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Patient Information & FAQ

Williamson County Emergency Medical Services (WCEMS) is a professional healthcare organization that is proud to provide emergency medical services to all the communities of Williamson County, Texas. We are a Williamson County department who collaborates with area first responders to provide assistance. We are a separate department from Fire or Police. We provide a high level of care by focusing on out of hospital medical care. We charge a user fee, just like your doctor’s office, minor care clinic or the hospital emergency room.

We hope this answers your frequently asked questions about our services and associated billing.

 
Medical Records and Privacy

For medical records requests and questions involving HIPAA please contact:

EMS Administrative Manager and Privacy Officer
Theresia Carter 

(512)943-1265 or theresiacarter@wilco.org

Notice of Privacy Practices (HIPAA)

Williamson County EMS Release of Patient Information

Williamson County EMS Authorization To Use & Disclose Protected Health Information

 
Medical Records & Privacy FAQ

Can I obtain a copy of my official Medical Record?

Yes, patient request for medical records can be made by contacting our Privacy Officer:
Theresia Carter
PO Box 873
Georgetown, TX 78627
(512)-943-1264

If the records are picked up at our administrative office, a valid state or federally issued photo ID must be presented by the patient and an Authorization to Release Protected Health Information will be completed. We require 24 hours’ notice to pick up records in person during normal business hours.

If the request is fulfilled by mail, the Authorization to release Protected Health Information must be notarized. There is a 10 business day turnaround time from request to release of the medical record.

Does HIPAA require that the Authorization to Release Protected Health Information be notarized?

No, this is not a HIPAA requirement. It is our department policy to require the notarization, which is a legally permissible additional element that may be required as an additional element/requirement of a valid authorization pursuant to 45 CFR 164.508 (b) (1) (ii). 

How does an attorney or record retrieval service obtain a copy of the record?

The request must be made on the firm’s letterhead and accompanied by the proper authorization to release protected health information from the patient or legal representative authorizing Williamson County EMS to disclose the requested information to the law firm or record retrieval service.

Is there a fee for medical records?

We do charge a $25.00 fee for records requested/subpoenaed by an attorney or record retrieval service acting on behalf of an attorney.

There is no charge for records requested directly by the patient or patient representative.

How do I obtain a copy of a record for a deceased patient?

If the patient is deceased a Death Certificate and a Letter Testamentary, Letter of Administration or other document establishing the requester as the Personal Representative must be presented along with the Authorization to Release Protected Health Information signed by the legal personal representative of the deceased.
 
Billing & Compliance

Continuous Quality Improvement

WCEMS System of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is a dynamic tool utilized by WCEMS to assure every patient care report has a clinical review addressing elements of the documentation standards and clinical practice.  Special attention to electronic interfaces between patient care documentation and billing software is a priority to assure compliance with federal billing guidelines.  We work closely with Williamson County Auditors and our third party billing agency to provide internal and external audits.  Review of financial records, billing guidelines and processes helps us identify and maintain continuous quality assurance and improvement to meet federal healthcare compliance.  The billing reimbursement team is comprised of highly experienced staff with backgrounds in Emergency Medical Services, billing, coding, auditing and healthcare regulations.  Select team members hold Certified Ambulance Coder certification (CAC).  The CAC program is the industry’s “Gold Standard of Excellence” in compliance, ethics and integrity in all facets of ambulance billing, coding and healthcare compliance.  Our Williamson County EMS team takes pride in our customer service and billing practices.  We are here to serve you. 

Williamson County EMS
Compliance Officer Beth Jones

512-943-1264 or bjones@wilco.org

 
Billing & Compliance FAQ

What type of EMS ambulance service does Williamson County EMS provide?

WCEMS provides Advanced Life Support (ALS), Basic Life Support (BLS), Inter-facility transports as well as treatment with refusal of transport.  All care is provided by Paramedics trained in basic and advanced life support.

Will I get a bill if I am transported?

Regardless of what type of medical service or transport is provided by WCEMS, you may get a bill.  WCEMS contracts with a third party billing agency – DM Medical Billings.  Every effort is made to seek reimbursement, first, from the patient’s insurance carrier.  Balances not covered by insurance are billed to the patient.  

Why does Williamson County EMS charge for ambulance services?

Ambulance fees reduce the tax burden of emergency medical services for Williamson County residents by shifting a portion of the cost to users of the service or their medical insurance carrier. Currently, these fees help recover a portion of the cost of providing EMS.

Do my County taxes fund the use of ambulance?

