Guthrie to clarify non-emergency EMS Medicaid transport reimbursement

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie (KY-02) has told the Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association (KAPA) that he will amend H.R. 1394, the Medicaid Nonemergency Transportation Bill that would allow states to eliminate coverage for non-emergency medical transportation under their respective Medicaid programs. 

KAPA's Congressional Delegation spent this week in the nation's capitol meeting with all of Kentucky's Congressmen or their staffs. The delegation explained that this bill, as written, would allow states to exclude coverage for medically necessary non-emergency ambulance services. "Nonemergency ambulance services as defined are those medical transports not dispatched through a 9-1-1 or similar response system, but which can still be medically necessary," said KAPA president Thomas Adams. 

"Not covering non-emergency ambulance services would put the lives of Medicaid patients at risk," said KAPA vice-president Joe Prewitt.

"For example, an interfacility transport of a stabilized cardiac arrest patient from a hospital to another hospital with a specialized cardiac care unit would be a non-emergency ambulance transport under this definition," Adams explained. "In these cases, transporting a patient by means other than an ambulance could put the health of the patient in jeopardy."

The delegation asked Guthrie to formally clarify that non-emergency, medically necessary ambulance services cannot be waived by the states, and Guthrie told the delegation he will work on making that clarification. Guthrie is a co-sponsor of the bill.

KAPA has been regularly sending a delegation to Washington, D.C., to meet with Kentucky's Congressmen since about 2003. This year the delegation also met with Representatives James Comer (KY-01), Andy Barr (KY-06), Thomas Massie (KY-04), and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The delegation also met with Senator Mitch McConnell's Legislative Assistant Natalie McIntyre, Representative Harold Rogers' Legislative Assistant Alex Pinson, Representative Thomas Massie's Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff Seana Cranston, and Representative John Yarmuth's Legislative Director Zack Marshall.

The delegation also discussed permanent Medicare reform for EMS, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act that would allow EMS to continue administering controlled substances by standing order, EMS data collection, and safety concerns over increasing the size and weight of large trucks on our roadways. The standing orders clarification has already passed the U.S. House and is currently in the U.S. Senate.

Members of KAPA's Congressional Delegation this year included KAPA president Thomas Adams, vice-president Joe Prewitt, public affairs consultant John Hultgren, and board members Joe Bradshaw, Mark Harrison, Phil Dietz, and Troy Walker. KBEMS executive director Michael Poynter also joined the delegation.