2020 EMS Day at the Capitol - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Details to be announced soon

  

EMS Day at the Capitol - what's it like?

A review of a previous EMS Day at the Capitol

By Richard Cornelius
Photographs by Howard Paul, ©2017

On February 27 members of the EMSAC and Colorado State Fire Chiefs (CSFC) attended EMS Day at the Capitol and EMSAC’s evening EMS Legislative Reception. At the start of the legislative session, EMSAC had no particular bills to energetically advocate.

But as we all gathered for a morning briefing top priorities and our cooperative efforts for the day were reviewed. The number one priority was to discuss the Gallagher Amendment and the corresponding residential property assessment rate (RAR) “ratchet down” effect of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). A close second priority was continuing to advocate for increased Medicaid payments.

Both EMSAC and CSFC have been paying very close attention to the Gallagher Amendment. The 2017 RAR decrease from 7.96% to 7.2% negatively impacted many Colorado organizations providing emergency medical services (EMS). The most recent prediction for the 2019 RAR is a decrease to 6.11%. This would be devastating. One solution EMSAC and CSFC is supporting is to extend the 7.2% RAR until 2022 so a long-term sustainable fix can be found.

We need the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to increase Medicaid rates for emergency, non-emergency medical and non-medical transportation. The Ground Emergency Medical Transport Supplemental Reimbursement (GEMT) allows public agencies obligated to provide EMS to receive supplemental reimbursement from the Federal Government at a two-to-one ratio. Additional allocation of general funds for rate increases from the JBC can have a significant impact and push Medicaid reimbursements closer to Medicare and our neighboring states.

Throughout the morning EMSAC and CSFC members had an opportunity to interact with their Colorado Senators and Representatives as they went from committee hearings to chamber floors. Although many of these encounters were brief, our main objective was to invite them to the EMS Legislative Reception taking place later in the evening.

An afternoon meeting with House District 23 Representative Chris Kennedy allowed West Metro Fire Rescue Chief and CSFC President Don Lombardi, EMSAC President Scott Sholes, EMSAC Chiefs, Managers and Directors (CMD) Chair Tim Dienst, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) Secretary Bruce Evans, EMSAC Lobbyist Chris Howes and leaders in EMS to discuss other paralleling efforts. A very productive conversation ensued about assignments of benefits and the challenges currently faced. Great discussion around the Gallagher Amendment also took place and EMS leaders were able to share how their organization would be impacted.

The evening EMS Legislative Reception proved to be a huge success with many of the senators and representatives contacted earlier in the day in attendance. Lots of productive conversations took place with a primary focus on the Gallagher Amendment. A dialogue about the cooperative efforts between EMSAC and CSFC and the importance of Senators and Representatives passing enabling legislation in the current legislative session to extend the 7.2% RAR until 2022 was established. Engaged Senators and Representatives also learned about the needed allocation of general funds for Medicaid rate increases from the JBC. Parallel efforts by EMSAC and CSFC continue on the most critical issues we face.