A New Ladder Truck for the Fleet

A new ladder truck for the fleet

With increased reimbursement, the San Angelo Fire Department purchased a new fire truck ahead of schedule.

Chief Patrick Brody, San Angelo Fire Department

"EMERGICON presented a healthy balance between human touch and automated processes that resulted in a compliant, reliable, and fast billing system."

Patrick Brody

Fire Chief, San Angelo Fire Department

Largest in the Concho Valley

The Concho Valley is a rural, sparsely populated area in Texas. San Angelo holds the title of the largest city in the region, housing over 60 percent of the population. The 100,000+ residents drive a high demand for first responders’ watch, specifically for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

To promptly respond to the requests of Tom Green County’s citizens, the San Angelo Fire Department (SAFD) employs over 160 firefighters and EMS personnel. Operating out of eight fire stations, SAFD excels in delivering Fire Suppression, Fire Training, Emergency Management, and Emergency Medical Services. Due to its population, San Angelo can average an impressive number of 15,000 EMS calls in a year.

Until 2019, the San Angelo Fire Department had to duplicate all its documentation – electronically and on paper – as the previous billing company required. Reports had to be mailed twice a week. This request demanded a substantial investment in time and money, causing SAFD to designate a full-time employee to handle the posting processes. With the number of EMS runs increasing by the day, the agency leaders decided it was time for a change. And that’s how Fire Chief Patrick Brody learned about EMERGICON. “I felt that EMERGICON was the most transparent and reliable company in our RFP process. Reading the proposal, not only was the information clear, but it also taught me new aspects of the billing process.”

Coming from a collections background, Chief Brody knew well his requirements for the new billing partner – and a critical requirement was a Texas-based company. “Texas laws are different than Minnesota, Vermont, or Kentucky. So, that was something we considered. Also, EMERGICON presented a healthy balance between human touch and automated processes that resulted in a compliant, reliable, and fast billing system.

Partnership that drives results

Within the first year of working with EMERGICON, the San Angelo Fire Department accomplished several goals due to an increase in revenue. A major one was the purchase of a new fire truck. To buy new vehicles, the department receives a certain amount of capital per year from the city’s general fund. Once the budget is enough – which usually takes three years – they purchase a new fire truck and remove an old one from service.

Considering that a new ladder truck costs an average of 1.5 million dollars, there was only one realistic way to allocate more money for this purpose: increasing revenue. “An unintended benefit of that first year working with EMERGICON was dramatically exceeding our forecasted revenue that we were able to purchase a ladder truck ahead of schedule.”

According to Chief Brody, SAFD’s budget history shows a spike in revenue between 2019 and 2020 – that continued to grow afterward. The year-end collections increase reveals a revenue of 1.5 million dollars superior to six years ago. “Some of the increase in revenue can be attributed to call volume. But a huge portion of that goes into a different billing company. It’s obvious to me that after we transitioned to EMERGICON, our revenues went up dramatically.”

Beyond reimbursement

San Angelo Fire Department

As great as an increase in cash collection is, Chief Brody also says that SAFD “cashed in” benefits beyond budget and revenue. The reassignment of team members for scarce areas was one of these advantages. “We had a captain whose majority of time was spent managing billing demands for the previous billing company. Once we started to work with EMERGICON, these demands were significantly reduced. So, this captain was reassigned to our Training Academy, filling the gap for staffing there.”

Customer service, education opportunities, and the report system were some of the other highlighted benefits. “The reports that EMERGICON provides are extremely beneficial. When forecasting revenues for the next year, I usually had to work with limited data. EMERGICON gave me a solution for that. I can access an intuitive, user-friendly report system to see data about our calls, average cash per transport, and detect trends. All of this has made my forecasting easier and more reliable to predict.”

“Whenever I’m going to City Council to request an increase in fees, EMERGICON provides me with all the information I need about industry standards and recommends a new fee schedule based on our payer mix. For most billing companies, you send your calls, they send out the bills, and you collect what gets collected. What’s exceptional about EMERGICON is the personal touch.

Photos credit: City of San Angelo, Texas

By The Numbers

Client since 2019

$1.5 million more revenue

Fire truck purchased years ahead of schedule

1 SAFD FTE reallocated from billing to training

San Angelo Fire Department Badge

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