House bill would recover some Medicaid costs

Alaska State Capitol Building
Alaska State Capitol Building

Legislation that would allow providers of emergency medical transportation services in Alaska to recover supplemental reimbursements from Medicaid has passed the House unanimously.

House Bill 176, sponsored by Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, now goes to the Senate for consideration.

EMS providers currently receive about 30 percent repayment for their total cost of transporting Medicaid-eligible patients.

The average claim submitted in fiscal 2017, for which average reimbursement was $300 for each ground-based EMS transport.

He ongoing recession, the loss of tax revenue, and the escalating opioid crisis are forcing many municipalities that provide ambulance and other EMS services to lay off workers and put off needed equipment upgrades,” Wool said. “Passage of this bill will bring in upwards of $11 million per year to help reimburse these medical transport providers.”

“Many ambulance services in Alaska are run by local municipalities, which means these unreimbursed costs eventually get passed along to local taxpayers. HB 176 should clove over half of this gap, providing federal funds to cover those costs, thus saving taxpayers money, enhancing public safety and improving emergency response in our communities,” he said.