WASHINGTON CO. SEPARATING WITH AIR MEDICAL PROVIDER; THE HELICOPTER PROGRAM WILL CONTINUE

Washington County is moving in a different direction with its integrated air ambulance program.

Commissioners voted unanimously this (Tuesday) morning to proceed with a 90-day termination agreement with its current airline medical provider, REACH Air Medical Services. The deal, which was reached in November 2019, will end on June 13and.

EMS Director Kevin Deramus said the county believes having a different provider can both increase aircraft uptime and reduce the cost of the county’s airline medical subscription program. with AirMedCare Network.

Deramus said in 2021, the county’s aircraft was available 77% of the time and out of service for 23%, compared to the industry standard of 98% uptime. Commissioner Candice Bullock noted that when the plane is down, voters requiring air transportation must use an alternate provider that does not include Washington County Air Medical Program benefits, which Deramus said. , may result in additional costs for the patient.

According to a statement provided by County Judge John Durrenberger after the meeting, the county’s goal has always been to migrate airline medical billing operations to county revenue collection operations, and it appears the time is right to do it. Completion of this action, according to the release, will eliminate the need for the county to continue to fund the annual subscription program cost of approximately $135,000. The statement further said that because the county does its own agency billing for operations as a government entity, it was able to waive co-payments as it does for EMS patients on the ground.

Full press release from Washington County Judge John Durrenberger:

The Washington County Commissioner’s Court decided to enforce Section 5.1 of the current agreement between REACH Air Medical and Washington County for Integrated Air Ambulance Operations. This section outlines a 90-day termination agreement that either party can choose to use. Washington County believes it is in the best interests of citizens, agencies, and the future direction of programs that we take advantage of this opportunity and make the necessary policy changes to better deliver services to residents of Washington County. Washington.

First and foremost, the Air Medical Program has been largely successful with its primary mission of providing air ambulance rescue operations to our citizens, visitors and neighbors. It will only get better with these upcoming changes. The program is not going anywhere and will remain a functional part of the Washington County Public Safety EMS agency. We believe the redirection is necessary to increase aircraft availability, reduce downtime, and reduce the need for the county’s Air Med Care Network subscription program. Our goal has always been to migrate airline medical billing operations to our revenue collection operations at some point and we believe the time is right. By doing so, we will no longer need to continue funding the annual subscription program cost of approximately $135,000. As we do our own county agency billing for operations, [as] a government entity, we are able to waive these co-pay amounts as we do on EMS patient ground transportation.

Also at today’s meeting, the court:

  • Approval of $6,969,658 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be designated as loss of earnings. County Judge John Durrenberger said before the meeting that counties had the option of claiming ARPA funds as lost revenue if they received less than $10 million. He said this allows the county to use the money for a wider variety of purposes, while adhering to federal guidelines for spending the funds. He said the county intends to focus on using the funding for “long-term infrastructure projects” and “to benefit the taxpayer.”
  • Approval of an extension of a subcontract agreement between the county and Revenue Optimization Solutions, LLC to serve as an EMS consultant for the Texas Ambulance Supplemental Payment Program (TASPP).
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