Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Members of the Macon County Commission hear concerns from community member Rickey Brown about Willie B. Lane, a private roadway that has caused problems for medical personnel as he faces a battle with cancer, during its meeting on Monday. Pictured (from left): commissioners Jeff Hughes, Michael Slayton, Tony Wix, Scott Cothron and Kenneth Witte.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Members of the Macon County Commission hear concerns from community member Rickey Brown about Willie B. Lane, a private roadway that has caused problems for medical personnel as he faces a battle with cancer, during its meeting on Monday.

Pictured (from left): commissioners Jeff Hughes, Michael Slayton, Tony Wix, Scott Cothron and Kenneth Witte.

The Macon County Commission discussed finding an alternative collections agency for the county's Emergency Medical Service (EMS) at its meeting on Monday evening, a move that EMS Director Mike Ethridge projects would save taxpayers money.

"We don't feel like we're getting true collections from them," Ethridge said of Ambulance Medical Billing (AMB). "They're a huge billing operation. EMS billing is a small part of what they do, and they've treated us like a small part of what they do."

According to Ethridge, Macon County EMS has collected $1 million this year, but he believes the department should have brought in an amount closer to $1.2 million.

"That doesn't impact operations, but it does impact the revenue we bring back into the county," Ethridge said. "The more we bring in, the less taxpayers are responsible for. As a county department, our budget is right at $2 million, but the cost of the county is around $500,000 to $600,000. We recoup a lot of that through our calls."

Ethridge hopes to partner with a collection agency that specifically focuses on EMS billing and noted that he has consulted with other EMS departments about their experiences with those agencies.

"They grew too fast," Macon County Mayor Steve Jones said. "Now, they (can't) keep up and take care of us, basically. On the county side, everything's fine … what I would like to do is get authorization for Mike and I to reach out to these (other) companies and get some proposals."

AMB has worked with Macon County for three years, and their services are renewed on a month-to-month basis because the original contract expired.

The commission also sent two resolutions forward to be voted on at its next meeting, one that would see the county cut off roads at areas where residents have gated them and another that would require the commission to approve any buildings located on county property.

The Macon County Commission's next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 17 at the Macon County Court House.