GREAT FALLS — U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) now has a better understanding of challenges facing EMS and ambulance providers. During a visit to Great Falls on March 29, Tester spent some time at Great Falls Emergency Services.
The organization talked to him about the challenge of getting reimbursed from Medicare and the VA.
Currently, additional reimbursements from Medicare on top of the standard reimbursement are set to expire at the end of 2022.
GFES General Manager Justin Grohs said ambulance and EMS providers nationwide need the extra reimbursements to be extended: "Our plan originally was to do some organized cost data collection over a two-year period so that we can go to Medicare and say, 'Here is what proper reimbursement for ambulance service is.' That cost data collection got delayed because of COVID, so it hasn't happened.”
If they’re not extended? “It’ll be a very heavy burden for the entire ambulance industry throughout the United States, as we tend to run on a thin margin. So fair and proper reimbursement from these government payers is crucial,” said Grohs.
The issue of how areas are classified as urban and rural was also discussed.