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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2020 01:33 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta and Sen. Daniel Laughlin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Preserving Access to Ventilator Care in PA
Caring for patients who require ventilator and tracheostomy services is difficult and expensive. That is why only a limited number of nursing facilities offer this service throughout the Commonwealth. As Medicaid payments for this care have declined significantly over the past ten years, more and more providers have stated their intent to limit or entirely cease providing ventilator care in the future.

Undoubtedly, Pennsylvania is nearing an access to care crisis. If these facilities throughout the state begin to close their doors, families with loved ones requiring access to ventilator and tracheostomy care will be forced to move them into costly hospital beds or drive several hours to find a location accepting patients.

The cost of treating these patients in a hospital is more than four times the cost of treatment in a nursing facility. Besides being more expensive, patients receiving care in a hospital are less likely to successfully be weaned from their ventilators.

Individuals require this level of care for a variety of reasons such as trauma due to an auto accident, fall, stroke, or due to diagnosis of a degenerative disease (i.e. ALS, MS, or Alzheimer’s Disease). It is also worth noting that one in ten patients are under 40 years of age and nearly half are under 65. Ventilator care is not end-of-life care, nor is it always a permanent state. In fact, the specialized expertise of the skilled nursing providers often free patients of their dependence on a ventilator and even help them to return home.

This legislation will dedicate additional Medicaid funding to those facilities already demonstrating a significant commitment to caring for these medically vulnerable Pennsylvanians, while also creating an incentive for other facilities to expand geographic access to this critically important care. The measure will mirror Senate Bill 959 from the previous legislative session.

Please consider cosponsoring this proposal and joining us in support of these medically-fragile Pennsylvanians and those who care for them.

Introduced as SB108