Fire Service Issues

EMS Reimbursement Rates from CMS and MaineCare

Medicare and MaineCare are the primary insurance for the vast majority of patients transported by Maine’s EMS services. The current reimbursement rates are a fraction of the actual cost of providing those services. That shortfall in revenue negatively impacts the EMS service’s ability to pay competitive and reasonable wages to their highly-skilled advanced licensed personnel, which is one of the key challenges for both recruitment and retention. We need the support of our congressional delegation to lobby for increases in the CMS rates, and for corresponding increases in MaineCare reimbursement rates for the lifesaving service we provide.

Provide State Financial Support for the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office

$100,000 is needed to continue the ongoing recruitment and retention work being conducted by Hancock County in cooperation with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, to include:

  • A statewide study to accurately document the current state of Maine’s fire and EMS response capabilities;
  • Establishment of a firefighter registration database documenting individuals, their capabilities, certifications, identifying the community (and in many cases, multiple communities) where each individual firefighter works;
  • A final report that would provide essential data and recommendations for future solutions to these pressing issues.

Support the Maine Fire Service Institute

An annual $250,000 state budget allocation to provide additional resources for firefighter training across the State of Maine to expand training opportunities, and help offset some of the costs to local municipalities of providing that basic and required training.

Support the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission’s Live Fire Training Facility Grant Program

An appropriation of $1,000,000 each year, for the next five years, to adequately fund the existing competitive grant program to repair, replace, and build new live fire training facilities for all departments (large, small, career and volunteer) within a reasonable travel distance.

Funding for the Existing Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP)

Provide $2,500,000 in funding that was previously established in state law to help communities create an incentive for recruitment and recruitment and retention. Consideration should also be given to fund other initiatives that may help including:

  • A statewide advertising campaign to attract and retain firefighters and EMS providers;
  • Property and state tax incentives for first responders;
  • Health insurance coverage opportunities for part-time and volunteer first responders.

Continue to Invest in the Maine Community College System on Workforce Development Initiatives with Fire and EMS Services

  • Provide scholarships for students attending fire science and EMS programs;
  • Develop a condensed/streamlined certificate-level Basic EMT to Paramedic bridge program to increase the number of paramedics licensed each year in a shorter, more efficient timeframe that is conducive to those working a normal first responder shift schedule.