2018 LEGISLATIVE & POLICY AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS
NYSVARA’s goal is the continued sustainability and evolution of emergency rescue and patient care in the non-profit, volunteer, and combination (departments with paid and volunteer staff) public safety organizations of New York State. The consistent and reliable delivery of these public safety elements is crucial to the welfare of our communities and their residents.
The advocacy of legislation and public policy that supports these organizations and activities is a crucial element of our fulfillment of that goal.
DIRECT INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT –S2527 Seward/A0343 Magnarelli (see Memo)
Require health insurance companies to pay ambulance services directly insteadof sending payment to the patient.
Some insurance companies are demanding discounts from ambulance services. As a consequence for not receiving a discount, some insurance companies then send payments to patients instead of the ambulance service. This delays the ambulance service’s receipt of payment, it increases administrative costs to track and recover the payment, and some payments are never turned over to the ambulance service.
DUAL SIGNATURE PAYMENTS – S2524 Seward/ A908 Pretlow
Require health insurance companies to issue joint signature checks to both patients and ambulance providers.
When insurers pay patients directly for healthcare services, providers have an increasingly difficult time getting paid for their services. In an effort to collect payment from the patient and eliminate fraud, this bill would require that insurers issue joint signature checks to both the patient and the ambulance providers in order for the check to be cashed.
Changes to GML 209b – S363 Little/A7717-A Jones(see Memo)
This bill would result in the elimination of the Medicare benefit that permits EMS agencies that provide ALS services to residents in rural counties to bill Medicare for these services. We strongly OPPOSE any changes that would destroy the most cost effective mechanism for delivering ALS to rural areas and to harm theEMS system as a whole.
Enabling Community Paramedicine (See Attached Legislation)
The fiscal year 2019 Executive Budget – Health and Mental Hygiene, Article VII Legislation, Part S Subpart A entitled “2805-z Community Paramedic Collaborative) includes language that authorizes Community Paramedicine. This proposed legislation addresses the concerns that we have previously advocated. If this Article remains when the Budget is passed, it becomes law. If it is taken out, a standalone bill will be introduced. (We strongly support this legislation)
Municipal Certificate of Need - S1315 Little(see Memo)
We OPPOSE changes to the muni-CON process that would further the inequities between municipal ambulance services and all other typesof ambulance providers.
Payment For Death Benefits Within Ninety Days S1195 Avella /A01451 Cahill
Establishes the payment of certain volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers shall be paid within ninety days of the filing of the application to receive such benefit.
Over the years, there have been a number of instances in which payment of death benefits were delayed. It has been documented that in certain cases beneficiaries have waited over 6 months to receive payment of benefit. This bill would ensure that no family endures the hardship of waiting for their benefits.
Increase VFWBL and VAWBL Benefits S03904-a Griffo/A6367 Magnarelli
Increase volunteer firefighter and volunteer ambulance workers partial disability benefits to a level comparable with those paid for similar disability under Workers’ Compensation Law.
Building Alterations Create Dangerous Situations for Tenants and First Responders S773 Carlucci/A1691 Zebrowski
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of buildings that have been altered in ways that create dangerous situations for both tenants and first responders.
These building alterations can impede egress from the building and prevent a safe evacuation during emergencies. In many instances, these unsafe conditions have placed residents and firefighters at serious risk of injury or death. This bill seeks to enhance penalties that may be imposed for creating these unsafe conditions. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of buildings that have been altered in ways that create dangerous situations for both tenants and first responders. These building alterations can impede egress from the building and prevent a safe evacuation during emergencies. In many instances, these unsafe conditions have placed residents and firefighters at serious risk of injury or death. This bill seeks to enhance penalties that may be imposed for creating these unsafe conditions.
WORKERS COMPENSATION/VAWBL REFORM
Reform the Volunteer Ambulance Workers Benefit Law so as not to punishEMS agencies comprised of both compensated and volunteerpersonnel.
Currently these combination organizations are paying workers compensation premiums twice; once for the volunteer personnel and again for the careerstaff. This creates an added cost for having volunteer personnel, and is detrimental to their continued existence.
Ambulance Subscription Program (see Memo)
New York's non-profit community-based ambulance services provide critical emergency response and medical transport services that rely on philanthropic charitable donations to provide the financial means to operate. When called, non- profit ambulance service providers transport ALL patients, without any regard to or knowledge of a patient's ability to pay. Philanthropy provides the fundamental means of a non-profit ambulance provider to fulfill its mission to the community and covers the transport costs for an individual that does not have any insuranceor has reduced insurance reimbursements from public insurance programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid).
Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Bulletins
- Press Release February 22, 2018
- 2015 NYSVARA Legislative Watch (May 2015)
- 2011 Legislative Day Follow Up (May 2011)
- Direct Payment of Ambulance Bills (May 2011)
- Sweeney Letter - Blue Light Bill (March 2011)
- NYS EMS Coalition Agenda (March 2011)
- Legislative Activities (February 2011)
- NEMT EMS on the Hill Day (January 2011)
- Blue Light Authorization Request (November 2010)
- NFPA Proposed Ambulance Standard (October 2010)
- Agencies at Risk for Losing Federal Tax-exempt Status (September 2010)
- Ambulance Districts (September 2010)
- Important NYS Insurance Department Opinion (July 2010)