laurel’s neighboring townships that bill anywhere from $750 to $850 for calls.

Stringfellow said any increase in the base billing rate would not have an economic effect on residents, as Mt. Laurel EMS has a policy of forgiveness for local residents if there are incidents where there is no insurance or insurance does not cover a call.

“There’s no balance billing back to residents,” Stringfellow said.

According to Stringfellow, the increase in the base billing rate would only come into play for private insurances in cases where Mt. Laurel EMS is required for medical transportation for those traveling through Mt. Laurel or visiting the town from another area.

Stringfellow said any increase to the base billing rate would also have no effect on Medicare or Medicaid billing rates, as those are flat billing rates set by the programs at $384 and $76, respectively.

“Again, if it’s a resident, none of the balance cost goes back to the resident,” Stringfellow said.

Stringfellow said the billing company Mt. Laurel EMS works with has suggested a change in base billing rates from $600 to $750 due to the growth of private business in Mt. Laurel in recent years and continually increasing number of calls Mt. Laurel EMS handles in a year.

According to Stringfellow, Mt. Laurel EMS is projecting somewhere between 6,500 to 7,500 calls per year by the end of 2018.

Stringfellow expects a fully developed Bancroft campus in the township to create an about an additional two calls per day, and he expects the township’s new Walmart to generate somewhere between 50 to 100 calls per year.

“We can see that the call volume is going to continue to increase as we’re growing,” Stringfellow said. “What we want to do is put ourselves in a position where we’re going to be financially able to address those with any staffing needs to cover this expanded call volume.”

Stringfellow said the increase in base billing would allow Mt. Laurel EMS to continue offering an increased level of services as it has done within the last year and plans to do in the years ahead.

In the last year alone, Stringfellow said Mt. Laurel EMS trained an additional 1,000 members of the public in CRP, and the EMS is looking to double that number this year.

Stringfellow said Mt. Laurel EMS also hopes to embark on a “Stop the Bleed” campaign where the EMS would work with local businesses to secure tourniquets so those at the businesses could work to mitigate bleeding issues during emergencies before EMS professionals can arrive.

“If it’s a serious arterial bleed, a person will probably be deceased within three to four minutes,” Stringfellow said. “It’s important for training for the general public so they can understand what they need to do there.”

Acting township manager Meredith Tomczyk said a change to the ordinance dealing with EMS billing could be put on the agenda for council to approve as its next meeting, and Mayor Dennis Riley thanked EMS members for their hard work and level of service.