Guam – Finance Committee Chair Senator Ben Pangelinan says that the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget requires the Guam Fire Department to get serious about billing for all ambulance service that it provides.
In a release today, the Senator says the budget bill mandates GFD to work with the Guam Memorial Hospital to determine a methodology for billing.
Guam Fire has had the authority to establish a fee schedule to bill and to collect for its services since 1993, but they haven’t done it. There is already an adopted fee schedule in place and GFD has the power to bill for its services, including ambulance services. The money is supposed to be deposited into the Fire, Life and Medical Emergency (FLAME) Fund.”
But Pangelinan says that GFD hasn’t set up a consistent collections policy nor have they entered into any agreements with private parties or government entities to adequately fund ambulance repair and maintenance, which is required in the FLAME Fund enabling legislation.
The release explains that Pangelinan’s Committee on Appropriations has been concerned with the Guam Fire Department’s inability to fully implement its existing fee schedule. In recent months, there have been a number of days on which only 3 or 4 ambulances have been working.
Senator Pangelinan says he will continue to push for an agreement where the GMH bills and collects on behalf GFD.
The release quotes him as saying that :“There is already a relationship established between GMH and GFD and GMH is billing over $100 million dollars a year in claims, so it makes sense that the hospital be tapped as the administrator to bill for ambulance services. The GMH can take a percentage of the payments and GFD will retain the balance in the FLAME fund. It’s a win-win for everyone. More importantly, this solution can be implemented immediately “