Senator Bartolotta: Wolf’s Ventilator Care Proposal Falls Short

HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) said today that Governor Wolf’s ventilator care proposal falls woefully short of what is necessary to help patients who require life-sustaining ventilation services.

Wolf unveiled his human services priorities at a press conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The proposal included a plan to make marginal improvements to the Ventilator Dependent Resident Grant Program. However, the governor’s proposal did not address the larger problem of declining reimbursements from Medicaid.

Without action on the reimbursement issue, Bartolotta say that the approximately 700 patients in Pennsylvania who receive Medicaid-covered ventilator or tracheostomy care in a nursing home in any given month are still at risk.

Currently, just 13 facilities in Pennsylvania treat more than 300 of the state’s 700 patients who require these services. The largest provider of ventilator and tracheostomy care in the state recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

“I appreciate the fact that the Wolf Administration has acknowledged the need to serve this vulnerable population, but his proposal fails to provide the meaningful reforms that are needed to preserve access to care,” Bartolotta said. “It is extremely expensive and difficult for providers to offer this specialized kind of treatment, and Governor Wolf’s plan is not enough to prevent more providers from falling by the wayside. We need to work together to solve this problem and make sure we are not creating any new hardships for the patients who desperately need these services.”

Last month, Bartolotta and Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49)  introduced Senate Bill 959 to dedicate additional Medicaid funding to facilities that serve a substantial number of patients who require ventilator or tracheostomy care. Their bill would provide an additional reimbursement for facilities that treat a large percentage of patients who require this highly specialized care.

CONTACT:  Katrina Hanna (717) 787-1463

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