Lake Twp. loses money with new billing system


MILLBURY – Lake Township changed its emergency records management company, but fire department leaders discovered it wasn’t billing correctly.

Fire Chief Barrett Dorner reported at the Feb. 7 township trustees meeting that the department could lose $10,000 due to the number of forms that were filled out incorrectly by Emergency Networking.

He said when his department switch to Emergency Networking for data collection at the beginning of the year, it didn’t do what was needed.

“There was every indication that it would perform really well for what we needed it for, and it didn’t,” Dorner said.

Its underperformance cost an estimated $2,500 in payroll hours spent troubleshooting issues, he said.

During the two weeks Emergency Networking was used, only 22 of more than 100 reports were successfully submitted, Dorner said.

“Nothing is predictable with this,” Dorner said about Emergency Networking. “We don’t know what the end results will look like for January. We know our billing income for January will be significantly lower than normal.”

Police Chief Mark Hummer, who is also the township administrator, said when the mistakes were found, the department immediately switched back to its former provider.

The department has contracted with ESO, formerly known as Emergency Reporting, which was the township’s previous provider.

Dorner said the advantages include the township’s system will be the same as all surrounding departments so the sharing of patient information will be instantaneous.

The down side is it is going to cost more, he said.

Dorner said there was a $13,900 set-up fee for the record management system with a recurring cost of $10,000 every year, but the reliability aspect outweighs the additional cost.

Record management is required for state reporting.

Emergency Networking was a no call/no show for an appointment to look at the system, Dorner said.

Fiscal Officer Buddy Ritson suggested the township look into the legality of getting those lost funds reimbursed.

Dorner also recommended, due to the increase in fuel, supplies and maintenance, that the cost of basic life support services increase $50 to $650; and the department institute an increase of $1.50 for a total of $15.50 for mileage billing.

Dorner also proposed a vehicle crash recovery fee for non-residents who use township services after a motor vehicle crash.

Township taxpayers are footing the bill for crashes – especially on Interstate 280, the Ohio Turnpike, Ohio 420 and Ohio 795 — that do not involve people who live in the township, he said.

Fire Recovery USA is currently used by Perrysburg Township, which has had a collection success of 70%-90%, he said, with a flat rate of 22% of the cost recovered.

Dorner estimated the township could have collected $24,000 in 2022 based on 91 motor vehicle accidents.

“Our costs are dramatically going up,” Hummer said.

Billing also can be done for truck fires at area truck stops, said Trustee Richard Welling.

That can be done if the township wanted to expand its billing practices, Dorner said.

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