UPDATE 2: Ambulance Deadbeats Cost Town

Submitted 11 days ago
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In FYE 2018: $6556.58

Unpaid ambulance charges cost the Town of Norwich over $6500 last fiscal year. Apparently there is not much the Town can do about it. 

That FYE 2018 amount is roughly in line with the four-year average, although the numbers vary a lot from year to year.  Below are the uncollected charges per fiscal year provided in November by Roberta Robinson, the Norwich Director of Finance.

    2018    $  6556.58
    2017    $ 12438.88
    2016    $     221.94  

    2015     $  5786.86 

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The Town contracts with Hanover Ambulance Service to provide ambulance services to the Town of Norwich for calls within its municipal borders. See: Ambulance Deadbeats Cost TownThis year the Town budgeted $122,426 for the ambulance contract and $12,000 for unpaid charges. 

Hanover Ambulance bills the ambulance user and the user's insurance company. If any part of the bill remains unpaid after six to nine months, then the Town pays the balance owed. Thereafter, Norwich uses a collection agency, on a contingency basis, to pursue the deadbeats. 

The anecdotal evidence is the unpaid charges are mainly owed by non-residents who need services following an accidents along Interstate 91. Although the highway is in federal and state jurisdiction, Norwich is stuck with the bill. Another, albeit smaller, source of nonpayment is users who receive insurance payments but pocket the cash.  Still, one would think that spoiling your credit rating would be enough to pay up, particularly if the user has insurance. 
The Town starting its own ambulance squad would be cost prohibitive say Fire Chief Alex Northern in response to a question posed by Selectboard member Mary Layton at the last Selectboard budget meeting. The Town of Randolph is considering that option but it pays an $300,000 per year to White River Valley Ambulance, according to a February 2018 story in the Herald.  

Not discussed by the Norwich Selectboard at that meeting was whether Hanover Ambulance could improve its billing practices, whether the Town had options other than Hanover Ambulance, or whether better terms could be negotiated.
POSTED: 12.06.2018 

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