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Health

Pritzker Vetoes EMS Funding Bill

Hospital spending is high.
Emergency service providers say they often face long delays for payment under the current system.

Governor JB Pritzker has vetoed a bill that would change the way ambulance companies are paid for non-emergency transfers.

House Bill 684 would have allowed EMS providers to directly bill the Department of Healthcare and Family Services for non-emergency Medicaid trips instead of going through the managed care organizations.

Jackson County Ambulance Service Director Kenton Schafer said current delays in payments create financial difficulties for EMS providers that make it harder to hire and retain staff and keep services running in a timely manner.

"So those roadblocks and excessively high denials for our reimbursements to obtain our claim, will continue and eventually it could lead, as I said, to delays in patient care, delays in transfer, patient transfers from one hospital to the other," he said.

The bill passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly. Lawmakers could override Pritzker's veto with a 3/5 majority vote.