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Bradford, PA 16701
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Coudersport, PA 16915
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Kane, PA 16735
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150 Main Capitol
PO Box 202067
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2067
Phone: 717-787-5075
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Lawmakers, EMS Personnel Rally to Save Our Ambulance Services
HARRISBURG – Lawmakers and EMS personnel from across the Commonwealth gathered on the steps of the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg Wednesday, issuing a call to action on legislation that would address some of the financial challenges facing ambulance companies across the state.

“From childhood, we are taught to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. We assume someone will be there to help no matter what,” said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), a former EMT. “But as ambulance companies – and emergency services of all types – struggle with a lack of human and financial resources, we can no longer take it for granted. It’s time we answer the call to save our ambulance services.”

The rally focused on two initiatives that will increase reimbursements to ambulance companies for the services they provide. One, sponsored by Causer, seeks to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advance Life Support (ALS) services for the first time since 2004. Specifically, House Bill 699 would increase the reimbursement rate for BLS from $120 to not less than $180 and for ALS from $200 to not less than $300.

The other initiative would require reimbursement for services rendered by an ambulance service, even if no transport takes place.

“If ambulance companies continue to provide care without being paid, we will all face the consequences,” said House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chairman Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), prime sponsor of House Bill 1013. “That could mean the ambulance companies close their doors and force the remaining companies to cover a larger geographical area – resulting in a longer wait during medically critical times. It could also mean that taxpayers face a far greater financial responsibility.”

In addition to Barrar’s bill regarding payment for treatment without transport, Sen. Don White (R-Armstrong/Butler/Indiana/Westmoreland) has sponsored Senate Bill 1003 to address the issue.

“I first became a strong advocate for Pennsylvania’s volunteer firefighters and EMS crews when I served as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee more than 10 years ago, particularly when we worked to implement the recommendations of the SR 60 Commission,” said White. “Over the ensuing years, the Legislature has considered and passed a number of measures intended to support our first responders. Senate Bill 1003 is another step in that effort. Currently, EMS can be denied payment by insurance companies and by Medicaid for cases of treatment without transport. That’s just not fair. There are costs incurred and man hours spent by these organizations. Senate Bill 1003 would ensure those organizations are properly reimbursed for their services.”

While lawmakers are urging action on these two issues now, they also look forward to completion of the report of the SR6 Commission, which is undertaking a comprehensive review and making recommendations to improve the delivery of emergency services in the Commonwealth.

“We, as lawmakers, need to do all we can to preserve and strengthen our EMS and ensure that our emergency responders are equipped with the necessary tools to do their jobs,” said Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Lawrence), Democrat chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “We must be resolute in our efforts to provide support, including these initiatives. We cannot afford to do otherwise.”

The full press conference will be available for viewing at later today.

Representative Martin T. Causer
67th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler
717.772.9846 /

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