CALL TO POLITICAL ACTION

Letter of Support Needed for AB 170

Help Support Legislation to Increase Federal

Reimbursement for Medi-Cal Transports

We need CSFA members to send letters of support to their local State Senate representative. We have provided a template support letter for your consideration. Thank you for your assistance in getting this important legislation through the State Senate and then on to the Governor's desk.


BACKGROUND


This year, the Fire Districts Association of California (FDAC) and California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs) are cosponsoring legislation, supported by CSFA, that will increase federal reimbursement to local public agencies that provide ground ambulance transport to Medi-Cal patients. Assembly Bill 1705, authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), was approved by the State Assembly on May 29, 2019.

We need your support now to help ensure passage of this bill by the California State Senate and Governor Newsom. If enacted, we will need your continued support and participation to capture the full benefits of this new funding program for local agencies.

AB 1705 creates a new intergovernmental transfer (IGT) program administered by the California Department of Health Care Services, effective July 1, 2021. Under the program, local agencies will provide the non-federal share for ground ambulance transport to Medi-Cal managed care and fee-for-service patients. Through the IGT program, local agencies will receive additional federal reimbursement, above the Medi-Cal maximum allowance rate. When combined, the total aggregate reimbursements for all public ambulance providers in the state would equal 100% of projected costs. Estimates from the State of California project this program will increase federal reimbursement to local agencies by more than $100 million over existing reimbursement programs, and there will not be “winners and losers” as occurs today with the Quality Assurance Fee (QAF).

In proposing a new IGT program, AB 1705 would eliminate the existing Ground Emergency Medical Transport (GEMT) program, which is based on local agencies submitting certified expenditures for fee for-service patients. AB 1705 would also exempt public agencies from the QAF program, which would have resulted in net revenue loss for some agencies.

It’s important to note that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires these programs to be voluntary for providers. For the program to exist in California, however, the IGTs must equal the non-federal share for all public ambulance providers in California, ensuring that the program is cost-neutral to the State’s General Fund. For this reason, all public transport agencies must financially participate.

FDAC and CalChiefs have worked closely with DHCS on program design and are now advocating strongly for AB 1705. CSFA, FDAC and CalChiefs  believe that the IGT program offers significant benefits for all public ambulance providers in recovering a higher proportion of their costs to serve Medi-Cal patients.

Click here to find and communicate with your Senator

Click here to communicate with Assemblyman Bonta