Committee Advances Bill to Preserve Access to Ventilator Services

HARRISBURG – Access to ventilator and tracheostomy care would be preserved for hundreds of patients in Pennsylvania under a bill approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

Senate Bill 108 would dedicate additional Medicaid funding to facilities that serve a substantial number of patients who require ventilator or tracheostomy care.

Hundreds of patients in Pennsylvania currently receive Medicaid-covered ventilator or tracheostomy care in a nursing home in any given month. However, Medicaid currently does not reimburse providers for all the additional expenses that ventilator and tracheostomy patients incur, including specialized equipment, supplies and staff costs.

Many providers face the prospect of limiting or eliminating services for these patients. Without action to help providers, patients could be forced to travel long distances to one of the dwindling number of nursing homes that offer these services, or receive care in a hospital, where the daily cost of care is roughly four times higher than in a nursing home.

“Caring for the vulnerable patients who require ventilator and tracheostomy services is difficult and expensive, which is why only a few specialized providers offer this type of care,” Bartolotta said. “We need to ensure patients can continue to rely on these services without being sent halfway across the state for care.”

The bill, which was also sponsored by Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49), was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna (717) 787-1463

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