(Photo courtesy of Congressman Charles Boustany's Office)

Washington, DC – US Congressman Charles Boustany (R-Southwest Louisiana) introduced on Friday the Medicare Ambulance Access Preservation Act of 2011, which will help critical care providers continue to deliver first responder and health care services.

“As a retired heart surgeon, I understand first-hand the importance of fast, effective ambulance service,” Congressman Boustany said. “This bill will ensure these services are funded and seniors receive needed care quickly.”
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), ambulance providers are paid on average 6 percent below cost in urban areas and rural areas and 17 percent below cost in “super rural” areas to provide ambulance services to Medicare patients. The ambulance fee schedule has chronically underfunded ambulance services and is in need of repair.
Richard Zuschlag, Acadian Ambulance Service CEO and Chairman of the Board in Lafayette, Louisiana, welcomed today’s news. “In this difficult economy with rising operating costs aggravated by the recent spike in  gas prices and more people without healthcare insurance, our industry has always had some kind of annual small increase in Medicare rates,” said Zuschlag. “Recently Congress has started decreasing our Medicare rates and it has been very harmful to our operations. Decreasing Medicare reimbursement combined with the increase in the cost of operations has made it increasingly difficult to maintain the high level of quality service that Acadian Ambulance Service is known for. We are very grateful that Congressman Boustany has taken a lead in introducing a longterm fix and appreciate his continued support and recognition of life saving EMS services.”
The bill will provide five years of relief for a critical component of America’s health care system.