Senate Bill 528 (2020) "Nonemergency Medical
Version Referenced: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/528/BillText/Filed/PDF
Position Updated: November 15, 2019 at 12:08 pm
The Florida Ambulance Association strongly opposes SB528 introduced by Senator Brandes. While the stated purpose of the bill is to improve ambulance access for Medicaid recipients, its actual effect is to erode the patient and provider protections afforded by the long-standing Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) system.
Ambulance services provide care to all people, 24/7/365. They are especially proud to provide disproportionate care to the most vulnerable populations in Florida, including seniors, low-income residents, and Medicaid recipients. Beyond the licensing requirements administered by the state, COPCNs empower county officials to ensure that the ambulance providers in their particular area have the personnel, equipment, insurance, and resources in place to meet the specific needs of their communities. Fracturing the COPCN system could potentially create two separate and unequal tiers of service: one for Medicaid patients unprotected by COPCN requirements, and the other for the rest of the population.
The COPCN system as it currently exists also incentivizes ambulance providers to plant deep local roots, as demonstrated by EMS’s comprehensive disaster preparation and response as well as countless CPR, Stop the Bleed, Touch-a-Truck, and other events organized by these pillars of the community. An EMS provider who demonstrates that their services are necessary and in compliance with a community's specific requirements does so in good faith, with the expectation that the locality would enforce those same standards for all of the providers in that county. Senate Bill 528 as written undermines this trust and collaboration in addition to eroding patient protections, to the detriment of all.