TEMSA Statement on Committee Substitute SB 999

April 7, 2021

The Texas EMS Alliance (TEMSA) offered the following statement regarding the Texas Senate Committee on Business & Commerce’s committee substitute for SB 999:

While the committee substitute for SB 999 would create arbitration as a dispute resolution tool for ground ambulances, it would strip away many of the key elements that make arbitration a fair and valuable resolution process for patients, physicians and health plans under SB 1264 (86R). In addition, the committee substitute would fail to direct the arbitrator to consider the local governmental rates.

The committee substitute would remove the following items from existing law for the arbitrator to consider:

  • The EMS agency’s usual billed charges, which are quite often set by local governmental entities to cover the cost of providing service to their communities.
  • Charges for the same services provided by other EMS agencies in the same geographic region as reported in a benchmarking database as provided for in Section 1467.006, which would allow for a fair analysis of appropriate rates.
  • Historical data related to charges reported to a benchmarking database, which would clearly dispel any suggestion that an EMS agency is increasing charges egregiously.

The committee substitute would leave the arbitrator with almost no information to determine a fair rate. EMS is the only health care provider subject to local price regulation and a tiny portion of the the total health care spend. There is no justification for forcing EMS agencies to have to accept a watered-down arbitration process and be treated differently than physicians and other providers currently found in the arbitration process.

Texas EMS agencies look forward to working with the 87th Legislature to remove patients from the middle of billing disputes, and an arbitration process that directs the arbitrator to consider certain factors is the solution.