AUGUSTA—The Maine Senate approved a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to support rural ambulance and neonatal services, in an initial vote on Thursday. LD 915, “An Act To Provide Adequate Reimbursement under MaineCare for Ambulance and Neonatal Transport Services” would increase the reimbursement rate for ambulance services and neonatal transport for critically ill children.
“There is no way around it – access to ambulance services saves lives. Too many communities are on the brink of losing yet another critical health service,” said President Jackson. “This bill ensures that no matter where you live you can count on emergency medical services to be there in a crisis. I’m proud that we were able to secure bipartisan support on this bill.”
In Maine, ambulance services have shut down operations in Ellsworth and West Paris. Other communities are facing similar threats. By increasing the reimbursement rate, LD 915 would stabilize ambulance and neonatal transport services for all Mainers.
“As public servants, we watch over our communities twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. We are ready to respond when a call comes in and don’t ask how it’s going to be paid for, only hoping for a good outcome in the communities we serve,” testified Scott D. Susi, Fire Chief of Caribou Fire and Ambulance, at the public hearing. “Without adequate reimbursement, additional needed staff cannot be sought after or paid for, veteran staff gets fatigued and shifts get longer. Please come to our aid now and fund emergency medical services for the work they do today and will hope to continue for years to come.”
The Legislature approved similar legislation last year but it was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage.
LD 915 received unanimous bipartisan support in the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will now go to the House for additional votes.