BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – A failure on the part of the former Lee County EMS operators to provide timely documentation to Lee County officials could result in a heavy loss of potential reimbursements to the county.
At Monday’s Lee County Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors were disappointed that the family that owned the former Lee County EMS ambulance service hadn’t responded to requests for information that could have helped the county recoup some of that funding.
The county was hoping to get information in under a deadline for the state Department of Human Service’s Ground Emergency Medical Transport program that reimburses for Medicaid services that carry a low federal rate.
The Ground Emergency Medical Transportation (GEMT) Program is a voluntary program that allows publicly owned or operated emergency ground ambulance transportation providers to receive supplemental payments that cover the difference between a provider’s actual costs per GEMT transport and the Medicaid base payment, mileage, and other sources of reimbursement.
Lee County Supervisor Garry Seyb said the county still doesn’t have the deeds for the buildings that were part of the purchase agreement, in addition to billable information needed by the state to determine supplemental funding assistance.
“We’re a new ambulance service and we’re at the mercy of the old ambulance service, which could help with the state granting us an extension,” he said.
“But the other question I have is, have we ever received the final information that the auditor’s office needed to close the purchase of the service from the Young family.
“I don’t believe that we’ve received that either,” Cosby said.
Seyb said maybe the county attorney should be involved at this point.
Board chairman Matt Pflug said he went with a county staffer to give the Youngs a check, but Bill Young didn’t have the deeds at that time.
“We went out there with a check in hand for the buildings, and he didn’t have the deeds – but he wanted us to leave the check,” Pflug said.
“We need our deeds.”
Seyb said it would be one thing if the Youngs didn’t have the information to provide to the company that’s been hired to help obtain the GEMT funding, but supervisors believe that’s not the case.
Cosby said it’s a whole year of financial billable information.
“Again, I assume he would have closed down those programs because he’s no longer running an ambulance service, but he answered that he still had access to it. It’s going to take some man hours, it won’t be something that can be done in half an hour,” Cosby said.
Cosby told the board that getting an extension from the state at this point would be difficult, but said he did hear from both Bill and Richard Young Monday afternoon, and everyone was cooperating as of Tuesday.
“We have missed the deadline and an extension is very unlikely at this point. Bill and Richard Young have both reached out to me and we are navigating our way through the process. Everyone has been cooperative,” Cosby said.
The county has hired Public Consulting Group to help navigate the GEMT funding stream, but Cosby said the deadline has already passed for filing for the supplemental payments for 2021. Those figures are estimated to be around $400,000.
“We’re talking about $400,000 here, folks,” Supervisor Rich Harlow said.