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Published December 16, 2012, 03:51 PM

Bad debt rises in Williston, heart of oil patch

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — The city of Williston is owed more than $360,000 from people who have used its ambulance service but not paid their bills.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — The city of Williston is owed more than $360,000 from people who have used its ambulance service but not paid their bills.

And that's just part of the $434,000 in bad debt that City Auditor John Kautzman presented to city commissioners at a Tuesday meeting.

Kautzman says that bad debt is on the rise throughout the oil patch as it copes with an influx of people looking for work in the job-rich region. Hospitals are hit especially hard by uninsured people failing to pay for their treatments and providing fake addresses.

Fire Chief Alan Hanson tells the Williston Herald that emergency responders try to get correct information but can't deny care.

Kautzman says the city likely will collect 4 cents on the dollar for the ambulance debt.

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