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EMS Cost Recovery Exceeding Expectations After First Five Months

Participating ambulances report smooth transition for emergency transports

Five months after Albemarle County implemented a cost recovery program to charge fees for emergency medical service (EMS) vehicle transports provided by the Department of Fire and Rescue and the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad, officials are reporting a smooth and efficient transition to the new program. 

EMS Cost Recovery is a program to obtain reimbursement for the costs associated with transporting a patient to the hospital by ambulance.  Medicaid, Medicare and most other private insurance policies (health, auto and/or homeowners) already allow for reimbursement for this service. The Board of Supervisors decided to implement this program as part of a comprehensive assessment of potential areas to relieve pressure on property taxes through cost recovery.

There have been no significant issues with patients or negative impacts to volunteers at Scottsville since the program began on February 1, 2010.  Scottsville rescue officials report that the EMS Cost Recovery process is operating smoothly from their perspective and requires a small amount of additional time to administer. Volunteer EMS providers report that they spend about five additional minutes at the hospital per transport to gather insurance information and a minimal amount of time on a weekly basis to verify information on the patient care report.

The County estimates that the FY2011 net revenue will be approximately $430,000, the great majority of which has come from insurance providers and Medicaid or Medicare.  The funds will go to support meet the needs of the county’s fire rescue system -  Albemarle spends approximately $4.5 million annually to support our combined volunteer and career EMS response system, and maintaining the quality and responsiveness of that system is a critical priority.


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