On December 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the public use files for reimbursement rates under the Medicare ambulance fee schedule for 2018. In posting the rates, CMS did not include the temporary Medicare ambulance increases of 2% to the urban base and mileage rates, 3% to the rural base and mileage rates and the 22.6% to the super rural base rate. CMS also stated the increases will expire on December 31, 2017.
The statement by CMS and the rates in the public use file do not reflect the efforts of the AAA and our champions on Capitol Hill to help ensure the temporary Medicare ambulance increases do not expire at the end of this year. The AAA is fighting for Congress to extend the increases for five years. The House and Senate are currently negotiating a Medicare provider extender package and both the House and Senate positions include the 5-year ambulance increase extension. As usual, Congress is waiting to the last minute to address Medicare provider extenders and other expiring policies.
However, we should not take the renewal of an extension of the Medicare ambulance increases as a given. Please write your members of Congress today to ask them to support the five-year extension!