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Carroll commissioners hire New York firm to handle ambulance billing for Fire & EMS Department

Carroll County continues to move forward with establishing its first Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

On Thursday, the Board of Carroll County Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Digitech Computer, LLC of Chappaqua, New York, to handle billing for emergency medical treatment, ambulance transport services to a hospital or facility, and collections.


The county will not pay an annual fee for the contract, according to Michael Robinson Sr., director and chief of the county’s Department of Fire and EMS.


“We are only charged for those calls that are billed by the company at a set rate of $16.75 a call,” Robinson said. “Not all calls will be billed, only when we transport to a facility or in the case of a refusal of service that the insurer is set up to reimburse.”

The transition to this will allow the Department of Fire and EMS to bill for ambulance services to help pay for the funding of new personnel.

Robinson’s plan will allow for 15 medic units to provide 24-hour staffing seven days a week and at least one fire apparatus driver at all stations in the county but the Harney station. Stations in Westminster, Sykesville and Mount Airy will also have lieutenants serving as a station supervisor since they will have at least six staff on each of the four shifts.

“This is part of our plan in staffing EMS units,” Robinson said at the Thursday commissioners meeting. “Currently, 13 companies do the billing, and receive the funding from providing EMS. So over the two-year period we’re transitioning that to county employees. As part of our arrangements to do that, and a lot of planning went into that, we’re going to be taking over the billing.”

District 2 Commissioner Ken Kiler said he’s been told by representatives at several fire and EMS companies in the county that they want the billing transition done “in a hurry.”

Digitech Computer, LLC does EMS billing for Annapolis, the City of Baltimore and Howard County. By hiring the company, Carroll County hopes to streamline the entire EMS operation for better efficiency.

“The billing [in Carroll] currently has been very disjointed,” Robinson said.


One county staff person will be working with Digitect Computer, LLC, to handle the billing.

District 4 Commissioner Michael Guerin said that with only one staff member handing all the billing, an additional person needs to be hired to help out.

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Commissioners’ President Ed Rothstein, who represents District 5, agreed. “It’s a position that should be filled,” he said.

But Ted Zaleski, the county’s director of Management and Budget, said it’s too soon to begin the hiring process. He said there are many other open positions in the county that need to be filled.

“We have no experience or data yet on what this contact is going to mean,” Zaleski said. “I just want to remind you, we should not be talking about a position in isolation, because we have lots of position needs. We would need to weigh this against 50 other possibilities, before we start.”