St. Mary’s to Implement “Soft” Billing for EMS Transport

The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County last week announced an agreement with the County’s volunteer rescue squads to authorize and execute a centralized emergency medical services ambulance transport services billing system.

EMS transport billing (fee for service) is the means of receiving financial reimbursement for the cost of providing medically necessary ambulance transportation. Medicaid, Medicare, and most other private insurance policies already allow for at least a partial reimbursement for this service. The collaboration between the County and the local rescue squads will allow the approved vendor to bill insurance companies for emergency transport and distribute the fees to the appropriate rescue squads.

Commissioner President Randy Guy clarified that this system will include a “soft” billing provision for residents, which means that patients will be asked  — but not required — to pay costs not covered by insurance, and emphasized that residents should not be fearful of calling 9-1-1 or using emergency medical transport for concerns over an inability to pay.

“I want to make sure we are doing a soft billing. I don’t want people to have to pay anything,” said Commissioner President Guy. “If people can’t afford it, they won’t be billed.” Director of Emergency Services, Steve Walker, confirmed that residents will not be required to pay any costs associated with ambulance transportation.

According to a County press release:

Shawn Davidson, Rescue Squad Association Chief, said. “For nearly 70 years, the volunteer emergency medical service in St. Mary’s County has worked hard to provide quality and timely care to those in need in the community. Over that time, our service has evolved, adapting to the changing needs in health care and community alike. In order to support the next steps in that evolution, we support the advent of EMS billing in St. Mary’s County.

Davidson also reaffirmed that residents should not be afraid to call for emergency help out of fear of getting a bill. “The soft-billing model asks recipients of services to pay what they can after their insurance pays their part. No one will be penalized in any way if they cannot pay for EMS. While billing is not a panacea, it will go a long way toward facilitating the support we need to continue to provide the care our citizens deserve.”

Quick Medic Claims was approved as the vendor for this service and will implement the billing practices based on the Commissioner-approved fees and charges schedule.

Visit the St. Mary’s County website for more information.

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