Group is trying to overturn ambulance billing outsourcing

07/01/2014 5:33 PM

07/01/2014 9:50 PM

The Kansas City Council’s recent decision to outsource ambulance billing is on hold for now.

An opposition group has launched a referendum drive to try to overturn that decision. The Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners certified Tuesday that the group had gathered the 100 valid petition signatures required to start the process.

The committee of petitioners has until July 29 to gather 7,144 total signatures of registered voters. If its petitions are insufficient at that time, the group will have 10 more days to complete the task.

The referendum effort is the latest volley in what has become a prolonged battle. After months of debate, a divided City Council voted 7-4 on June 19 to privatize Kansas City’s ambulance billing. The council authorized the fire chief to enter into a five-year contract with Advanced Data Processing Inc., a subsidiary of Intermedix Corp.

Supporters said the move would save the city $800,000 in taxpayer dollars and had the potential to boost medical collections by $2 million a year.

City officials also pointed out that the move only affects 16 city employees, who would be offered new jobs.

But opponents cited several cities that had serious problems with Intermedix’s customer service and failure to meet collection projections.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.

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