Million Dollar Debt in Unpaid Midland Ambulance Service Fees 2/6/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
February 6, 2013
Midland, TX - Calls for emergency services in Midland are increasing, hitting higher totals that ever before. But a trip to the hospital comes with a price tag, which some Midlanders are not paying.
"No matter what, we respond 24/7, 365 [days a year]," said Midland Fire Chief Robert Isbell.
Fire Chief Isbell says serving the community is the number one priority for the department.
"Weíre not a service that gets turned off due to issues with funding and pay, " said Isbell.
The total number of people they're transporting in ambulances is increasing and so is the number of people not paying their bills.
"With more activity, comes more transports for patient transports. We do we charge everyone that we transport to the hospital. So increased activity, increased transports, we're going to be billing out more," said Midland Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Chip Balzer.
In 2010 the total amount billed was $2,819,640.00. The total amount received was $1,758,984.19. That is approximately a $1,060,000 difference in the amount billed and amount paid for transportation runs.
Then the following year, the total amount billed was $3,015,210.00 and the total amount received was $2,771,911.03. In 2011 that deficit dropped to about $200,000.
Last year the total amount billed was $3,022,068.00 and the total amount received was $2,806,845.11. Although the amount of billing increased, there was still about a $200,000 gap in what was owed and what was paid.
The fire station operates on a multimillion-dollar budget. When people donít pay their debt, it effects how much money is going into the city's General Fund.
"Any money received though the provisions of EMS is not intended to cover the entire cost of the fire department services that we provide. It's intended to off set a little bit of the tax payers burden to offer the service up," said Balzer.
The Midland Fire Department says the city will try to work with people on paying their ambulance service bills.
If you don't pay your bill, itís turned over to a collection service and your credit report could be negatively impacted.