PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The financial crisis at Pennsylvania EMS companies continues, but bills proposed in the state legislature are trying to help keep these companies operating.

“Since 2002 after implementation of the Medicare Ambulance fee schedule, costs have risen 70% while reimbursement rates have risen only 27%,” said Barry Albertson, past president of the Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania.

One proposal would increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for EMS agencies. On Monday, lawmakers convened to talk about some other bills that are in the works, as well.

They include Senate Bill 861, which unanimously passed the Senate in January. The bill would provide a method for EMS providers to come into and go outside of Pennsylvania during emergency situations. House Bill 2097 would extend the waiver for EMS staffing, allowing certified emergency personnel to drive ambulances with an EMT on board.

In February, State Sen. Pat Stefano helped secure $25 million for EMS providers, which breaks down to about $37,000 each.

Albertson says even that’s not enough.

“This is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a trauma patient when you really need tourniquets,” Albertson said.

Stefano hopes this series of bills can pass quickly to keep the EMS industry afloat.

“By working together at the state, county, and local levels, we can help mitigate the threat of any Pennsylvanian needing care but not receiving it in a timely fashion,” Stefano said.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.

Agencies including Susquehanna Township EMS have been sounding the alarm for a long time, but the issue has only gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic.