ROGERSVILLE — Citing the need to enhance training and improve equipment, the Hawkins County Rescue Squad announced on Wednesday it will be billing insurance agencies for rescue services beginning Jan. 1.

The HCRS is an all volunteer nonprofit organization that is most often called upon to assist and extricate patients from car crashes, although it also sets up helicopter landing zones and performs technical rescues such as trench collapses and water rescues.

As of last week the HCRS had responded to more than 450 calls in 2020.

The HCRS is sometimes confused with Hawkins County EMS, which is the a separate agency that provides Hawkins County’s ground ambulance transportation using paid employees.

HCRS Lt. Corey Young said on Wednesday that the agency’s Board of Directors approved a contract with Fire Recovery USA on Nov. 9, which will be the company collecting the insurance reimbursements.

“Insurance companies only will be billed for the rescue services provided by Hawkins County Rescue Squad,” Young said. “Individuals will not be required to pay any amounts not covered by their insurance company. Those that do not have insurance will not be billed for any services our agency provides. No individuals will be billed directly for any rescue services they receive.”

KTN: Can you explain

the billing rate?

Young: The billing rate is based on the type of service or services provided. There may be some scenes that are extended due to whatever reason and that is billed at an hourly rate. Fire Recovery USA has standard billing rates for the different services we provide.

KTN: Have you projected

how much revenue you expect to generate in 2021?

Young: At this time there is no projected amount for 2021 due to this is our first year on the program and we do not know what the different insurance companies will pay.

KTN: Are you aware of any other area agencies using

the same program and if they are successful in getting insurance companies to pay?

Young: Yes, there are a few agencies in Hawkins County and several in Sullivan County that have been successful in getting the different insurance companies to pay. I know several volunteer Fire Departments in Sullivan County use the program.

Young noted that the insurance collection program will help offset the cost of operating the HCRS and enhance the quality of services the county receives by improving and maintaining our training and equipment.

“The revenue collected from this program will go to the general fund to be utilized for things like daily operations, equipment, training, vehicle repair and vehicle replacement,” Young said.

Fire Recovery USA serves 1,250 public safety agencies across the United States and will keep a small percent of what is able to be collected as its payment for the services they are providing the agency.

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For more information about the Hawkins County Rescue Squad or the services it provides visit www.hawkinscorescuesquad.org.