HARRISBURG – Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) has issued the following statement on House Bill 1351 being sent to the Governor’s desk:
“Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to provide critical support for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), hospitals and nursing homes. Today, the House also overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1351, and the measure has now been sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.
“This is a significant achievement for communities across our commonwealth and a demonstration of divided government coming together to advance commonsense legislation to help all Pennsylvanians. I look forward to the governor swiftly signing this bill into law to ensure timely support for public health needs.”
House Bill 1351 provides the following support for Emergency Medical Services, Hospital Assessments and Nursing Homes.
- EMS Reimbursements
EMS systems throughout the Commonwealth currently face extremely serious financial and workforce challenges. The Code amendments address the needs of the EMS community by increasing reimbursement rates for services and ensuring providers are compensated for all loaded miles. These changes will drive $63.1 million of new revenue and new resources into the EMS network statewide beginning January 1 through the end of the 2023-24 Fiscal Year (or $126.2 million on a full-year basis).
- Hospital Assessments
Every five years we need to reauthorize a state tax that is imposed on hospital services. When Pennsylvania enacts appropriate hospital assessment language, the federal government matches a portion of the revenue, allowing some of the funds collected by the state to be returned to hospitals. Without legislative authorization, the state cannot collect this tax and will not have the required state funds to make payments to hospitals. The first payment to hospitals is typically made in mid-October.
- Nursing Facility Case Mix Rate
For the current fiscal year, Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes are calculated partially based on costs incurred to meet COVID-19 mandates. This has created a circumstance in which approximately 70 nursing homes are losing an average of $19 a day for more than 4,000 patients statewide.
Freezing the rate at the previous year’s level will help reduce volatility and level the playing field so these facilities can continue to meet the needs of vulnerable patients. Every day that these rates persist, more and more nursing facilities risk closure.
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