EMS Medicaid Rate Reform included in State Budget for 2019
 
June 21, 2018
 

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s ambulance companies would see a much-needed increase in their Medicaid reimbursement rates under the 2018-19 state budget bill approved by the House on Wednesday, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint).

“This is outstanding news for ambulance companies across the state, and especially for those that serve rural areas like ours that are really struggling financially,” Causer said. “In fact, it’s great news for everyone since we all rely on our emergency responders to answer the call when we need them.

“While we still need to get this bill to the governor’s desk, I am optimistic that our emergency response organizations are finally going to get some much-needed and much-deserved financial relief,” he added.

Earlier this month, Causer joined with lawmakers and emergency responders from across the state at a Capitol rally calling for action on efforts to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, as well as provide reimbursement for treatment provided by emergency responders, even if transport does not take place.

Under House Bill 2121, an additional $4 million in state funds and approximately $8 million in federal matching funds would be used support Medicaid reimbursement increases outlined in Causer’s House Bill 699. Specifically, reimbursements for Advanced Life Support (ALS) services would be increased from $200 to not less than $300, and Basic Life Support (BLS) services would be increased from $120 to $180. The rate increase would be effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Pending approval of the Senate and governor, this would be the first increase in Medicaid reimbursement for the state’s ambulance companies since 2004. Current rates are more than 200 percent below reimbursements provided by Medicare and commercial insurance, which has made it increasingly difficult for ambulance companies across the state to keep operating.

Causer noted lawmakers are continuing to work on legislation to require reimbursement for treatment provided regardless of whether transport takes place.

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