AMED Monday agreed to assume billing responsibilities for the Hollidaysburg American Legion Ambulance Service, a move likely to herald further cooperation — but not an acquisition by AMED of the smaller service, according to officials.
Under a five-year contract, HALAS will pay AMED $27.50 a claim, according to AMED Executive Director Gary Watters.
The additional cooperation that both parties envision will follow will not involve office work, but the staffing of ambulances, given that “everybody has got staffing shortages,” Watters said.
If HALAS runs short some Friday night, it can let AMED know, and AMED can “maybe ramp up a little,” Watters said.
Conversely, if AMED at some point has “a lot going on,” the help could come from the other direction, he said.
Hollidaysburg has struggled with billing for about a decade, as it has been hard to find “billing professionals,” according to Rodney Estep, chairman of the HALAS board, who attended the AMED meeting.
Discussions between the parties about the issue began a couple of months ago, Watters said — without saying why those talks started.
“Let’s just say it was a little incident that brought us together,” Watters said.
The contract should be the start of a mutually beneficial relationship between parties with similar missions, Estep said.
HALAS members and constituents shouldn’t worry, he said.
Except for billing, things will be the same, he said.
It won’t lead to an AMED “takeover,” he stated.
The bills that HALAS users receive will actually not look any different, according to Watters.
AMED will not make money on the new arrangement, as the charge will only cover costs, according to Watters.
The new billing responsibility will not require AMED to hire additional staff, he said.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.