Rally held to fight ambulance billing outsourcing - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Rally held to fight ambulance billing outsourcing

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Some city residents and leaders are trying to block a plan to outsource Kansas City's ambulance billing. Their method Saturday was a rally downtown.

The rally was held Saturday until 2 p.m. near 73rd Street and Prospect Avenue against Intermedix. People gathered outside of the union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 500 to gather signatures to try and get the company to stay out of Kansas City.

Intermedix is the largest ambulance billing company in the nation. They're accused of overbilling, under billing and sometimes not billing ambulance riders in Dallas, Memphis and several other cities. There have also been issues surrounding identity theft.

Robert Patrick, the union's president, says the contract the city signed with the company just doesn't seem right.

"The contract just doesn't pass the smell test to us with the identity issues that they've had - lost identity, not guaranteeing that they'll collect the same revenue or more than what we're already collecting – so in our opinion it's not the best thing for the Kansas City citizens," he said.

Kansas City officials, though, say no company is perfect and the complaint from the other cities isn't a fair assessment. City Manager Troy Schulte and others say that Intermedix will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In June the city council voted 7-4 to hire the company.

Afterwards 350 people signed a petition to block the ordinance's effective date. Now they need more than 7,000 additional signatures by Tuesday.

"The privatization of jobs and the public service jobs are a big concern to us all over the nation," Jonothan Walker who spent Saturday helping to gather signatures. "Our biggest concern is that every time people think public/private is the right idea and what happens is our public service ends up taking a hit."

If they get the signatures, the city council could repeal the ordinance or force the city to take the ordinance to the public for a vote.

Intermedix sent KCTV5 a statement saying it is excited to work with Kansas City and that the finance committee supports it.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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