Chairman Bost Leads Bill to Protect Veteran Access to Emergency Transportation
Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), released the following statement after he introduced H.R. 5530, the VA Emergency Transportation Access Act. This legislation comes in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) rule: “Changes in Rates VA Pays for Special Modes of Transportation” (88 Fed. Reg. 10032), which dramatically lowers ground and air ambulance reimbursement rates.
The proposed VA rule modifies reimbursement amounts for ambulance services, reverting back to the outdated Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) schedule, which is based upon 1998 data for air transport, and 2002 data for ground transport. H.R. 5530 would ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) completes several due-diligence requirements before pursuing a change that could reduce reimbursement rates for veterans who use emergency transportation:
“I know firsthand that quick access to emergency transportation services can be the difference between life and death in rural and remote areas of the United States,” said Chairman Bost. “But the Biden administration’s latest proposed rule to slash reimbursements for good companies who provide vitally important ground and air emergency transportation services to veterans in flyover country could dangerously reduce the availability of those services. That doesn’t work for me, which is why I’m leading commonsense legislation to require VA to work with ground and air ambulatory providers to develop a plan that protects and expands rural veterans’ access to emergency services first. The care and services these companies offer to the men and women who have served, and their families, is critical and we’re going to protect it.”
The VA Emergency Transportation Access Act is supported by the following organizations: PVA, VFW, The American Legion, Jewish War Veterans, Global Medical Response, Airbus Helicopters, Inc, Superior Ambulance, American Ambulance Association, Life Flight Network, The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), International Association of Fire Chiefs and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.
To learn more about H.R. 5530, the VA Emergency Transportation Access Act, click here. Full text of the bill can be found HERE.