The Norwich Township Fire Department is the primary provider of basic and advanced life support to the residents and visitors of Norwich Township, the City of Hilliard and Brown Township. The department is committed to the development of the latest advances in basic and advanced life support patient care. The department is committed to bringing compassionate and timely lifesaving emergency medical care to all locations within our community, making a healthier and safer place to live, work and visit.
The EMS Coordinator of the Norwich Township Fire Department is your patient advocate. It is the coordinator's responsibility to maintain the agencies Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and all aspects which correlate with the operation. Examples of duties include serving as a patient liaison between the department and patients; the patient and receiving facilities and the patient/family and outside resource agencies. Other duties include EMS Budget preparation, department Privacy Officer, EMS Education, EMS policy and procedure, Quality Improvement, working with other agencies for regional EMS operational guidelines and response to emergency incidents as necessary. If you ever have a question about an EMS incident, the coordinator is your primary contact for information.
The Norwich Township Fire Department encourages feedback from you. Please email your comments regarding our EMS services to Mike_Isham@NorwichTownship.org.
The Norwich Township Fire Department responds to all calls made to 9-1-1. Depending on the situation, both a fire engine or ladder truck and a paramedic unit will be dispatched. All fire department personnel are cross trained as firefighters and EMS providers. For non-emergency situations, the Norwich Township Fire Department will assist when necessary, for example, if a person has fallen and needs assistance.
EMS billing is not a new or novel idea. In fact, approximately 85% of the EMS providers nationwide bill for patient transports. Some central Ohio departments have been charging for EMS transports for nearly 10 years. Currently, 19 of the 20 EMS providers in Franklin County charge to transport patients to the hospital.
On the surface, EMS billing may seem like Fire Departments are taking advantage of patients during a difficult and vulnerable time. However, the facts don’t support this conclusion. The information below is offered to give residents a better understanding of EMS billing.
How EMS billing works:
While treating and/or transporting patients, EMS and hospital personnel gather patient information and, if possible, ask the patient to sign a form authorizing disclosure of specific medical information protected by HIPAA privacy rules. This information is electronically submitted to a third party billing service. They review the report to determine the appropriate fee for the transportation services provided. Once the fee is determined, a claim is submitted to the patient’s private or government insurance carrier.
What a Norwich Township resident can expect:
Residents are considered persons who live or work in the Norwich Township Fire Department service area, which includes unincorporated Norwich Township, the City of Hilliard, and Brown Township. Residents would not be billed for insurance co-pays or additional charges above the rate paid by their insurer. Residents may receive a letter requesting insurance information or verification, but they will not receive a bill even if they are uninsured.
What a non-resident can expect:
Transport charges will be billed to a non-resident patient’s insurer in the same manner as a resident. However, non-residents will be billed for any unpaid balance not covered by the insurance carrier. If the non-resident is uninsured, they will be billed for the entire amount.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Will I be denied service if I am unable to pay to be transported to a medical facility?
A. No. No one will be denied emergency medical service or transport for any reason. The medical treatment that a patient receives will not be changed in any way by an EMS billing program.
Q. Why did the ambulance crew ask me for my personal information?
A. To verify your identity and prevent fraud. Because the Fire and EMS Department charges fees for service, ambulance crews are instructed to verify patient identity including name, social security number, birth date, home address and telephone number.
Q. I received a notice asking me to provide my insurance information, but I already provided this information at an earlier time. Do I need to provide it again?
A. Yes, we understand that this is an inconvenience, but in order to ensure we have the approval to bill your insurance on your behalf, this information may be requested again if not properly obtained when the incident originally happened. Please complete, sign and mail to the address provided by the company requesting this important information. Currently our third party billing company is ChangeHealthcare. Their address is: 3131 Newmark Drive Suite 100 Miamisburg, Ohio 45342. The phone number is 1-866-631-4551.
Q. When will I be asked to pay for transportation to the hospital?
A. Sometime after your hospital visit, your insurance carrier will be billed for the transport. When your insurance carrier or Medicare pays the transport charges, you will receive an “Explanation of Benefits” form to notify you that the charges have been paid. That will be the end of the transaction for residents in Norwich Township Fire Department service area. In some cases, the third party billing service may not have the name of your insurer. In those cases, you may receive a letter asking you to provide this information. If you are a resident, you will NOT receive nor will you be expected to pay the bill yourself. Charges are assessed only if the patient is transported to a medical facility. If a patient receives medical attention, but is not transported, there is no charge for the service.
Q. How much will the transports cost?
A. The cost of the transport would depend on the type of the service provided and the distance to the medical facility. For example, the charge for basic life support (BLS) transports will be less than the charge for advanced life support (ALS) transports. Our rates would be based on the reasonable and customary Medicare rates for our region and would be comparable to the rates of other departments in central Ohio.
Q. Won’t I end up paying for this service through an increase in my insurance premium?
A. No. If you are insured, you are already paying for this service. By state statute, EMS transport fees are included in your current premium. All private and government insurers already carry provisions to pay for EMS transport.
Q. What if I am not insured or my insurance doesn’t cover the total cost of the transport?
A. Norwich Township’s billing service provider will be instructed to practice “soft billing”. Once the Township’s billing service receives verification that you are not covered by insurance or Medicare, the billing process stops for Norwich Township residents. No bill will be sent and you will not be expected to pay the charges. Non-residents will be billed for any unpaid balance.
Q. How are these funds used?
A. By statute, revenue raised by charging for EMS transports would be used for expenses associated with the “management, maintenance, and operation of the Township’s fire and EMS services” that are currently being paid by tax revenue in the Fire fund.
Q. Who do I talk to if I have a question about EMS service?
A. If you have a question about Norwich Township’s proposed EMS billing program, contact the Norwich Township Fire Chief Jeff Warren at (614) 876-7694.
Q. How do you protect the privacy of my health information?
A. EMS Billing Services and The Norwich Township Fire Department abide by a federally acquired Health Insurance Privacy Protection (HIPAA) Compliance Program that protects your health information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Links to Other Web Sites
Hospitals We Transport to