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St. Charles Voters Consider ‘Compassionate Billing’ Proposition

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High-Cost-Healthcare

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KMOX) - It is known as “compassionate billing” and the program to help needy St. Charles County residents pay for ambulance service was recently discontinued as funding lagged.

Martin Limpert with the County Ambulance District says Proposition E on Tuesday’s ballot would allow them to restore that service but the need for an 11-cent property tax increase goes beyond that single program.

“You can only spread resources so thin before holes start showing up and unfortunately for us it’s all about response time. In a cardiac situation it’s the heart muscle and if it’s a stroke it’s brain tissues,” Limpert said. “One of the things we had to suspend in 2009, when the economy dropped and healthcare changed, we took a $3.5 million hit and part of that is we had a program called ‘compassionate billing.’

“For instance, if their bill was $800 and their insurance paid $200, we wrote off $600. However, because of the $3.5 million hit and some of the changes in the devaluation of property as well as what’s happened with healthcare reform, we had to suspend that,” Limpert said.

It is anticipated that passage of “Prop E” would generate an estimated $7 million annually while adding about $42 per year onto the average St. Charles County homeowner’s property tax.

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