EMS Pulls the Wool Again
When bureaucrats start saying , "We cannot function without this; We use it on 60 percent of all patents; and People will surely die if we don not get it. Most of us with normal commonsense see a red flag. Red flags always mean, caution; we need to be careful in our decision making . For example, another red flag appears when something seems too good to be true, like maybe a free lunch.
EMS requested that we buy out an existing lease with Phillips Cardiac Monitors that is currently costing us $36,000 per year for five units and replace it with a new lease for $52,993 per year for seven units. These units are attached to the patient and continuously monitor the behavior of a person's heart and other vital signs. They do not provide a cure, they only record what is happening. The increased cost to Beaufort County is almost $17,000 per year.
The present equipment lease with Phillips expires in 2022. This lease cannot be more than three or four yeas old because that is how long we have had a county EMS. In addition the written presentation to Commissioners said... "these monitors are becoming old technology, constantly being taken out of service and sent off for repair". Phillips claims they provide medical services to 1.5 billion of the 7 billion people on the face of the earth. We were told during the discussion that 60 percent of the pick ups in Beaufort County require heart monitoring.
I voted against the new lease because there are several other heart evaluation methods available to an EMS technician. Beaufort county elected to go with the highest level of service requiring highly trained EMS technicians. These monitors would only be used during emergency transport, at the most one hour, to the emergency room. The patient could wear he monitor during about half of the trip to the hospital. By the time the machine is hooked up and standardized the patient is at the emergency room.
The night after the commissioners meeting, I attended the EMS Oversight Committee meeting. A shocking little statement was made by a representative of a private company that provides transport services. There is a problem with some counties trying to increase collections from MEDICARE, MEDICAID and insurance companies by over using heart monitoring.
Well now. Here is how the fallout from that works. MEDICARE and MEDICAID routinely monitor all billing. If they determine that the use of the monitor was not justified, they ask for their money back. Typically they just deduct it from the next billing. Because adjustments are done this way, without a refund check being written by Beaufort County, "no one will ever know about the abuse". If the abuse becomes habitual, fines are levied, again by deducting from the next payout check. Neither the Commissioners nor the public are the wiser.
Why is this important? Because if there is too much abuse of the billing, Beaufort County will be removed from the vendor list. That means we get no more money.
The present Board of Commissioners do not want to provide oversight or monitoring to any part of the County's business. There is a lot of risk here.I support the purchase of necessary medical supplies and equipment.
Those who have contrary views to those presented here are invited to submit their opinion in writing for publication.