PRESS RELEASE

 

PRESS RELEASE                              

Contact: Henry Lewis, President                                                                                         803-351-4842/ henry@scemsassociation.com

 

(Columbia, SC)  South Carolina EMS Association Legislative Day

On January 30th, 2019, South Carolina Emergency Medical Service professionals from throughout the state came together at the State House for their annual Legislative Day.

South Carolina EMS as a whole responds to over 1.3 million calls each year. These

calls for service are answered by over 10,000 certified EMTs and Paramedics across our state comprised of over 260 licensed agencies that incorporate; 911, hospital based, air ambulance, fire based non-transporting agencies, and private ambulance providers.

 

Emergency Medical Services experience increased costs to deliver this service along with an

increase in call volume each year due to population growth with an aging citizenry, increased costs associated with regulatory compliance, costs of employee benefits and operational expenses.

 

The South Carolina EMS Association (SCEMSA) advocates for improvements in the EMS industry through research, data analysis, and education. The Legislative Day provided an opportunity for EMS workers to sit down with members from the House and Senate that represent their respective counties and put a face with a name.

 

Items discussed in their meetings were House and Senate Bills related to the following:

  • Sustainable funding for EMS operations within the state
  • Continued and increased funding for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder training and treatment for Public Safety Professionals
  • Direct Payment/Reimbursement for services rendered by EMS Agencies
  • Criminal charge severity for the physical assault of a Healthcare Worker

 

The breakfast meeting was held in the Solomon Blatt building on the State House grounds and was attended by well over 250 EMS Professionals and Legislative Members and Staff. Lt. Governor Pamela Evette was in attendance as well.

The volunteer Administrative Staff of the SC EMS Association was able to spend a moment with Governor McMaster in the State House while other attendees were recognized in the House of Representatives.###

Congress Approves Medicare Ambulance Extenders

http://www.naemt.org/WhatsNewALLNEWS/2018/02/09/congress-approves-medicare-ambulance-extenders

 

Dear Members,

 

I am delighted to announce that our U.S. Congress has passed legislation that includes most of the provisions of H.R. 3729 — the Comprehensive Operations, Sustainability, and Transport Act of 2017 to extend the Medicare add-ons of 2% urban, 3% rural, and the 22.6% super rural bonus payments for five additional years, retroactive to January 1, 2018.

 

This legislation will enable our industry to continue to deliver the essential, life-saving services that we provide 24/7 to our patients and communities. It also requires our industry to begin the process of cost reporting in 2019. Reporting the actual costs that we incur in serving our patients and communities, including day-to-day patient care, as well as the cost of preparedness in the event of a disaster, will provide the data that is needed for future modifications to the ambulance fee schedule. NAEMT will partner with other stakeholders to work with HHS to help create an appropriate methodology and system for collecting this cost data.

 

We deeply appreciate the commitment, leadership, and perseverance of the House Ways and Means Committee and House sponsors, Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), for shepherding this bill through the legislative process, and to the Senate leadership for working out a compromise to get this legislation passed.

 

The success of our efforts was highly dependent on the tremendous collaboration we received from the International Association of Fire Chiefs, The International Association of Firefighters, and the National Volunteer Fire Council. Together, with one voice, we advocated for this bill for many months. We are very grateful to these partners for their tireless efforts to get this legislation passed. We also thank the American Ambulance Association for their work over many years to ensure that the Medicare add-on payments continued.

 

We are all grateful for the outstanding efforts of those members who provided the grassroots voice for our cause. Each of you contributed to this success. Please join me in expressing a big THANK YOU to our NAEMT Advocacy Committee, NAEMT Advocacy Coordinators and all members who actively supported passage of this bill through emails, letters, phone calls and personal meetings with their congressional leaders and staff. All of us working together was truly the key to this victory.

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

Sincerely,

 

Dennis Rowe, EMT-P

President, NAEMT

ATTENTION ALL EMS PROVIDERS

ATTENTION ALL EMS PROVIDERS:

 

As some of you may have heard the Medicare add-on payments of 2 percent urban, 3 percent rural, and the 22 percent super rural expired as of December 31st 2017.

 

There is still a chance that these additional payments can be reinstated, but your help is needed.  Please contact your federal legislators and let them know the importance of these payments. Congress needs to hear our support for this vital funding. Please take time to do so using the link(s) below. This process should only take a few minutes and is desperately needed.

 

For background regarding the history of the add-on’s:

To ensure access to ambulances for patients in rural areas, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act increased payments by 2 percent for rural ground ambulance services and also included a super rural payment for counties in the lowest 25 percent in population density. Congress, in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, raised this adjustment to 3 percent for rural ambulance providers. Congress appropriately decided that these additional rural payments were necessary and important because rural ambulance providers incur higher per-trip costs because of longer travel distances and fewer transports of patients. These provisions ensure that ambulance services are more appropriately reimbursed and that beneficiaries in rural and super rural areas will have access to emergency transport services.

 

Here are two helpful links on the matter from the AAA and NAEMT that include more background on the situation and some easy ways to reach out to your legislator:

 

https://ambulance.org/2017/12/27/member-advisory-medicare-increases-will-expire-now-need-know/

 

http://www.naemt.org/advocacy/online-legislative-service#/