Polk to outsource emergency billing 

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Commissioners approve contract Monday 


COLUMBUS—The Polk County Board of Commissioners decided this week to contract with Tarheel Medical Billing for its emergency medical services billing.  

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Commissioners met on Monday and heard from EMS Director Michael Crater.  

Crater said the purpose of utilizing billing services is so the department can streamline its billing. He said Polk is one of the few counties in North Carolina that does its billing in-house.  

“This will help us tremendously,” Crater said, adding that it will free up staff time.  

“It’s a more modern way of doing billing services,” Crater said.  

County Manager Marche Pittman said he wanted commissioners to hear about the guaranteed revenues.  

Tarheel Medical Billing Sales and Marketing Director David Pickren came to the meeting and said the company is only compensated if they collect. He said the estimate is that Polk County will collect $500,000-$700,000 more over the next three years and his company will take a percentage of that. The company has existed for 25 years, with Pickren saying Polk County will be Tarheel’s 18th county in North Carolina. There are a total of 37 contracts they cover in North Carolina, he said.  

Pickren said they expect to collect 70-75 percent of bills in Polk County. Polk County’s current collection rate is in the low 50-percent, he said.  

The contract the county signed is a 3-year contract, but there is a 90-day no fault clause in it.  

Pittman said Tarheel will take 6-8 percent of the billing collected.  

“I’m very comfortable with this,” Pittman told commissioners.  

Crater said there will be no increase in current fees for EMS services.