WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the FY2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Act, which included an amendment introduced by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) – members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – to protect rural veterans’ access to life-saving emergency medical transportation services.
The amendment would prohibit VA from implementing a rule to reduce reimbursement rates for special mode transportation providers, including ground and air ambulances, in FY2024. Under the current timeline, VA’s rule will go into effect in February 2024, which would lead to longer wait times for veterans during emergencies and disrupt the ambulance industry in Kansas and across the country.
“This amendment makes certain that veterans across the nation will continue to receive lifesaving care and transportation without disruption over the next year,” said Sen. Moran. “By stopping this rule from being implemented in February, we will allow more time for VA to do its due diligence in creating reasonable and commonsense parameters for resetting reimbursement rates for these life-saving services.”
“Emergency air and ground transportation services are a lifeline for Montanans when a medical emergency happens,” said Sen. Tester. “Our provision means these services can stay afloat so Montana veterans can continue receiving these lifesaving emergency services when they need it. VA still has to work to do to fix this reimbursement issue, and that’s why I’m continuing to push for our bipartisan VA Emergency Transportation Act.”
“Arkansas veterans rely on lifesaving transportation services when experiencing health care emergencies,” said Sen. Boozman. “Passage of this provision is critical to ensuring these heroes continue to have access to these crucial resources no matter where they live, and the operators are appropriately compensated for the care they deliver.”
The full text of the amendment here.
The amendment was also co-sponsored by Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). It is also supported by Global Medical Response, Air Methods, the American Ambulance Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.