President’s Perspective: July 2017
Dear Fellow AAA Member,
I am proud to share with you that just yesterday legislation was introduced in the House on a long-term extension of Medicare ambulance add-ons. The House bill follows introduction of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 967) in the Senate, giving us a bill in both houses of Congress.
The Ambulance Medicare Budget and Operations Act (H.R. 3236) would extend for five years the 2% urban, 3% rural, and super rural bonus increases. The bill would also direct CMS to collect cost data from ambulance service suppliers. The AAA has been working with Congressman Nunes (R-CA) and Upton (R-MI) as well as the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees on the bill language. You will soon receive a Call to Action to reach out to your Representatives to cosponsor the new House bill.
- 967 would make the add-on payments permanent and direct CMS to collect cost data from ambulance service suppliers using a survey methodology. Since its introduction, four additional Senators have signed on to co-sponsor S. 967, Senators Sanders (VT), Cochran (MS), Tester (MT) and Gillibrand (NY), bringing the total number of cosponsors to nine. While this is good progress, we need our member’s continued assistance in getting more co-sponsors on both of our bills.
While both bills meet the needs of our industry, the language in the two bills is different. That being said, it is not uncommon for the Senate bill and the House bill to have minor differences in their respective language that have to be worked out before getting final approval. When this happens, a special conference committee made up of members from both houses will work together to come to consensus about the different provisions in the bill. It is unlikely that our bills will be passed as stand-alone legislation. Instead, our provisions will likely be included in a larger bill similar to how the extenders were passed last time as a part of the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act. It is crucial that we have as many co-sponsors on both of our bills so that we can again be included on a larger piece of legislation.
The Medicare ambulance add-on payments will expire on December 31, 2017. To ensure continued access these critically-necessary extenders, we need the collective advocacy of ambulance services across the country. We ask that you please add your voice to the AAA’s by writing your Senators in support of Bill S.967. Additionally, you will soon receive a Call to Action to reach out to your Representatives to cosponsor the new House bill.
As always, the AAA Board, Government Affairs Committee, advocacy consultants, and staff are working diligently to build support on Capitol Hill to ensure that this vital revenue remains in place. If you missed our June 29 government affairs update webinar, I invite you to watch it on-demand now.
The Education Committee recently finalized programming for the 2017 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show. This year, we welcome three exciting keynotes—Steven M.R. Covey, Mel Robbins, and Dr. Zubin “ZDoggMD” Damania—as well as dozens of industry leaders and experts. I hope that you will join me and hundreds of our colleagues in ambulance leadership in Las Vegas in November! Online registration is open now.
AAA will host its inaugural SimLab workshop in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 28. We are excited to share with members this immersive learning experience. AAA SimLab content will also be featured at the Mississippians for EMS Conference October 2–4 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Save the date for AAA’s newest educational partnership, the Midwest EMS Expo May 2–3, 2018 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Co-hosted with the Minnesota Ambulance Association and the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, the Midwest EMS Expo will bring together the best in national and regional education.
AAA is also proud to offer learning on-the-go, in the form of engaging webinars on human resources, reimbursement, compliance, and other topics. Don’t miss upcoming sessions on drug use, the OIG Safe Harbor on Cost Sharing, and the management of airborne medical emergencies.
I am happy to share with you that AAA has a new URL, www.ambulance.org. This updated domain should assist us in clearly communicating our identity to the world, as well as in attracting new members not previously familiar with our organization.
To date, we have raised more than $255,000 of our $1mm Capital Campaign goal through the generous contributions of our fellow members. Our deepest thanks to all who have given. If you have not done so already, please consider donating today. Funds contributed to this campaign are managed separately from operating accounts, and can only be accessed after a full Board vote.
Stars of Life
It was a privilege to see many of you at Stars of Life in Washington in June. This year’s Stars program recognized 108 EMS providers from across the nation who have served their communities with distinction. The Stars, accompanied by their executive-level Hosts, met with their Senators and US Representatives to shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare infrastructure. Nominations for the 2018 class of Stars will open in January. We hope to meet your Stars in D.C. next year.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the AAA at 703-610-9018 or firstname.lastname@example.org if we can be of assistance to your service.
Thank you for your service to your communities, and have a great summer.
American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”