HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A bill introduced in the state Senate is aiming to help patients who rely on ventilators.

Senate Bill 959 would increase Medicaid payments to providers willing to care for ventilator and tracheostomy patients. ​​

Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, visited patients at Fox Subacute in Mechanicsburg on Monday. It is one of a small number of nursing facilities in the state caring for ventilator and tracheostomy patients. ​​

Roughly 75% of their patients rely on Medicaid. However, payments for that type of care have declined in the last 10 years, resulting in several providers limiting or even ceasing to provide ventilator care.

There is a concern that some facilities may be forced to close their doors.​​

“It’s four times more expensive to put a patient like this, a ventilator patient, in a hospital, so it’s very important that we make sure that we can get these types of facilities the funding they need, a funding stream that will come to places like this to make sure that they can stay open,” Regan ​​said.

The bill was introduced last week with bipartisan support.​