California Ambulance Association: Raise ambulance transport rates for Medi-Cal

“Every time we serve a Medi-Cal patient, we take a financial loss," says CAA President Jimmy Pierson


By Leila Merrill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez and a coalition of first response and labor advocates are urging the state to increase ambulance transport rates for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid health care program.

According to the California Ambulance Association, the rate is $111 – the fourth lowest in the U.S. The rate is lower now than it was in the late 1990s — $135.

California Ambulance Association President James Pierson addresses a press conference as Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez and EMS providers look on.
California Ambulance Association President James Pierson addresses a press conference as Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez and EMS providers look on. (Photo/California Ambulance Association)

“Every time we serve a Medi-Cal patient, we take a financial loss, but we do it and will continue to do so because we live to serve but that’s not entirely fair to our employees. We’re not asking the state for big increases to line our pockets – we just want to break even so that we can be in a better position to offer sustainable living wages to our employees while continuing to serve the patients who need us most,” said Jimmy Pierson, president of the California Ambulance Association, in a news release.

“We’re not an industry that is used to asking for help. We’re the helpers. But right now, we need the state to help us by giving us a fair rate," he added.

A coalition called Fund First Responders is asking Californians to sign a petition in their favor.

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