Saturday, December 02, 2023


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Vital Service

            What do Pennsylvania's Jeanette, Kutztown, and East Allen ambulances have in common?  They all closed over the last few months due to a lack of funding.

            The Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance is not immune to the problems of nearly all EMS services in Pennsylvania, especially those that serve rural areas.

            They are currently knocking on the doors, actually meetings, of local officials of the communities they serve–East Greenville, Pennsburg, Red Hill, and Upper Hanover–seeking help.

            I am confident that local government officials will listen to and understand their plight and come to a successful conclusion as they prepare their 2024 budgets.

            Pennsylvania is one of 13 states that deem emergency medical services as an essential service.  It's hard to believe that 37 do not, and I wonder why anyone would deem emergency medical services as not being essential.

            Remember, you're not just getting a ride in an ambulance, you're getting medical services from a qualified Emergency Service Provider before or on the way to the hospital. That time could make a difference between life and death.

            As mentioned back in July, emergency medical services can easily spend $2,000 or more on one ambulance response and get less than half of that from insurance companies or government-funded medical services.  Why? Because that's the maximum those services will pay, no matter what your cost is.  That's the way it is.  Billing a patient for the remainder is often a lesson in futility.

            If Pennsylvania deems emergency medical services an essential service, maybe they should be encouraging our state insurance governance to review the discrepancies.  It is long past time and that needs to be reviewed and updated.

            A few weeks ago the Pennsylvania Senate reconvened to pass a bill that included funding to EMS providers.  The House chose to wait to reconvene until after a special election was over in the western part of the state.  Well, they're scheduled to be back in session on Sept. 26.  Let's hope they can move on this legislation as well.  It won't close the gap much but it would help.

            And, let's hope they can meet and discuss the problems–with other legislators, not lobbyists–caused by the gaps in insurance payment limitations and actual costs for this "Vital Service."






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