Maine Ambulance Association

Working Together for Maine

Advocacy and Outreach

Legislative Summary

The Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature hit the ground running in January 2020, and ended quickly on March 17 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. They anticipate returning for a special session after the Coronavirus public health emergency has passed.

The 2nd Regular Session differs from the 1st in that bills are supposed to be of an emergency nature or related to fiscal matters. Legislators must also submit their Legislative Requests to the Legislative Council for a vote on what initiatives are approved for submission.

The positive relationship that MAA has with Legislators was evident at numerous hearings and work sessions. Legislators from both parties are genuinely interested in hearing about the challenges we face and take our concerns into consideration when deliberating their actions.

LD 1169 An Act to Provide Ready Access to Defibrillators in Businesses and Pharmacies – This bill will require large businesses and pharmacies to have an AED on premises and accessible by the public. Approved by the Committee, but not acted upon before adjournment – it has been carried over to any special session of the 129th Legislature (2020).

LD 2025 An Act to Authorize Emergency Medical Services Personnel to Provide Treatment Within Their Scope of Practice in a Hospital Setting with the Permission of the Hospital  - This bill as amended clarifies that hospitals may hire EMS personnel to work in the hospital in accordance with the scope of practice established by the hospital and under the direction of a physician. (Enacted as PL 609 effective June 16, 2020)

LD 2042 Resolve, To Allow the Department of Public Safety to Transfer Certain Property to the Lifeflight Foundation – This bill transfers equipment used for provider training that is currently held by DPS (Maine EMS) to the LifeFlight Foundation. The equipment was purchased in accordance with an MOU between DPS and LOM using funds provided by LOM. (Enacted as PL 129 effective June 16, 2020)

LD 2044 An Act To Increase the Death Benefit for Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and Emergency Medical Services Personnel – This bill as amended increases the line of duty death benefit from $50,000 to $100,000 with an annual adjustment for the Consumer Price Index. The amendment also provides this benefit to EMS providers with private services and to Correctional Officers.  (Enacted as PL 658 with an effective date of March 18, 2020)

LD 2105 An Act To Protect Consumers from Surprise Emergency Medical Bills – This LD was amended and enacted as PL 668, and went into effect on March 18, 2020.  EMS is included in the definition of “emergency services”, but insurance payments for ambulance services are treated differently from other emergency services because the Legislature heard that the network rate is so low that most providers are out of network. The law provides the following requirements for EMS that will expire on October 1, 2021, which is after a new law adopted by the next Legislature would take effect:

  • Unless other arrangements have been made (meaning the service has a contract with the carrier), the insurance carriers must now pay directly to the ambulance service, any rate charged by the provider excluding co-pay or deductible responsibilities of the insured patient.
  • In order to get information to help them decide on a new law next year, Maine EMS must convene a stakeholder group that includes the Maine Ambulance Association, the Bureau of Insurance, insurance carriers, and ambulance services to:
  1. Consider current reimbursement rates paid by carriers and other payors for ambulance services for ambulance providers participating in carrier networks and for ambulance providers that are out of network;
  2. Consider the reimbursement rates required under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 24-A, section 4303-C for emergency services rendered by out of network providers and the availability of the dispute resolution process under Title 24-A, section 4303-E to those providers;
  3. Determine the ambulance providers that participate in carrier networks and identify any barriers to participation in those networks; and
  4. Develop recommendations for improving the participation of ambulance services in carrier networks, including proposals to provide assistance with contract negotiation or to amend the reimbursement rates required under law.

The report from Maine EMS is due to the Health Care, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee by February 2021. The Committee may then introduce legislation based upon the report.

The Maine Ambulance Association will be working closely with Maine EMS and the Board of EMS on the stakeholder group.

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The MAA is fortunate to have both an experienced lobbyist and an experienced Executive Director who are known and highly respected by the Legislature. This combination enables us to communicate and work closely with our allied health and public safety colleagues on a variety of issues that arise throughout the session.

The MAA Legislative Committee has a weekly conference call while the Legislature is in session to discuss bills of interest. All MAA members are welcome to participate on these calls. Following these conference calls, an Update was distributed to all members.

System Leadership

The MAA is a regular attendee at Maine EMS meetings such as the Board of EMS, Medical Directions & Practice Board, Rules Committee, and several others. We also attend regional EMS council meetings and are a member of the Maine Fire Chiefs Association.

The MAA represents all members and provides essential input to state EMS leaders.

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The Maine Ambulance Association is a non-profit trade association that works to represent EMS services and providers, and to strengthen Maine’s EMS system. For more information, email:

 

Maine Ambulance Association
P.O. Box 202
Waterville, Maine 04903-0202
(207) 209-3944

 

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