Ambulance providers from across the State rallied at the State Capitol to protest cuts Governor Cuomo is proposing in the State Budget. The proposed cuts would eliminate Medicaid payments for Medicare part B coinsurance for ambulance services, and cut supplemental Medicaid payments for ambulance providers. They’re cuts MOVAC Ambulance President Greg Eisenhut says will eventually hit us all.
"As you get older, life says you’re going to spend more of your income on medical care. That’s just an expectation. The way it is."
Rural areas will likely get hit the hardest. They have less patients to support their business, and a higher percentage of low-income families that often refuse to pay for services.
"Ten percent of our patients either default on part or all of their bill. That’s a quarter of a million dollars you’re looking at on the table from people we’ve transported over the past year and a half that refuse to pay us."
Eisenhut tells us the employees aren’t exactly getting rich either. He tells us most of the EMT’s get paid less than an employee working at McDonald’s, and ambulance providers are facing dire financial times.
"We couldn’t begin to afford to pay for their health insurance to work here given the reimbursements that we have. What our board has to do is try to make sure the lights are on, the vehicles have gas in them, that we have vehicles, and that they’ve got medicine."
If these cuts to the State Budget are approved, struggling ambulance services like MOVAC could be forced out of business, and that would mean longer wait times to get to a hospital.