When an ambulance is dispatched to Norwich and the user skips out on the bill, then the Town is apparently on the hook to the Hanover Ambulance Service. Below is my letter to the Selectboard, based in part on comments to my initial blog post, Ambulance Deadbeats Cost Town, inquiring further about the situation.
Kindly treat this email as official correspondence to the Norwich Selectboard.
This is to follow up on topic raised by Selectboard member Linda Cook at the August 29 Board meeting about ambulance users not paying their bills, leaving the Town on the hook to pay. Selectboard member Cook thought these bills were on the rise.
Since the Selectboard did not further discuss the topic at its September 12 meeting, I thought it time to raise a few general questions:
1. Why is the Town obligated to pay when the user does not pay?
2. How much did the Town pay last fiscal year for people who did not pay their ambulance charges? Is the amount rising?
3. What are the reasons for nonpayment? Are most of the debtors from outside of Vermont and ignoring invoices?
4. Are there actions the Town could take to improve collections? Can Norwich learn anything from how other towns in the Upper Valley approach the issue?
5. If the problem unique to Vermont towns along I-91 and I-89, has there been any collective effort to lobby the State for payment?
Thank you in advance for considering these questions.