EMS Insider, Legislative Update

AAA Honors Key Legislators Making a Difference for EMS

As part of the 2016 Stars of Life celebration in Washington, D.C., the American Ambulance Association gave special recognition to legislators who have exhibited dedication to the improvement of EMS.

Senator Schumer addressing the audience at the 2016 AAA Stars of Life gala.

Senator Schumer addressing the audience at the 2016 AAA Stars of Life gala.

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) received the AAA’s 2016 Legislative Recognition award from president Mike Hall. Senator Schumer was recognized for his efforts to continually fund various Medicare relief and reimbursement issues that impact ambulance services across the country.

Senator Schumer has a personal connection to one of the Stars honored in 2016: When one of his daughters was injured and suffered a concussion while playing a high school sport, his wife reported to him how expedient and professional the EMS care was that their daughter received. That paramedic was Ian Joseph of Northwell Health CMS, a 2016 Star of Life.

“His story and the others tonight highlights how much passion there is in helping others—care that ranges from patient care to vehicle care, it all matters,”  Schumer told the audience during the gala dinner and awards ceremony held Tuesday, April 12. He went on to say that he understands how important it is to provide and support legislative efforts regarding reimbursement rates, which have been secured until December 2017, to fund emergency medical services.

“We need your help now and more as the healthcare population grows,” Schumer said. “An ambulance is not an add-on. It is the start of care.”

Representative Devin Nunes meets with Paul Main of American Ambulance of Visalia during the Stars of Life visit to Capitol Hill.

Representative Devin Nunes meets with Paul Main of American Ambulance of Visalia during the Stars of Life visit to Capitol Hill.

Also honored at the gala was Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA), who received the AAA Legislator of the Year award for his ongoing support of ambulance reimbursement and other important ambulance industry policy issues. Nunes has championed efforts on Medicare ambulance reform, such as ensuring rural zip codes are properly categorized as such for proper reimbursement. He is also the lead sponsor of the Fairness in Ambulance Reimbursement Act and a primary sponsor of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act.

Nunes took the time to meet with Star of Life Richard A. Buckles, Jr., an EMT/FTO from Nunes’ district in Visalia, Calif., to discuss critical issues that are affecting emergency responders on a day-to-day basis.