State Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Caroll Township, has partnered with and state Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, to introduce a bill that would preserve access to ventilator or tracheostomy care for hundreds of patients in Pennsylvania.

Nearly 700 patients in Pennsylvania receive Medicaid-covered ventilator or tracheostomy care in a nursing home in any given month. However, Medicaid does not reimburse providers for all of the additional expenses these patients incur, including specialized equipment, supplies and staff costs, according to a news release from Bartolotta’s office.

Senate Bill 954 would dedicate additional Medicaid funding to facilities that serve a substantial number of patients who require ventilator or tracheostomy care, the release said.

The bill would provide an additional reimbursement for facilities that treat a large percentage of patients who require this highly specialized care. Currently, just 13 facilities in Pennsylvania treat more than 300 of the state’s 700 patients who require these services, the release said.

“The largest provider of ventilator and tracheostomy care in the state recently filed for bankruptcy protection. That underscores just how serious this crisis has become,” Bartolotta said. “Providing this kind of care is hard work, and it is expensive. Ensuring providers are reimbursed for these costs will not only preserve access to care, but will also provide an incentive for more providers to offer these services in their own communities.”

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