By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– In November 2013, the County Board of Supervisors authorized San Bernardino County Fire to participate in the federally funded, Ground Emergency Medical Transportation (GEMT) Services Supplemental Reimbursement Program. Participation in the GEMT Program allows San Bernardino County Fire to claim supplemental reimbursement for unrecovered costs for providing medical transports to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Currently Medi-Cal pays less than 10% of County Fire’s average full cost of about $2,600 for all medical transports. The reimbursement amount is 50% of allowable total certified costs, as defined in the amendment. In February 2014, County Fire submitted their application for $3.1 million in retroactive reimbursement, based on a time period of January 2010 through June 2013. To date, County Fire has received $2.57 million through the GEMT program. In October, County Fire will submit the application for FY 13/14, with a projected reimbursement of $884,000. The ongoing annual projected revenue under this program is about $800,000.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the State Plan Amendment 09-024 on September 4, 2013, following the passage of State Assembly Bill 678. It allows government entities to submit cost reports for incurred expenses from January 30, 2010 with no ending date. The supplemental reimbursement payment is based on Certified Public Expenditures (CPE) allowable that have already been incurred by the public provider. The Program requires that all ambulances are owned or operated by the governmental entity
The GEMT Program will help reduce the department’s reliance on the County general fund. Currently County Fire provides ambulance service in outlying areas that don’t generate enough revenue to cover expenses. This program is a step towards being in line with the County’s goals and objectives to make each department self-sufficient and not reliant on supplemental funding from the County general fund. (http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/CAO/Uploads/Content/2013-14-Goals-and-Objectives.pdf)
San Bernardino County Fire is the second largest provider of Paramedic ambulance transport in the County, proudly serving to the City of Hesperia, Town of Yucca Valley, Lake Havasu (California), Searless Valley, Lucerne Valley, Phelan, Pinon Hills, Wrightwood, Lake Arrowhead, and Crest Forest. The City of Hesperia separately applies for GEMT reimbursement.
San Bernardino County Fire remains dedicated to finding ways to reduce costs and seek innovative funding sources to lessen the burden on taxpayers, while continuing to provide the highest level of service.