Big Spring Fire Department Hires Agency to Collect "Bad Debt" From EMS Bills
March 26, 2014 at 11:05 PM CDT - Updated July 21 at 11:46 AM
By Alicia Neaves
BIG SPRING - If you haven't paid your EMS bill in Big Spring, be prepared to face the new group in town that will come knocking to collect your debt.
"We're bringing in a new collection agency to help us find people that we can't find, to basically do the leg work for us," Craig Ferguson, Big Spring Fire Chief and EMS Director, said.
In the past, the Fire Department would try and collect the money themselves, but have since hired experts in hopes of collecting more, taking some burden off taxpayers.
If you use EMS services today, you'll receive a bill in the mail in about a week. That's your first notice. 30 days after that, you'll get a second notice. 40 days, a third notice, then at 60 days, you'll receive your fourth and final notice. If your bill is still not paid, it becomes "bad debt" with an added fine of 30 percent of your bill. At the moment, roughly 50 percent of all residents pay their EMS bills.
"In comparison to other places that have EMS, that's actually pretty good. There's some that are a little bit higher, a lot that are lower than us. So we do pretty well now," Ferguson said.
With the amount of calls they get each day, they are hoping to increase collections by 20 percent. In fact, their ambulances are sent out on average about 12 times a day.
An ambulance run ranges from $500 to $800 and up. If you have trouble paying your bill, payments can be negotiated.
"We had a young lady who paid literally $10 a month for four years and we gladly took that money. We want to work with the public. We want to help you out," Ferguson said.