Neshoba Co. to have separate ambulance service

Neshoba County Hospital officials said they will spin off their ambulance service as a seperate entity if the service can obtain Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance providers to support them. (file photo)

PHILADELPHIA – (AP) Neshoba County General Hospital has agreed to spin off its ambulance service.

The Neshoba Democrat reported the ambulance service will become a separate entity under an agreement between the hospital and the county board of supervisors.

“It will no longer be an extension of the emergency room as far as hospital billing is concerned,” said County Administrator Benjie Coats.

Coats said the ambulance service would do its own billing.

The change is contingent upon it obtaining Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance provider numbers for billing purposes, Coats said.

“Basically, a lot of times Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies do not pay for ambulance services because they view EMS service as an extension of the hospital,” Coats said.

Hospital Administrator Lonnie Graeber said patients would not see any changes in the ambulance service other than the billing.

“The way reimbursements work, this will help us generate about an additional $250,000 in revenue,” Graeber said. “The patients won’t see any difference at all. The charges will remain the same but federal programs will reimburse us more for each trip an ambulance makes.”

Under the agreement, the hospital will provide the personnel to operate the ambulance service.

“Everything, in essence, will remain the same,” Graeber said.

Initially, the enterprise’s operating budget will be provided by the hospital as it is now. However, once established and set up, it will generate its own budget, Coats said.

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