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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 10, 2019 07:06 AM
From: Senator Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Clarifying the Crime of Theft to Ensure it Includes the Taking of Insurance Payments from EMS Agencies
The Senate Resolution 6 Report outlines several funding concerns plaguing EMS agencies around the Commonwealth. Speaking with the local EMS agencies in my district, I have had the opportunity to get a better understanding of what those funding concerns entail. During our discussions, I was informed of one specific issue concerning insurance payments made to EMS agencies.

Often times, when EMS agencies bill a patient’s insurance carrier for services, the insurance carrier will remit the payment for service to the patient in anticipation the payment will then be forwarded to the EMS agency. However, it is becoming increasingly common for patients to keep the insurance payment for themselves instead of providing the payment to the EMS agency.

In efforts to combat this theft, EMS agencies have resorted to filing criminal complaints against patients who are stealing insurance payments. While EMS agencies have experienced some success in collecting restitution through the criminal court process, there has been argument as to whether taking these insurance payments amounts to theft under Pennsylvania law.

This session, I will be introducing legislation that will amend Title 18 (Criminal Offenses) to ensure our EMS agencies can continue to use this remedy for theft of insurance payments in the future.

Data collected by the Department of Health shows that EMS agencies in Pennsylvania responded to over 900,000 calls for service in the first half of 2018 alone. Pennsylvanians can count on EMS agencies responding to us in our time of need. EMS agencies should be able to count on us as members of the General Assembly to respond in their time of need.

Please join me in responding to this call for service for EMS agencies across the Commonwealth and sponsor this important piece of legislation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ardie Griffin in my office at 717-783-7313.