(WXYZ) — The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services and the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs are calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature to "properly" fund EMS services.
They say EMS services haven't seen a true funding increase in more than 20 years.
“The funding issues that EMS is facing aren’t new, but COVID-19 exposed the major flaws in the system and now it’s time to right this wrong,” said Jack Fisher, MAAS president and executive director of Medic 1 Ambulance in Berrien County, in a press release. “This severe underfunding, combined with additional pandemic-related costs we have incurred, have pushed EMS to the brink. The answer is proper funding and we are asking our state leaders to prioritize EMS in the state budget.”
To properly support EMS in Michigan, MAAS and MAFC are calling for a $10 million increase in state funding to bolster Medicaid reimbursement rates for EMS services. Currently:
- EMS base rates currently only average $178 per life support transport, which doesn’t come close to covering the ambulances’ costs.
- The last rate increase paid by the state occurred in 2000 and EMS payments have been reduced twice since then.
“Michigan’s Life Support agencies are expected to respond to all medical emergencies, but aren’t being adequately reimbursed for their expenses,” said MAFC President Jeff Roberts, Chief of the Wixom Fire Department, in a press release. “Our first responders have been on the front lines saving lives and putting their own health at risk during this pandemic. All we ask in return is the chance for proper funding so that we can continue to deliver high quality service to those in need in our communities.”