Lawmakers Close to ER Parity Bill

An amended version of the emergency room bill is now out of committee and will be heard on the Senate floor. Senate Bill 593, and its companion House Bill 699, would require the state to treat free-standing emergency rooms, like the one being built in Grasonville, the same as emergency rooms attached to hospitals. They would allow ambulances driving patients to those facilities to be reimbursed and require the facilities to be “rate-regulated” by the state’s Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets how Medicare and other insurers reimburse for treatment at hospitals. Queen Anne’s Commission President Gene Ransom says having a rated facility will prevent the county’s Emergency Medical Services from having to fund deficits at the facility, which are projected to run about $70,000 a month without the legislation.