Petition filed to stop ambulance billing ordinance - KCTV5 News

UPDATE

Petition filed to stop ambulance billing ordinance

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The city's effort to bring an outsourced ambulance billing service to Kansas City is now temporarily on hold after the City Council voted in favor of the company on June 19.

Nearly 350 people signed a petition against the passed ordinance which exceeds the 100 signatures needed to block an ordinance's effective date under the city's charter.

Cities across the country say they've had bad experiences with Intermedix, but earlier this month local city officials said no company has a perfect record. The City Council decided in a 7-4 vote to hire the ambulance billing service to bill patients for ambulance use.

The group, led by community leaders like Bishop Tony Caldwell with Community United KC, now has a few weeks to get 7,143 more signatures to either repeal the ordinance or force the city to take the ordinance to the public for a vote.

KCTV5 obtained a stack of letters sent from cities including Dallas, Memphis, TN and Racine, WI, saying Intermedix overbilled, underbilled and, in some cases, didn't bill at all, ambulance riders in those cities.

City Councilman John Sharp shared emails he received from cities like Dallas where Intermedix failed to recover the promised $21 million worth of services.

Memphis said some people called the city after receiving a bill "but swear they have never been to our city," according to another email. Racine provided a laundry list of displeasure, including bad billing and poor customer service.

Kansas City City Manager Troy Schulte says the good outweigh the bad for the company, including a cost savings of $770,000 a year.

In the five-year contact with the company, city ambulance riders cost an average of $35 million a year. Intermedix promises to collect at least $16 million in the first year, but the number goes down after the first year. The city will also pay the company 4.5 percent commission, about $723,000, for its services.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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