Changes implemented last year to the Gardiner Ambulance Service are expected to increase revenue by $50,000 this year, but the regional emergency service will still likely be about $75,000 short of its revenue projections for the year.

The consultant who recommended the billing changes last year presented updated revenue projections to Gardiner councilors Wednesday night as part of its review of the effect of the implemented changes. The report from New Hampshire-based Municipal Resources Inc. provided the city with guidance on how much it should expect to receive in revenue going forward.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the recommendations from the firm have already had a positive impact on the city’s ambulance service budget, and they will help the service in future years. Although the city will still need to find a way to close the shortfall this year, the expected $50,000 boost in revenue from the changes implemented last year is higher than the $40,000 originally anticipated, he said.

“The more revenue we can get from sources other than our partner communities, which include Gardiner, I think the better off the service will be in the future,” Morelli said.

Gardiner Ambulance Service, which provides emergency medical service to Chelsea, Dresden, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Litchfield, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner, gets its revenue by billing individuals and their insurance companies for service and through fees charged to all eight communities.

Morelli said the city is still working on a plan to cover the deficit in this year’s budget. Gardiner Fire Chief Al Nelson will schedule a meeting with the Ambulance Advisory Board, made up of representatives from the partner communities, to review the findings and discuss options for finding ways to increase revenue or decrease expenses this year.

The city originally hired the consulting firm last spring to find out why revenues in the city’s ambulance fund had been falling short of projections by as much as $100,000 the last several years. The firm’s recommendations included reducing the delay between when a call occurs and when an invoice is processed, using more aggressive collection practices and increasing and bundling the rates charged for several services.

Morelli said city officials had realized there was a problem with the fund’s revenue before last year because it wasn’t accounting for the actual money received. Last year was the first time Morelli and the city’s finance director worked on the revenue projections themselves. Instead of looking at the amount of money the fund received, the budget used both the money received and the outstanding billing total in the revenue projections.

The report presented to councilors Wednesday recommended the city project about $50 in revenue for every $100 billed to Medicare customers, $30 in revenue for every $100 billed to Medicaid customers, $60 in revenue for every $100 billed to private insurance customers and $20 in revenue for every $100 billed to customers without insurance.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig

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