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Rally at State Capitol: Ambulance Providers want funding to stay

Posted: 5:54 PM, Mar 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-05 22:54:28Z

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — State Street outside of the the New York State Capitol building in Albany was flooded with ambulance providers from across the state Tuesday morning. The reason? To raise awareness against the possibility that critical Medicaid funding be cut from the state's budget, which currently covers up to 30 percent of emergency transport service costs.

“This will actually affect us pretty dramatically, we’re looking at between a $400 and $450,000 loss just on the crossover arrangement alone," said Terence Clark of Twin City Ambulance. “I think you will actually see some private services go out of business as a result of this, if this goes into affect. The margins are very tight.”

New York State Department of Health reported that ambulance services across the state are underpaid $31 million per year.

Ambulance providers say the slash in Medicaid Crossover and Supplemental funding would leave the industry in peril. The rally showcased The United New York Ambulance Network (UNYAN) as well as the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), featuring local emergency response providers including AMR and Twin City Ambulance. Both say the cost cutting would affect response times and quality of care for those they serve.

“A lot of times we’re the first on scene with somebody possibly on the worst day of their life and we need to be able to have the resources and so on to do the proper job," said David Pytlik of AMR in Buffalo. “There’s going to be people that can’t afford the transport they need, that’s one of the reasons that we’re out here for our patients.”

The New York State Division of the Budget released this statement to 7 Eyewitness News:
“The state has been standardizing payment practices across the health care industry including updates to Medicaid billing methodologies. In situations where Medicare pays an appropriate amount, Medicaid should not pay more than it ordinarily would for any other patient. These changes are not anticipated to have any adverse impacts on availability of transport services. The Executive Budget also includes an increase in ambulance reimbursement rates and several new EMS workforce development efforts are underway.”

The budget is due April 1.