By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The city of Marshfield has received five proposals from private firms interested in handling the city’s ambulance billing.
During the April 18 Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee meeting, City Administrator Steve Barg said that city staff will initialize the selection process by analyzing the proposals and breaking them down to compare side-by-side.
“We would like to conduct a high-level review at staff level next week to look at some areas such as the qualifications that the firm brings to bear, the key staff people, the client list, do they have clients similar to our size and our needs, and other factors,” said Barg. “Maybe just to make kind of a cheat sheet for you so you can compare and see that these are the firms, and in these six categories, just to grab a number, they compare in these ways, and you’ll see which one might look more qualified, hopefully, from looking at that.”
The proposal review would then be brought back to the common council and include a comparison to what was previously done by city staff.
“We’ll have our own in-house comparison that shows cost of the staff and the benefits paid and other ancillary costs that might come along if we do it in-house,” added Barg. “So you’ll see that paired up directly against the five proposals.”
The committee voted unanimously to initiate the review process with interviews of the top candidates occurring on May 8. A recommendation will then be brought forward by the Finance Committee for consideration by the common council.
City ambulance billing was stalled and the idea of outsourcing presented following the retirement of a half-time city staff member as well as the departure of a full-time employee.
Barg stated that due to the time needed to address the situation and either train new staff or implement a private firm, the city may have to look into temporary assistance in dealing with the mounting bills.
“The city is not billing any ambulance charges right now,” explained Barg. “We don’t have staff to do that. We’ve accrued nearly $100,000 in unbilled charges over the past few weeks since we haven’t had staff, and, again, we have not lost our right to collect them through Medicare/Medicaid, private insurance, or anything like that.
“So it is not like we’ve lost funds, but they are beginning to pile up.”