New EMS tool saving taxpayer dollars

LEE COUNTY: Lee County EMS workers spend most days saving lives. But now, new technology will also allow them to be better bill collectors.

Lee County EMS paramedic Heather Demos has a computer companion. Everywhere dispatch sends her, the laptop follows.

"This is a computer system that helps me do anything and everything that I need to do for a patient," she explained. "We're not allowed to leave it anywhere."

That same computer is also saving the county some cash.

"In order to get reimbursement from the insurance company, we have to have certain information. If we don't have that information, the insurance company won't pay," said Diane Holm of Lee County Public Safety.

And if the insurance company doesn't pay, the taxpayer does.

At Lee County EMS, calls are down about 12-percent. But at the same time, ambulances are rushing in revenue that's about 12-percent - or $2-million - higher.

One reason why is because those computers make sure every single piece of data an insurance company could ever ask for has been typed in by a paramedic.

"I can put down every vital sign, every IV," said Demos.

"It's wonderful for the taxpayer because it has increased our revenue so much, despite the fact we've had a decrease in calls," said Holm.

The computer not only saves tax payers cash, it also allows paramedics and EMTs to spend more time on the patient.

Demos says the old paper and pencil method took much longer.

"You would bubble wrong, it would leak through and you would lose that information - vital billing information, vital treatment information," she said.

She says the piece of technology is now a vital tool for her - a tool to save the lives, and the money, of Lee County taxpayers.

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