04.17.15

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES CRITICAL LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE VITAL FUNDING FOR UPSTATE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES IN RURAL AREAS HAS CLEARED CONGRESS – SCHUMER INTRODUCED BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO AVOID CUTS IN FUNDING, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN DISASTROUS FOR QUALITY OF CARE ACROSS THE STATE

Schumer Led Legislation to Extend Key Support Programs for Rural Emergency Medical Services Providers for New Yorkers – Rural EMS Agencies Get an Extension Through 2018 With Passage of Bipartisan Deal

 

Without This Extension, $19.8 Million in Funding for over 450 Ambulance Service Providers That Treat High Number of Medicare Patients Across NY State Would be Lost

 

Schumer: Upstate Ambulance Providers Can Rest Easy That Critical Medicare Funding Will Last until 2018

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that critical legislation to extend a Medicare payment program to that provides funding to ambulance service providers across Upstate New York through 2018 has cleared Congress. If these cuts had occurred, these providers would have lost about $19.8 million, which would have hampered ambulance providers’ ability to provide reliable, life-saving services and to invest in the newest medical equipment and procedures for their vehicles. Schumer noted that well-equipped, well-funded ambulance services and medics who provide life-saving care to patients are more important now than ever, as the population ages and the number of Medicare beneficiaries increase. From 2000 to 2010, the 60-plus population in New York increased by 15 percent. Because approximately 40 percent of patients transported by ambulances are covered by Medicare, expiring Medicare payments are critical to ambulance providers

“Letting this funding lapse would have meant a loss of $19.8 million for New York and put our first responders and ambulance providers in the lurch, and could have effectively pulled the plug on a lifeline for rural communities all over New York. Extending these programs as long as we can was a no-brainer, and that is why I pushed my colleagues in Congress to pass this extension,” said Senator Schumer. Thanks to this legislation, these over 450 ambulance providers can continue to provide high-quality services through 2017. The inclusion of this provision to extend a critical federal program is critical to the financial stability of ambulance service providers across the state is great news for New Yorkers. These EMS providers serve a vital public need, employ residents across the state, and they deserve our support in their continuous efforts to provide the highest level of care and safety for residents.”

“The ambulance industry is very fortunate to have someone like Senator Schumer focused on maintaining the emergency medical services public safety net.  Over the last two decades the industry has made tremendous strides in the advancement of technologies that have been proven to save lives and reduce the long-term impact of serious health conditions such as strokes and certain types of heart attacks.  But these advances come at a cost to EMS providers.   The General Accounting Office produced a study several years ago that highlighted the gap in reimbursement to ambulance services across the United States.  Senator Schumer’s efforts to work toward the continued Medicare bonus payments to help offset this gap allow organizations like Rural/Metro and hundreds of other ambulance services across New York to continue bringing life-saving technologies to the citizens of New York.  We are grateful for his ongoing support of our industry,” said Mike Addario, Vice President of Operations, Rural Metro.

“On behalf of all  ambulance service providers across New York State we are extremely grateful for the work and effort Senator Schumer and his office have put forth to extend these additional reimbursements, which allow ambulance services to continue to provide high-quality, pre-hospital care utilizing the latest technological advancements.  The extension will result in $19.8 million in additional Medicare payments to ambulance service providers in New York,” said James P McPartlon III, Mohawk Ambulance.

If the relief were to expire, EMS providers would be faced with difficult decisions regarding their ability to continue to provide high-quality emergency and non-emergency ambulance services to the communities they serve. The loss of the funding could lead to reductions in staffing levels, the inability to properly stock ambulances with vital life-saving equipment and drugs and possibly removing an ambulance and crew from service. For rural EMS providers, where ambulances often have to travel significantly further distances to bring patients to emergency rooms, thus greatly increasing the cost of service, Medicare reimbursements lag even further behind. In extremely rural areas, it could lead to even longer response times as towns may need to be served by a nearby EMS provider covering multiple communities.

 

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