Horry County recovers millions after changing EMS bill collection

Horry County Fire Rescue releases 2013 call number (Image 1)

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County officials have recovered millions of dollars more than they expected, after changing how they collect unpaid EMS bills.

Previously, Horry County employees collected unpaid bills for emergency medical services. However, two years ago, the county hired an outside collection agency to do the job. Since then, the county has recovered $3 million more than it anticipated.

In an Administration Committee meeting on Tuesday, members also discussed a way to recover unpaid balances more quickly. Currently, unpaid balances go to set-off debt first, and then to a collection agency. However, committee members agreed to switch that order and send the unpaid balances go to a collection agency first.

Horry County spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said sending unpaid balances to set-off debt collection first takes longer for the county to receive.  “We’re looking at doing the collection agency, which would be a faster track to get those unpaid balances paid,” she said.

This new payment collection system would apply to South Carolina residents who lie outside of Horry County. Bourcier said the recovered money goes to the county’s general fund and supports county operations. “We know we’re not going to collect a 100% of anything, including property taxes. But the better collection we have, the more money we have to go into the county budget,” she said.

Next, the proposed changes will go before Horry County Council for final approval.