Barrar’s Bill Protecting the Fiscal Health of Volunteer Ambulance Companies Passes the State House
6/11/2015
HARRISBURG – Representing a victory for Pennsylvania’s volunteer ambulance companies and Commonwealth citizens, yesterday the House passed a bill with unanimous support authored by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) to secure the fiscal health of ambulance companies.

“Yesterday was a truly significant day in the Commonwealth for both emergency medical service providers and the citizens they serve,” Barrar said. “Pennsylvania residents will be able to continue to count on our dedicated emergency service providers in their time of need without fear that, because an ambulance company had to close due to financial constraints, an ambulance will arrive too late.”

House Bill 339 requires insurers to reimburse for services provided when an individual receives emergency treatment from an ambulance, but is not transported to the hospital. Individuals who are experiencing an epileptic seizure or diabetic shock are common examples of people who need emergency medical treatment but not transport; after receiving medical care, these conditions typically stabilize.

Complementing House Bill 339, House Bill 347 was authored by Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) and also received bipartisan support to pass in the House yesterday. It also protects the financial interests of the ambulance companies and would provide ambulance companies the choice of receiving payment directly from the health insurance companies when the ambulance company is not a participating member of the insurance company.

Ambulance companies may receive payment directly for services provided if they agree to be part of the insurance carriers network and agree to the insurance networks’ rates. As part of the arrangement, they must also agree not to send bills to patients in an effort to collect the difference between the company’s full price and the amount paid by the insurer. Patients would be responsible only for paying their copayment, coinsurance or deductible as required by their insurance policy.

Currently, if a patient uses an ambulance company that is “out of network” and does not have a contract with the insurer, the insurer sends the reimbursement check directly to the patient. If the ambulance company is to be paid, the patient must pass the check along to the ambulance company rather than cash it or hold onto it.

Many ambulance companies experience as much as $100,000 or more in reimbursements that have not been forwarded to the ambulance company by the holder of the check. Not only are these ambulance companies losing out on reimbursement for services provided, most must pay a third party in an attempt to collect their reimbursement.

The bill also offers ambulance companies the option to decline participation in the out-of-network reimbursement program and continue with the current system. It is important to note that House Bill 347 applies to ambulance companies that provide 911 emergency services.

“I look forward to these bills helping to reimburse the valuable services that our ambulance companies provide,” Barrar said. “We desperately need them to remain viable, but we can’t expect that to be the case if they are not paid for the services they provide.”

The bills now advance to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Stephen E. Barrar
160th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206
aevans@pahousegop.com
SteveBarrar.com / Facebook.com/RepBarrar
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