EMS billing discussed in Barnesville

BARNESVILLE-“This process makes sense to me as it’s explained,” says Mayor Ron Bischof, agreeing with a proposal that would allow the fire department’s emergency squad to code and bill EMS runs from their office rather than bill from the town fiscal office.

Tim Hall, an EMT, told council that it could streamline their process which is required to switch to electronic billing in 2013. Emergency teams currently have to post several items at the end of each run, including a run log and a report to the state. A new software program will allow them to post these items, code the job and generate an electronic bill for Medicare/Medicaid and other insurances. Hard copy bills can be printed out for those without insurance, but the bill will be in the system. As money is received, the fiscal office will be able to post payments online.

Hall notes that 80 to 90 percent of receipts are direct deposited into the account.

The fiscal office and emergency squad will share a server for the billing, and each will be able to access the EMT account for progress on any given invoice. “The fiscal officer will take in all receipts and can see the entire process,” says Hall. “This will only be for EMS.”

Councilmen John Jefferis, Brad Hudson and Tony Johnson all agreed that coding medical jobs would be easier for workers with medical knowledge, or for those working on site in the ambulance as they are doing their run reports. Members then approved Ordinance 3575 which will put the new procedure into play January 1, 2013.

Clay Bethel, of Bethel Insurance, presented council with the quote for next year’s insurance for the village. The premium total of $31,028 is up about $5,500 from last year mainly, according to Bethel, because of an increase in town property, an increase in losses over the past five years (for example, storm damage) and a general rate increase.

Rates for general liability, fleet insurance and public officials insurance have remained level, while equipment and property insurances have increased. He noted that many homeowners could face increases of 30 to 50 percent, depending on their policies. Council approved the 2013 contract with Bethel, expressing their satisfaction with the quote, Bethel and the insurance company.

Mayor Bischof gave an update on street repairs. Shelley & Sands has finished paving Railroad St., but will return to work on the manhole covers, painting and berm. Alleys and lesser used streets are in the process of being paved with road grindings. He added that he has noticed some hazardous storm sewer grates around town and recommended that the town consider repairing them as soon as possible.

The leaf pick-up program will begin soon, and biodegradable bags are available, while they last, from the water office and police station. The bags have been donated to the town by Olney Friends School and were purchased through a grant from the JB Green Team. Residents should place the bags of leaves at the curb, but there is no set pick-up schedule. The mayor thanked Olney Friends School and JB Green Team for their efforts.

FEMA has awarded the Village of Barnesville $25,528.61 (75 percent) of the clean-up cost claim from the June 29 storm. Ohio EMA has also awarded the town $4,254.76 (12.5 percent.) Barnesville will cover the remaining 12.5 percent.

Members approved Resolution 3574 authorizing the mayor to sign an agreement with Belmont County for the Moving Ohio Forward program and accepting approximately $40,000 for building demolitions.

Marlin Harper, village solicitor, distributed information from Antero Energy regarding a proposed site for a well pad. He noted that the lease stated pads would be 10 acres, but he believes that this pad will be 15 acres or more, meaning additional revenue. The mayor and council members will ask Bill Morgan to follow up on the property and make recommendations.

Council adjourned to executive session to discuss final candidates for the position of town clerk.

The Barnesville Village Council meets every other Monday at 7 p.m.

Valenti can be reached at gvalenti@timesleaderonline.com.