Establish a “soft billing” policy for Bloomfield Township EMS

Establish a “soft billing” policy for Bloomfield Township EMS

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Adam Sherman started this petition to Bloomfield Township and

Bloomfield TWP, MI currently engages in hard billing for its EMS through Medicount billing services. This means that the city, like most medical providers and some municipalities, attempts to collect any remaining balance after insurance (if any) has paid for ambulance services directly from the patient. With a soft-billing policy, a city accepts the payment provided by the insurance and writes off the rest. At the most, the patient might get billed, but they would not be sent to collections for failure to pay.

Unfortunately, the collection agency Bloomfield TWP contracted with (Merchants & Medical Credit Corporation) has proved on at least one occasion to attempt to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by lying and otherwise trying to convince a Medicaid recipient that they were legally liable for the balance when it was incorrectly billed by the billing company. This was only discovered because the person happened to themselves have extensive knowledge and experience in patient billing and in Medicaid billing in particular (they had almost memorized the Medicaid provider handbook). 

Therefore, the township contracts with a company for its EMS billing collections that is under active investigation for potential Medicaid fraud for lying to people, telling them they owe money they do not, arguing with the people who dispute them on the issue, refusing to send the error to the biller, and telling them to pursue futile courses of action to correct the issue when the person refuses to accept the answer. This is upsetting when you consider that the people being sent to collections needed an ambulance and were, therefore, more likely to be elderly and/or disabled.

Meanwhile, the biller Medicount is not fixing errors that the person reports to them after receiving the initial bill, especially when Medicaid is approved retroactively, and it still sends people to collections. It seems likely that that people have paid money they do not owe or have been harassed and perhaps had legal action taken against them.

Despite numerous attempts at contact and seeking resolution to this egregious matter by city leadership, there has been no comment to address the following questions and concerns: 

1. There is no money to be made or recouped from billing Medicaid as secondary for a patient. For some reason, the law allows Medicaid to pay 20% of the Medicaid-approved rate, which is often much lower than that approved by primary carriers such as Medicare. If, however, Medicare already paid 100% of the Medicaid-approved rate, then Medicaid pays out nothing. Re-billing Medicaid and forgiving a debt of a person who truly owes it would result in the same income.

Is there a situation where the biller and/or the collections agency is purposely failing to properly bill Medicaid as secondary in an attempt to instead get the co-payment from the patient?

2. If, instead, the error was due to simple incompetence, should we expect to believe that this billing error and subsequent refusal by the collections agency to relay the error was a rare, one-time occurrence?

3. How many people in general would one expect to have the in-depth knowledge on the subject to dispute the collector's repeated insistence that they are liable for the balance?

4. How many people would instead believe the collections agency or otherwise have paid the balance?

5. How many people HAVE paid the balance despite it not being their responsibility?

6. How many people have NOT paid the balance and have been harassed, taken to court, and had their credit reports affected due to a liability they did not owe?

7. What auditing does the township do to ensure the collections company remains ethical and honest?

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It appears unlikely that switching to a different collection agency would be effective or at the least reliable to prevent such behavior.

Even on the slightest chance that this was an isolated incident, is the city budget such that there would be significant harm without the revenue generated by a collections company wrangling money from sick and often elderly people who required emergency services beyond their control and don't have the financial means to pay the balance on an amount they never had the opportunity to even negotiate in the first place?

Therefore, please sign this petition to tell the city leadership to support and protect their most vulnerable residents from the harms of the collection companies they contract with now or in the future by instead writing off such balances instead of sending them to collections and being put at risk for the predatory behavior described herein. Medicount offers such a "soft billing" option; tell Leo Savoie and the rest of the Bloomfield Township administration to take them up on it.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!