Community Paramedicine Services Act in Pennsylvania

May 2, 2016 by

Across the state of Pennsylvania, various community paramedicine initiatives have been implemented in Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Lancaster. Their successes have generally indicated to legislators that it’s time for a statewide framework to support these programs. Pennsylvania House Representatives Ryan Bizarro and Steve Barrar have each drafted a bill to this effect. Bizarro’s House Bill 1113 would make it more possible for people to receive non-emergent health care services in their homes, while Barrar’s House Bill 339 would extend reimbursement requirements to include community paramedicine services.

Bizarro’s bill would create certification protocols for community paramedics, allowing them to treat more patients and provide follow-up health care services in their homes after a hospital visit. Patients would also be able to receive care for their chronic conditions from the paramedics as needed. Earlier this month, Barrar and Bizarro held a public hearing on this bill, inviting many different organizations to testify about the potential of community paramedicine. Center for Emergency Medicine of Western PennsylvaniaPennsylvania State Nurses Association, Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania, the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania and several other organizations gave feedback. As Barrar says, this input from the community’s organizations is vital to the success of the legislation: “Community paramedicine services have the opportunity to enhance the quality of life for people; we want to make sure the bill is well-crafted so it helps as many people as possible.” 

The bill being reviewed at the hearing would be complemented by a bill drafted by Barrar. House Bill 339 would require insurance reimbursement for non-transported emergency patients. Bizarro’s bill also has some reimbursement stipulations, and with the passage of these two bills, individuals would be eligible to pay only a co-pay after receiving EMS care in their home.

This is a particularly exciting development for NYMIHA; as community paramedicine legislation grows in states around New York, legislators will hopefully see the successes in Pennsylvania and elsewhere and move towards similar bills in our own state. To read more about community paramedicine legislation efforts in Pennsylvania, click here and here. Be sure to join NYMIHA for the latest news in mobile integrated healthcare!

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