Bill H. 863

Support H. 863, Protect Emergency Medical Services

Protect EMS Legislative Briefing on Ambulance Reimbursement

Protect EMS Legislative Briefing on Ambulance Reimbursement

H. 863 prevents big insurers from unilaterally slashing reimbursements for emergency medical services and gives local communities authority to control rates for services.

Threat to Public Safety

Massachusetts fire chiefs are gravely concerned about maintaining safe response times to emergency 911 calls. When big insurers want to slash reimbursement for emergency medical services, response times can increase, fewer ambulances are in service, and your loved one in danger can suffer. In order to increase their profits, insurance companies want to unilaterally reduce reimbursements for emergency 911 ambulance services — That’s wrong!

We cannot stand by while insurance companies try to cut their own costs and undermine public safety. We are trying to prevent a situation where people who call 911 for emergency medical care have to wait longer for that ambulance to arrive.

—Marshfield Fire Chief Kevin Robinson, president of the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association

Costs Shifted to Cities and Towns

City and town budgets are already stretched too thin. Now the insurers want to increase their profits by cutting reimbursements and shifting costs to us. When insurers slash reimbursement rates for emergency 911 services, cities and towns are left having to make up for these cuts or reduce services in the community. The difference comes out of the pockets of local taxpayers and goes into the pockets of the insurance companies.

Big insurance companies should not be deciding rates for E911 services, which differ greatly from town to town. Local officials know the special circumstances of their communities and are better positioned to make that call.

—Kevin Paicos, Town Manager of Foxboro

More Costly Health Care

An increased response time harms patients and increases health care costs when patients don’t receive the emergency care they need in a timely manner. When patients are stabilized and get to us quickly, lives are saved and more costly health care interventions are averted.

A bill to choke on – The Boston Globe
By Kevin Cullen GLOBE COLUMNIST SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

So, basically, the insurance company was saying Melanie Zoltan should have turned to her blue-faced, dying child, wagged a finger, and said, “Now, Daniel, you need to stop choking to death right this instant, because Mommy has to make some phone calls, to find an ambulance service that is covered by our insurance policy.

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Here’s who supports protecting Emergency Medical Services:

  • Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Ambulance Association

Massachusetts has a modern EMS system. We invest in technology, state-of-the-art equipment and qualified 911 personnel. There are more than 720,000 emergency / 911 ambulance transports every year in Massachusetts. The gold standard for response time is 8 minutes or less in 90% of incidents. When insurers slash reimbursements fewer ambulances are on the road, response times increase, and our citizens suffer.