Pennsylvania House passes bill to improve EMS reimbursement rates

Ambulance services in Pennsylvania often run at a loss, where transporting patients costs more than the reimbursement fee they receive from payers like Medicaid.

A bill working its way through the General Assembly would abolish a minimum that requires an ambulance to travel 20 miles before providers get reimbursed for their services.

As The Center Square previously reported, House Bill 479 would remove the mileage minimum entirely, while a similar bill in the Senate would reimburse ambulance services after a 5-mile minimum distance.

“We all know our emergency responders are facing significant challenges,” Rep. Lisa Borowski, D-Newtown Square, said on the House floor Monday. “We need to be seeking immediate solutions. HB479 eliminates the mileage requirement and will ensure our EMS are properly imbursed for care provided. This is a simple fix.”

The bill passed unanimously, 203-0, and will move on to the Senate.

“Ambulance services in our communities are underfunded and struggling to recruit and retain qualified and skilled staff to provide timely responses to medical emergencies,” Rep. Lisa Borowski, D-Newtown Square, wrote in a legislative memo. “By supplying additional funding, we can give these essential providers the flexibility they need to respond to the ever-changing and unpredictable healthcare environment impacting patient access to needed health care services.”

The per-mile reimbursement would remain at a minimum of $4. The change would take effect in January 2025.

EMS officials have called the current system “broken” and warned of staffing shortages caused by burnout. They’ve suggested increasing mileage reimbursements, as well as creating a statewide scheduling fee for insurers to improve reimbursement rates for ambulance services.


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