WILLIAMSON – An update on an Emergency Fee Ordinance for the City of Williamson was provided by Williamson Fire Chief Joey Carey at the regular meeting of the Williamson City Council on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Williamson Mayor Robert Carlton opened the discussion stating, “What we are considering is looking at an increase in the emergency fee services for responses by the police and fire departments to emergency situations. The chief will update us on what he has found.”
Carey presented the council with a proposal packet from a billing company that he had approached. “I have been doing research on billing. The billing that is in front of you is through a company called MCA. They are company out of Huntington that does ambulance co-billing and also they have been specializing for the last ten years in fire and rescue and other types of billing services.”
Carey continued, explaining that he has used the company in the past and had positive results. “I used those folks 10 or 15 years ago when I was working as director for an EMS service and I got a lot of good work out of them. They have been in Mingo County also. I did talk to the folks at MCA quite extensively about some of the things that I have been working on with the ambulance. I talked to them the past week about billing for some of the responses that we do now that we aren’t getting any money for. “
The proposal packet contained information on services that can be billed for emergency responses. “ In front of you is a proposal packet from those folks regarding fire and rescue and some hazmat responses that we do that we can bill for,” Carey said.
Carey explained that billing for emergency services would not be a fee for the citizens of Williamson. “Those bills go to insurance companies. It is not a fee imposed to any one in Williamson. That is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about responses that we make out here for car wrecks and house fire ; things that people have insurance and it is on their policy to be payable to us that we have never really went after in the past,” Carey said.
After a brief discussion, Councilman York Smith asked if the ordinance would raise homeowners insurance.
Carey responded stating, “The only thing we are trying to do is collect money from insurances that are in the policy already. Those folks that have this insurance, it is in their policy to be paid to us; we just never bill them for it. Homeowners insurance has a policy to pay for fire department services $500. The only time you ever bill is if you have a loss. You are already going to be filing a claim for the loss anyway.”
Carlton responded stating, “I would highly recommend to council that we pursue this aggressively over next few council meetings.”
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)