For well over a decade, the Maine Ambulance Association has been working to get MaineCare reimbursement rates closer to the actual cost of delivering care. Immediately after the last election, MAA leaders met with Senate President Troy Jackson and key legislators from both parties to discuss this problem and build support for legislation.
MaineCare currently reimburses ambulance services at 65% of the average Medicare rate, which for most ambulance services equals less than half the cost of providing services. The resulting loss has been in the millions of dollars every year.
That will change as of January, 1, 2020, when a new law requires MaineCare reimbursement for ambulance services to be equal to the average Medicare rate.
“Enactment of this bill is a much-needed lifeline for ambulance services and is the result of considerable effort by the MAA in helping our members work effectively with legislators and our heath care colleagues.” said Robert “Butch” Russell, President of the Maine Ambulance Association and the CEO of North East Mobile Health Care.
Several ambulance services have said it would result in increased wages.
“Recruitment and retention is a major challenge for EMS. The ability to hire and keep personnel has been hampered by our ability to be competitive with a dwindling work force. Thanks to this bill, that will be changing.”
The MAA is fortunate to have both an experienced lobbyist and an experienced Executive Director who are known and highly respected by the Legislature. This combination enables us to communicate and work closely with our allied health and public safety colleagues on a variety of issues that arise throughout the session.
Throughout the legislative session, the MAA Legislative Committee held weekly conference calls to discuss bills of interest and plan our involvement. All MAA members are welcome to participate on these calls. Following these conference calls, a Legislative Update was distributed to all members and posted in the Members Area of this website.
The MAA is a regular attendee at Maine EMS meetings such as the Board of EMS, Medical Directions & Practice Board, and the Interfacility Transfer Committee.
At these meetings, the MAA represents all members and provides essential input to state EMS leaders.
The MAA is also traveling throughout the state to conduct training on how to interact with the legislature and the Board of EMS. This training is open to all (members and non members) at no cost. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please send us an email by clicking here.