Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure all communities, regardless of population, have access to adequate emergency medical services. The Protecting Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act allows ambulance providers to be properly reimbursed by Medicare for the costs of providing emergency services, while also ensuring that existing EMT services, particularly in more rural locations, remain operational, with sufficient staff and supplies.
Currently, Medicare reimburses ambulance service providers and suppliers across the country at rates below the cost of providing services. This requires add-on payments for urban, rural, and super-rural ambulances. The Protecting Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act would extend those rates for an additional five years. Additionally, the bill would protect ambulances from reimbursement changes tied to census data that misrepresents the need for services in rural regions.
“Whether an automobile accident, a fire, a health crisis, or another catastrophe, paramedics are there in those first critical minutes when courage, skill, and compassion are most needed,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would support these first responders, especially those in rural and underserved communities, by ensuring they are adequately reimbursed by Medicare for their services. As a senator representing one of the most rural states in the country, I will continue to support the brave men and women who work around the clock to protect our communities.”
“We thank Senators Cortez Masto, Collins, Stabenow, and Cassidy for introducing this extremely important legislation. Ambulance Services in Maine and across our Nation are dealing with a worsening crisis caused by funding inadequacies and workforce shortages. Many Services are nearing a breaking point.” Said Robert Russell, President of the Maine Ambulance Association. “Increased funding in this bill will be a lifeline for many of Maine’s Rural communities and will help close the gap between the disparity of reimbursement and cost.”
Click HERE for bill text.