As a tax payer in Williamson County, a portion of your tax liability funds the EMS system.  The funding provided by the Commissioner’s Court pays to have the EMS system ready to respond to an estimated 26,000 emergencies per year.  The annual budget provides for 16 ambulances, staffed 24 hours a day by well-trained paramedics under the supervision of a full time EMS / Emergency physician.  By billing those who use the services, the revenue collected helps offset the costs to the Taxpayers. 

Why didn’t the paramedic tell me that I was going to be charged?

The paramedic’s role at an emergency scene is to care for the patient, not negotiate medical billing.

How do I provide my insurance information?

Paramedics will make an attempt to collect and enter your insurance information into your medical record on scene.  This information is then provided directly to our billing office.   Any missed or additional information may be provided by contacting our billing office at (877) 335-8569.

Do patients sign a document acknowledging financial balances?

WCEMS attempts to obtain signatures from patients, if it is possible.  If the patient is not able to sign, because of their condition, the paramedic notes this in the medical report.  The billing office will then reach out to the patient or patient representative for necessary signatures.

How much will my insurance pay?

As a courtesy to the patient, we will file insurance when provided with accurate insurance information within the timely filing limitations set by your plan.  Insurance companies pay claims based on the type of coverage each individual policy provides.  To determine what your insurance may pay, you must read the contract you have with your insurance company.  Medicare and Medicaid will not pay if you are not transported to a hospital.  Medicare and Medicaid will also not pay if you are transported and they do not consider the reason for transport to the hospital to be a life or limb threatening emergency.

Why am I getting a bill when my insurance paid?

WCEMS balance bills for non-Medicare, Tricare, VA, Medicaid and Worker’s Compensation insurers.  WCEMS does not have contracts with private insurance companies; therefore we do not waive the unpaid portion of the bill.  The patient is responsible for any copay, coinsurance and deductible according to their insurance plan.

What assistance can I expect to receive regarding my bill?

DM Medical Billings is available to provide itemized statements, file your insurance and assist you with insurance appeals.  Every effort is made to work with the patient to assist them with any remaining balance.

Do you accept payment plans?

Yes, our billing office will work with you to set up a payment plan that best meets your needs. 

Who do I contact if I have a question about a bill or to make payment for services provided by WCEMS?

Billing Department Office - DM Medical Billings
(877) 335-8569

By mail:
Williamson County EMS
PO Box 868
Voorhees, NJ 08043-1016

Secure online payments may be made at:
http://dmmedicalbillingstexas.com/

What forms of payment do you accept?

Payments can be made by check, money order and most credit cards.  We cannot guarantee processing approval of Flex Cards due to service fees associated with processing payments.

What are my options for using Flex Cards?

We will assist you with your FSA Plan as follows:

  1. We will make an attempt to process payment.  If payment goes through you can work with your FSA Plan directly to pay the associated processing fee.  
  2. If the payment does not go through, you can contact their FSA Plan and attempt to get approval for payment including fees for processing.  After approval we can make an additional attempt to process.
  3. Pay by another method and submit an itemized statement and payment receipt to your FSA Plan for reimbursement directly to you.
  4. You can work with your FSA Plan and submit an itemized statement to them for payment directly to DM Medical Billings.  The patient account will be noted that a payment will be forth coming.

Why is there a fee associated when making a credit card payment?

Williamson County is contracted with Certified Payments to offer patients an additional payment method option.  As a Government entity, Williamson County cannot accept financial responsibility and use tax payer dollars to pay for vendor service fees associated with a patient choosing to pay by credit card.  

Does EMS bill the person that caused the accident or injury if it was not your fault?

No, EMS only bills the person that received the services.

Do you accept Letters of Protection?

Yes, if the protection states our bill will be paid if & when settlement is received.  The account is put on a 6 month hold pending the outcome of the litigation.  Acceptance of a letter of protection is not automatic acceptance of reduced settlement payment. 

What is the average bill for a transport?

The average bill for an ambulance transport is approximately $1,450.  However, many insurance plans cover a significant portion of this cost.  Most of this bill comes from the ambulance transport base rate.  The remainder consists of mileage, procedures and supplies.

Who approves the rates for ambulance service/transports?

Ambulance service/transport rates are approved by Williamson County Commissioner’s Court.
 
Open Records Requests

For open records requests, please contact the Williamson County Attorney's Office:

Attn: Diane Flores
405 MLK St, Box 7
Georgetown, TX 78626
(512) 943-1138
piarequest@wilco.org