Bonta Bill Creating Sustainable Funding for Vital Ambulance Services Signed by Governor

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

AB 1705 Increases Federal Reimbursements to Fire Departments for Emergency Transports

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and leaders from California’s fire service praised Governor Gavin Newsom for the recent signing of AB 1705, which will increase federal reimbursements through Medi-Cal to local fire agencies that provide vital emergency medical transportation services to the people of California.

“This bill creates a better reimbursement program to ensure that local fire agencies recover from the federal government the actual cost of service when providing emergency medical transport to Medi-Cal beneficiaries,” said Bonta. “It is the result of extensive collaboration between fire agencies and public health officials and we are grateful to the Governor for his signature.”

The delivery of Emergency Medical Services first response and transport are critical public safety services provided by fire departments in California and AB 1705 will provide another sustainable funding source for these services. When implemented in mid-2021, AB 1705 will provide for a new Public Provider Intergovernmental Transfer Program (IGT Program). The bill eliminates the existing Ground Emergency Medical Transport (GEMT) program, which is based on local agencies submitting certified expenditures for fee-for-service patients. AB 1705 would also exempt public agencies from the Quality Assurance Fee (QAF) program, which would have resulted in net revenue loss for some agencies. 

Estimates from the State of California project the new IGT program has the potential to more than double existing reimbursements across the state and is estimated to be valued at close to $200 million annually.

Edmond Rodriguez, Fire Chief for the City of Alameda and current President of the California Fire Chiefs Association stated, “This bill provides a greater amount of reimbursement to public transport agencies, such as the City of Alameda, then is currently available under state law. These additional funds will help sustain critical lifesaving emergency ambulance services in more than 120 communities across California. The California fire service is grateful that Assemblymember Bonta led this charge to help preserve and enhance the funding these vital services need to protect not only the constituents of the 18th Assembly District, but Californians throughout the state.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader.