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County ambulance billing rates to increase
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Commissioners approved a revision last week to Dawson County's ambulance billing ordinance that will increase the rates that patients are charged per ride.

Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford presented the request in September and said that the increase will bring the county's rates in line with surrounding counties.

According to Swafford, the current ambulance billing rate ordinance was enacted in June of 2006, and due to changes in the Medicare and Medicaid allowable and private pay rates, Dawson County had been undercharging patients for ambulance transportation.

This resulted in a loss of funds for the county, and Swafford now hopes the new rates will allow the county to collect a more appropriate amount for services provided.

With the new rates, bills would increase ranging from $50 to $175 depending on the type of transport.

The request from emergency services came after talks between the department and their new EMS billing vendor, EMS Consultants.

Two public hearings were held regarding the increase, the first on Oct. 13 and the second on Oct. 27.

During last week's voting session, District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett motioned to approve the revision, and District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix seconded.

The motion was approved unanimously.

The new rates were effective immediately following the vote.

Other business:

The commission unanimously approved the cancellation of a bid proposal to build an awning and covered walkway at the Dawson County Government Center due to lack of interested vendors. According to Purchasing Director Davida Simpson, the bid was canceled because a pre-bid meeting was held and no one attended. The county will continue to search for a vendor to build the awning and walkway.

The commission unanimously approved the appointment of Chris Conowal to the Dawson County Parks and Recreation Board. Conowal's term will begin in November and end in December 2021.