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Video: Award-winning investigative report highlights Calif. reimbursement woes

Los Angeles reporter David Nazar zeroed in on California’s MediCal healthcare reimbursement system, known for some of the lowest reimbursement rates for private ambulance companies in the U.S.

By EMS1 Staff

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles reporter recently won two awards for his investigative piece about California’s ambulance crisis.

During the 74th Annual Golden Mike Awards Ceremony, reporter David Nazar was awarded two Golden Mike Awards (Division B) for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. The Radio & Television News Association of Southern California recognized Nazar’s work in the realms of public affairs and news reporting, highlighting his dedication to uncovering truths that affect the community and the EMS industry at large.

Nazar’s piece, “California Ambulance Crisis,” produced in collaboration with the PBS news program, “Sustaining US,” highlighted the challenges faced by the State of California’s MediCal healthcare reimbursement system. He also explains how the system has resulted in some of the lowest reimbursement rates for private ambulance companies in the United States, highlighting a critical issue within the state’s healthcare and emergency medical services sectors.

The investigation brought attention to the financial and operational pressures on ambulance services in California. Through interviews with ambulance company owners and EMTs, it was revealed that the pay rates for EMTs often fall below what is earned by entry-level workers in non-emergency positions at companies like Starbucks and Target. This pay discrepancy has made it difficult for ambulance companies to attract and retain staff, impacting their ability to provide essential services.

The report also discussed the broader consequences of these financial challenges, including the potential for ambulance companies to go out of business. This situation poses a risk to the availability and quality of emergency medical services, with possible implications for patient care and response times.

Nazar’s work was praised for its thorough examination of how state-level policies and bureaucracy can affect the lives of individuals, particularly those working in critical, life-saving roles.