HARRISBURG — Legislation that provides higher reimbursement rates for emergency medical services (EMS) providers in Pennsylvania, supported by Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Wyoming), was signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro this week.
“EMS companies in the Northern Tier have been in crisis and are struggling to maintain their life-saving services for our rural communities,” said Pickett. “This change is wonderful news and part of the answer, as it provides for a significant increase in the reimbursement rate, which will help our hard-working and dedicated EMS providers remain in operation.”
According to a press release from Pickett’s office, Act 15 of 2023 ties the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates to federal Medicare rates, and pays whichever amount is higher for services such as basic life support and advanced life support ambulance trips. The new law also ensures EMS agencies are reimbursed by Medicaid for 100% of the miles they travel with a patient on board receiving care or transport, finally removing the current exemption for the first 20 miles traveled.
Medicare currently reimburses at a rate of more than $8 per mile in both urban and rural areas, which includes the 110th Legislative District, and $13 for the first 17 miles in super rural areas. This will result in reimbursement rates of more than double the $4 per mile paid by Medicaid.
The reimbursement increases will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.