Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely issued the following statement today the weekly meeting with the City Council and department directors:
"I have not been pleased by the difficulties we have had over the past few months regarding billing for ambulance services provided by the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department.
"However, I am pleased by the hard work that has been applied to this problem over the past two weeks. As a result of this hard work, I believe we have resolved many of the difficulties that were delaying billing for ambulance services.
"We will continue to assign the highest priority to completely resolving this issue as soon as possible. In addition, as I announced last week, Russ Bayer will be retained as a consultant to provide an independent review of the Fire Departmentís ambulance service, including a specific review of the Departmentís business plan and billing process.
"We have taken strong but deliberative action in response to this problem. There is no need for overreaction. There is a need for action, and action has been taken.
"It is important to point out that all the information for billing was already there, except for the hospital patient identification number. Information Services Manager Doug Thomas has done a good job of improving the way the Fire Department and hospital files are being matched. Again, the information was all there, but matching it had been the main issue. That is now resolved.
"I want to thank the administrative team I assigned to help the Fire Department deal with the data and billing problems they were having with their billing contractor. Rather than continue the argument of who promised to do what in the billing process, the city decided to do it and get it done.
"In addition to Doug, I commend Finance Director Don Herz, Budget Officer Steve Hubka and my Chief of Staff Mark Bowen for their hard work and extra effort which, in cooperation with the Fire Department and its billing contractor, has legally resolved this issue."