Correction: An earlier version of this story listed St. David's Georgetown Hospital as a participant of the program when they are not.

The Williamson County commissioners set the rate for the Williamson County Health Care Provider Participation Program on April 30.

The rate was set at 1.59%.

Through House Bill 3954 in the 86th Texas Legislature, Williamson County was authorized to create a municipal health care provider participation program and establish a local provider participation fund. In this, all area hospitals within Williamson County agree to make mandatory payments to the county at that rate during fiscal year 2018-19.

The money is then matched by federal money and is used to fund participation in the Uniform Hospital Rate Increase Program, a federal program that provides dollars to offset the uncompensated care costs associated with treating indigent patients. The match money is only receivable through a governing entity, which is why the hospitals come together and work with the county to be in the program.

Participants in the program include Baylor Scott and White Emergency Medical Center Cedar Park, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-Round Rock, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-Taylor, Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, Seton Medical Center Williamson, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Round Rock, Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute and Springstone Rock Springs.

This is the second year county hospitals and Williamson County have participated in this program.

“This allows the hospital to recapture some of their expenditures on uncompensated care,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long said.

In other business:

  • Through a resolution, the court threw its support behind HB 511 brought forth to the 86th Texas Legislature, which would allow the Williamson County Sheriff's Office to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Texas Department of Public Safety and enforce Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration violations. In this, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office would work to reduce commercial motor vehicle accidents through the enforcement of regulations and protect state and county highways from unnecessary damage by securing compliance with state laws regulating weight of commercial vehicles, according to the resolution.

  • Through a resolution, the court opposed HB 3264, a bill brought forth to the 86th Texas Legislature. The bill would require the county to compile and evaluate current data on groundwater levels, aquifer characteristics, and groundwater use and production, as well as assess the effects of that production on groundwater conditions within the county, according to the resolution. County Judge Bill Gravell said he did not support the bill—or any bill—that would dictate how the county regulated its water. He also said the bill would create another taxing entity, which he could not agree to.

“What I am in favor of is local government being in charge of local water,” Gravel said.

  • Judge Laura Barker and the Williamson County DWI/Drug Court received the Judge Ruben G. Reyes Outstanding Specialty Court Team Award from the Texas Association of Specialty Courts.

“This is a hard job for [my team members] mentally, and they deserve this,” Barker said. “I can’t do my job without my team.”

The Williamson County DWI/Drug Court was recognized with the Judge Ruben G. Reyes Outstanding Specialty Court Team Award.[/caption]