On June 16, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Transmittal 236. This Transmittal makes some minor changes to Chapter 10 of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual. Specifically, CMS is clarifying its definitions related to the “ALS assessment” and “locality.” The change to the locality definition has prompted some discussion within the industry as to the impact on Medicare’s reimbursement for mileage beyond the nearest appropriate facility. In this month’s blog, I will explain the recent change, and hopefully convince you that this isn’t something that should cause you undue concern. Medicare’s Definition of “Locality” The definition of “locality” appears in Section 10.3.5 of Chapter 10 of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual. That definition reads as follows: The term “locality” with respect to ambulance service means the service area surrounding the institution to which individuals normally travel or are expected to travel to receive hospital or skilled nursing services. CMS then includes the following example to explain how that definition should be applied to real world situations: EXAMPLE: Mr. A becomes ill at home and requires ambulance service to the hospital. The small community in which he lives has a 35-bed hospital. Two large metropolitan hospitals are…

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