Fairfield EMS is facing funding cuts that could impact services the ambulance could provide, according to Director Billy Perez.

“We are facing drastic Medicaid Cuts up to 36 percent, effective October 1, 2017 and Medicare reimbursement decrease of 22.6% effective January 1, 2018,” says Perez.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has proposed huge cuts in Medicaid reimbursements to ambulance services. The effect of the cuts, however, goes far beyond Medicaid recipients: They would severely and negatively affect public health and safety for all Texans.

Texas EMS agencies already operate on very tight budgets. To cope with the proposed cuts, cities, counties, emergency service districts and ambulance agencies would have to decide whether to reduce service, cut staffing or postpone or cancel the purchase of lifesaving equipment.

Many communities   would be forced to choose between raising taxes, reducing other public services or drastically reducing EMS coverage.

These cuts also would result in an increased burden and risk to local police and fire departments, other first responders and all agencies that work together to provide lifesaving services. In areas where the hospital provides ambulance service, it would be forced to divert money from other critical needs to subsidize the EMS operation.

The reimbursement reduction is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1. Six groups representing Texas counties, hospitals, firefighters and EMS have joined together to oppose the cuts.

These six groups include the Texas Ambulance Association, the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas

Hospital Association, the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals, the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters, and the Texas EMS Alliance.

More than two-thirds of our state senators and a third of our state representatives also have joined the effort.

Lawmakers also are part of the effort. Letters signed by 22 state senators and 48 representatives urging reconsideration of the proposed cuts have been sent to the HHSC. These lawmakers are concerned about what the cuts will mean to their communities.

To learn more about how the proposed cuts will affect your community, please contact the appropriate representative or search the Texas Ambulance Association website at http://txamb.com.

How can Texans help?

Let your voice be heard. The HHSC can be reached by email at RADAcuteCare@hhsc.state.tx.us, by phone at 512-424-6500 or by mail at 4900 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas 78751-2316.