Meier measure to protect rural ambulance services moves to Senate

Legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier intended to help fund emergency service districts has passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support. 

“House Bill 4179 was brought to me because of all the problems we’re starting to have in rural Illinois,” said Rep. Meier. “The federal government, when they make their payments back from Medicare and Medicaid ambulance trips, is only paying a maximum of 40% of that money. The for-profit ambulances are leaving rural southern Illinois. Our fire departments are not allowed to transport people to the hospitals from wrecks or calls that they go on. The EMTs can go there, but they can’t transport them.” 

House Bill 4179 was written as a trailer bill to HB1740 which allowed for the creation of emergency service districts that span across municipal lines. While these districts allow communities to share the cost of ambulance services, poor federal reimbursement rates have caused some towns to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars or their access to for-profit ambulance services entirely. HB4179 helps support these underfunded districts by allowing them to increase their maximum levies from 0.4% EAV up to 0.8% EAV.

The bill was written so that only districts that want increased funding for services would have their levies raised. Any increase that would bring a district’s maximum levy above 0.4% EAV would require support from its taxpayers through a referendum vote. “This gives the voters the right to say: hey, we need more service, we are willing to pay for it,” said Rep. Meier.

HB4179 received unanimous support in the House and has begun moving through the Senate.

State Representative Charlie Meier represents the 109th District which includes portions of Bond, Clinton, Madison, St. Clair, and Washington counties.