At the request of EMS chief Amy Drinkwater, the Thomaston Board of Selectmen agreed Oct. 15 to write off unpaid ambulance bills.

The accumulated amount of $91,760.34 is from services dating from 2010 to 2017 that cannot be collected.

Drinkwater said the reports she received from T.G. Higgins Business Services, who the town has hired for billing services, indicated there have been no write-offs since 2010.

"These write-offs are for insurance that wasn't either processed on time, wasn't paid by patients, or insurance billed the patient and the patient didn't pay," she explained, adding she is currently working on the 2018 billing.

Drinkwater said going forward, she will review the billing monthly and bring any concerns to the board every three months in order to keep things in line.

The one-year contract Thomaston signed with T.G. Higgins indicates bills must be submitted within 14 days of service.

Selectman Lee-Ann Upham moved that the board write off the unpaid bills, with Selectman Bill Hahn seconding the motion.

"I'm not hesitant, just unhappy," he said.

"Agreed," Drinkwater said.

She said some of the billing issues included town errors and some included billing errors.

"If we don't put 'ready to bill' on it, it just sits there," Drinkwater said, adding, "It wasn't clear who was supposed to follow up."

Interim Town Manager Kara George commended Drinkwater on her organization and moving the department forward.

"This will give her a fresh slate," George said.

Drinkwater was also commended on her efforts of keeping the EMS budget on track, as it relates to assistance by Rockland EMS. Chairman Peter Lammert said of the $108,000 budgeted for that purpose to date only $1,000 has been used.

Drinkwater said that has a lot to do with the new method of signing up for shifts, which is done via computer. She said it is broken up a bit, so that someone can pick up a four-hour shift instead of the full 12 hours if desired.

Drinkwater, who is also on the St. George and South Thomaston EMS, was appointed to the part-time position in April after previous EMS Chief Rusty Barnard had resigned last year.