Lawmakers and ambulance service providers push for 'direct pay' bill
Ambulance services across the state are hoping Gov. Kathy Hochul signs legislation that helps their bottom line. A “Direct Pay” bill would ensure these companies get paid for their services.
The problem, said Eric Kehoe, executive director of WAVES Ambulance in Camillus, is the insurance company sends reimbursement checks for any out-of-network calls, to patients. Those checks often don’t get turned over to the ambulance service.
"They don't understand what the check is for," Kehoe said. "They cash it, they spend the money, the money's gone. Other people will throw the check out. Then there are, unfortunately, some people that cash it nefariously. They understand 'If I ever need money, I'll call the ambulance. I'll get a check,' and they'll do it repetitively."
Keho figures WAVES has lost an average of $150,000 a year because of this billing model. Mike Adario, of AMR, said these funds are more important now than ever.
‘"Ambulance services across the state and across the country are closing at a record rate mainly due to lack of sustainability, lack of finances," Adario said.
The Assembly and Senate both unanimously approved the “Direct Pay” bill which would change the billing model. Syracuse area Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli hopes pressure on Gov. Hochul to sign it, works.
"I really hope so, that's all I can say," Magnarelli said. "It's a good bill, a reasonable bill, and without it, a lot of these organizations are going to go out of business."