FRANKFORT -- Boosting Medicaid reimbursements to Emergency Medical Services providers is the subject of legislation being proposed for the 2020 General Assembly.

Rep. Rob Rothenburger, R-Shelbyville, is sponsoring the measure, under which he says Kentucky could take advantage of funding opportunities through the Federal Supplemental Payment Program. Under that program, EMS providers would self-assess a fee that would then be used to unlock federal dollars at a small administrative cost to the state Medicaid budget.

"We know that many of these local EMS providers are struggling because their reimbursements are not keeping up with the cost of the services they provide," he said. "We also know that these folks provide a service that our state can't afford to lose."

A Medicaid reimbursement increase could be a lifesaving measure in itself for many EMS services, he says, as those agencies search for ways to pay for increased pension payments.

The Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association recently ran a model of data provided by participating agencies. According to the results, Shelby County EMS, for example, could realize an additional $200,000 annually under the supplemental payment program. While the numbers are estimates, increased revenue would be a given under the supplemental payment program.

"The bill is critical for all EMS services, but especially those that have a relatively high Medicaid population. It will be especially beneficial for them in areas where counties and local governments are struggling to keep their ambulance services open and financially sustainable," added Jim Duke, of the Kentucky Ambulance Provider's Association. "We are very grateful for Rep. Rothenburger for championing this bill."

Individual EMS services should contact the Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association for more information on how the proposal might impact their community.

Rothenburger says he is proposing the measure now to ensure that legislators have enough time to become familiar with the proposal before they convene for the 2020 session on Jan. 7.

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