Medicaid Reimbursement Increases
Medicaid reimburses ambulance service providers far below the actual cost of providing these services that Wisconsin’s volunteer, career, municipal and private services provide. These unjust reimbursement rates in Wisconsin are contributing to an ever-increasing financial problem for our ambulance services, causing an incredible strain on an already fragile EMS system. The current Medicaid reimbursement rates add to our challenges of both recruitment and retention of EMS personnel. While officials did approve a slight increase in reimbursement rates for some calls – the move actually decreased reimbursement rates for calls requiring more advanced care. At the end of the day, as an industry, we have had no meaningful increases in reimbursement rates in more than a decade.
Gaining Essential Service Status for EMS
WEMSA supports making EMS an essential service. This would require all levels of local government (village, city, and county) to provide a similar publicly funded service as they do with police protection. When you call 911 you are guaranteed that a police officer will respond but there are no guarantees and no requirements that an ambulance will respond to that call. The federal government does not provide any direct funding for EMS, therefore, leaving it up to the state and local governments to dictate how EMS is funded leaving them defined as 'non-essential'.
Wisconsin License Cycle change to coincide with NREMT
In 2017, state officials changed the renewal period for the EMS industry to 3 years. Although it was done in a good faith effort to help EMS providers, this change had unintended consequences and has complicated license renewal schedules. We would like to amend Wisconsin Act 350 to better align the state of Wisconsin’s EMS license renewal cycle to 4 years to align with other national EMS renewal cycles.