Almost all organizations have the responsibility of maximizing their EMT and fire budgets, because the whole idea is to provide the highest level of service to the community, while consuming the least amount of taxpayer dollars. For that reason, it’s necessary to carefully scrutinize all services provided, and to consider what the cost of those services would be. Here are five ways that you can get the most out of your budget for emergency medical technicians (EMT’s) and fire personnel, as well as the services delivered by both.
Evaluate trends in your budget documents
Especially if you’re new to a particular district, you should thoroughly review previous budget documents and narratives, so as to gain an understanding of how your organization fits into the larger picture. This will also show you how funding for your agency compares to that of other similar agencies throughout the region. Once you know where major expenditures have been allocated in recent years, you’ll have an overview of what the current budget consists of. Then you can look into whether revenues from transports have increased, decreased, or remained steady over recent years.
Determine financial health of your agency
It’s always easier to maximize your budget when you have a good understanding of your agency’s overall financial health. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to closely study the local government’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which will generally include reports that have already been audited, and which pertain to your entire governmental infrastructure. These are generally published about six months after the end of a fiscal year, so that auditors will have had time to complete their independent analyses. Along with all the detailed reports in the CAFR, you’ll also find a good summary of all findings on local financial governance, as well as plans to address those findings. All this will give you a pretty good overview of the financial health of your particular agency.
Learn how your EMS and Fire services are funded
When you have a good understanding of how your EMS and Fire services are actually funded, it will help you to make the most of those funds so as to provide the best possible service to the community. As an example, your agency may have a dedicated funding source which is separate from all other agencies in the government, or you may draw some funds from a general source which is supplied by taxes, fees, and shared revenues. If your primary source of funding is from this general source, then you will always be competing with other agencies for the funding you need. Another source for funding would be the transport fees, treatment fees, and membership fees which are sometimes drawn upon by agencies, while in other cases those funds are not made available to your EMS agency. Knowing exactly how this works in your district will help your planning process.
Special Revenue Funds
Find out whether your agency has any special revenue funds which it has access to. These can be extremely useful, because they cannot usually be accessed by other agencies, and are generally reserved for exclusive usage by an EMS agency. This is especially important because if there are any unspent, extra funds, they will remain in your special revenue fund and cannot be accessed by any other agency.
Know which services you are obliged to pay for
Within your governmental group, your agency will be charged for some services and not for others. For instance, you may be charged for services rendered by I.T., Human Resources, Finance, or the Legal Department. You might also be obliged to pay for services such as payroll, accounting, dispatch services, health insurance, hiring costs, labor negotiations, and vendor payments. It’s very important that you have an understanding of which costs are actually charged to your EMS agency, so that you know what your total costs are, and how much of your budget needs to be allocated to those charges. It’s very much worth your while to conduct a solid review of your city or county budget and its processes, so you can grasp your own agency’s position within the overall governmental structure.
Understand your core revenue streams
Maintaining a focus on accounts receivables, and specifically your insurance and patient billing, is key to success. Ensure that your medical billing company is generating consistent returns by reviewing recovery averages. Review any bad debt adjustments that occur. Identify if bad debt is from poor quality data collection, lack of medical billing follow-up or a result of lack luster patient billing strategies. To get a no-cost assessment of your receivables contact New England Medical Billing and get a second opinion on your outsourced medical billing.