Borowski introduces bill to provide new funding source for EMS

HB479 would revise Medicaid reimbursement for ambulance mileage

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Lisa Borowski announced today she has introduced a bill that would support emergency medical service providers by providing Medicaid reimbursement for every mile a patient is transported by ambulance.

The bill, also sponsored by Rep. Greg Scott, D-Montgomery, would amend the Fiscal Code to eliminate the provision that limits the per-mile Medicaid reimbursement of at least $4 to each mile beyond 20 miles of patient transportation.

“The ongoing hospital closures around the commonwealth are limiting Pennsylvanians’ access to care in many ways – one of them is by adding to the intense strain on our EMS system,” Borowski said. “This is a commonsense move to help deliver much-needed funding to these essential providers, giving them more flexibility to provide timely responses to medical emergencies in this unpredictable healthcare environment.”

“Building this funding mechanism between Medicaid and our EMS providers would provide money for the critical work being performed,” Scott said. “We cannot continue to burden patients with thousands of dollars in medical debt any more than we can leave EMS providers without payment for lifesaving work. And as an EMT myself, I’m especially proud to partner with Rep. Borowski on this legislation.”

Borowski said she has been visiting her district’s EMS providers to discuss the challenges they face. Their main concern is underfunding, which leads to difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified staff.

“EMS continues to face unprecedented challenges, and ensuring we are able to maximize revenue is critical to our ability to continue serving the community,” said Sean Miller, president of Rocky Run Fire Company. “Rocky Run is in a particularly precarious position as we expand our services once again, and eliminating the mileage requirement would help make the gap in revenue vs. expenses smaller for sure.”

“The Emergency Medical Services system is under significant strain. While this legislation does not solve the overall funding problem for EMS in the state of Pennsylvania, it is one component that addresses an issue that has been wrong with the system for an extended period of time for agencies like Radnor Fire Company,” said Brian Zimmerman, executive director of Radnor Fire Company. “While we have been fortunate with local municipal funding, this funding only goes so far. Local municipalities cannot fix this funding issue on their own. Representative Borowski shows how state legislators can make a simple but meaningful impact on high-quality EMS.”