A discussion concerning a lapse in processing the city’s EMS billing dominated the Wauseon City Council meeting held Monday.
EMS Executive Committee member Jon Schamp reported tension during the panel’s annual meeting March 15 regarding a payment due once a year to Wauseon through its EMS contract with Fulton County. The payment, which typically totals about $60,000 and represents accrued payments of $100 for every billable city run costing a patient more than $200, was short by $21,000 for 2016.
In an article in Tuesday’s Expositor, Wauseon Fire Chief Rick Sluder called out county administrators for allowing the billing problem to fester after knowing about it since October.
Schamp told council members the administrators contacted Aim Online EMS Software and Services, the county’s EMS billing provider since last September, about a backlog of unprocessed billable runs from Fulton County in their system. He said the company acknowledged the situation and promised to expedite processing. But Schamp said that doesn’t fully resolve the issue.
“I think this is one of those situations where it’s hard to tell how much is missing based on the way it’s reported by the different entities and then collected by a separate entity,” he said.
Because the company hasn’t processed the runs on a timely basis “some of the money can never be recouped,” Schamp said.
He said the county chose Aim as its EMS billing processor against the advice of others, “and now it’s back-fired.” He also said Commissioner Bill Rufenacht, who represents the county commissioners for the executive committee, took responsibility for not following through on the situation and admitted the county made a mistake hiring Aim.
However, Sluder told the council that billing the EMS runs falls under the supervision of County EMS Director Chad Smith. Smith has not commented.
Once more of the money from last year is collected, the county will cut another check to the city, Scamp told the council.
The commissioners have already approved a request by the county fire chiefs to replace Aim once its contract expires with the county in September. The billing problem was brought to their attention by the Wauseon Fire Department, which closely monitors the Aim account.
In other business, council members unanimously approved a Personnel Committee recommendation that the city provide Wauseon’s mayor with health insurance as a benefit of the office.
“With the amount of work that the city’s mayor does, and is required to do, and with the pay that is received, we thought that maybe it would be a good idea to also offer insurance to the mayor, with the city paying the premium,” committee member Heather Kost said.
She said the insurance would equal a benefit paid to a city employee, and that the mayor could accept or refuse the offer.
Tree Commission member Rick Frey reported the commission will fertilize young trees in Dorothy B. Biddle and Homecoming parks. He also said two poplar trees have been donated for planting on Arbor Day at Wauseon’s primary and elementary schools.
Park Board member Scott Stiriz said Bruce Ernst Asphalt of Wauseon will continue its cold process in Biddle Park this year. The company plans to apply asphalt at the park’s south drive and continue toward the soccer field and in parking areas. Fifty thousand dollars has been budgeted.
Stiriz said the company also suggested purchasing a portable office trailer for the site.
In department reports:
• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said he attended a meeting in Colerain Township in the Cincinnati area concerning paramedicine – partnering with law enforcement regarding heroin overdose patients which would include follow-up procedures.
He said the department has an agreement with the Archbold Fire Department to coordinate services this weekend while high school sports teams from both communities attend state competitions. Sluder said the agreement is to provide adequate coverage because some of the departments’ volunteers may not be available.
• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said the city experienced only one significant incident during a recent wind storm – a large tree limb that toppled onto Fulton Street.
“Our ongoing work with our tree efforts…are paying off,” he said.
Richardson reported he will announce dates to receive bids for renovation of the city’s pool house after a final review of the city’s contract with Astro Pools of Mansfield, Ohio. He said the bidding process will be advertised for several weeks in local newspapers.
• Law Director Tom McWatters III told the council his office is continuing the process of re-certification of the city’s building departments. A contract approved by council members is awaiting approval by the county commissioners.
In new business, the council appointed Russ Pauley to the Park Board, replacing Randy Vonier.
Mayor Huner ended the meeting with recognition of the high school’s sports teams and extracurricular groups that qualified for state and national competitions. They included boys basketball, girls bowling, boys wrestling, the swim team, art students, the choir, the band, and the speech team.
“I just wanted to recognize all of these students for the excellence they do, and just let everybody know the pride that we really do show for these students, because they really give a lot,” Huner said. “It’s amazing how talented these kids are.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.