|Posted:||May 3, 2021 03:51 PM|
|From:||Representative Martin T. Causer|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||EMSOF - COVID 19 Federal Rescue Funding Enhancement Legislation|
|In the very near future, I will be introducing legislation to provide additional funding to augment our Commonwealth’s Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund (EMSOF).
For several years now the EMSOF funding has been inadequate in helping our EMS delivery system, especially for our struggling rural EMS providers.
In keeping with the SR 6 Commission’s purpose, we enacted Act 93 of 2020, which was #14 among the commission’s recommendations. This legislation addressed the issue related to the relative value of the fund when compared to inflation, as all costs continued to rise since the initial implementation of the fines for vehicle code moving violations several decades ago. The effective date of the newly increased fines was April 29, 2021; just four days ago.
The increase in the fines and enhancement of the EMSOF provisions should improve the funding of the system administration. Unfortunately, with the impact of COVID on the number of traffic violations written since the onslaught of the pandemic, we continued a downward spiral.
Currently, the proposed budget allocation for the EMSOF fund is in the single digits when the fund traditionally received more than $10 to $12 million in annual revenue. Regrettably, this level of funding will generate additional and significant cuts to the EMS councils and providers thereby, limiting the ability of the system to meet the needs of the EMS delivery system in this Commonwealth.
There are anticipated increases to the EMSOF fund due to the increase in the moving violation fines, with a potential start to recovery in the summer. However, any potential recovery taking place during the summer or beyond will still provide constraints on the EMS delivery system.
For the reasons stated above, I am proposing to utilize federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to immediately infuse the EMSOF fund with $5.5 million so that the Department of Health’s Bureau of EMS and regional councils can properly and adequately plan their budgetary needs for the next year and do so in a timely fashion.
Please consider joining me in sponsoring this important proposal to assist our struggling EMS providers throughout the Commonwealth.
Introduced as HB1445