The Wisconsin Towns Association and League of Wisconsin Municipalities jointly applaud lawmakers for considering legislation to provide greater financial support for emergency medical services (EMS) in the state and urge both houses to quickly pass the critical measure.
Assembly Bill 874, authored by Representative Amy Loudenbeck and Senator Mary Felzkowski, would enable municipalities to recover a greater portion of the cost of EMS calls from the Medicaid program. Currently, only a portion of each Medicaid call is funded, which results in significant losses. The legislation sets up a process that local EMS systems can use to increase their Medicaid reimbursement. While not a cure-all, the bill is an important step in the right direction and valuable help for a fundamental local government service.
“It’s well-documented that the emergency medical infrastructure in this state is in dire fiscal condition,” said Wisconsin Towns Association Executive Director Mike Koles. “Calls for service are increasing, but revenues aren’t keeping up. That’s a formula for disaster.”
“Nearly 80 percent of the emergency medical services in Wisconsin are owned, operated, or supported by city, village and town governments,” said League of Wisconsin Municipalities Executive Director Jerry Deschane. “As such, they suffer from a system for funding local government that is broken and needs comprehensive reform. AB 874 is a welcome shot in the arm.”
As noted by the authors in their circulation memo: “There isn’t a one size fits all solution to address all of these issues, instead a multifaceted approach that helps communities of all sizes is going to be key in making sure the EMS system as a whole is viable and successful for years to come.” The League and Towns Association urge adoption of AB 874 and look forward to working with legislators on the many and varied future strategies necessary to accomplish a solution that is sustainable for the long term.
The EMS crisis in Wisconsin is a matter of life and death.