Call To Action: Ambulance Add-Ons Update &
Impact of Partial Government Shutdown
Congress is heading toward a possible partial shutdown of the federal government without taking action on our expired Medicare add-on payments. While the AAA and other industry stakeholders have pressed hard for Congress to immediately pass a five-year extension of the ambulance add-ons, our message is not being heard loud enough amongst all the other noise. We need you to contact your members of Congress today in support of extending the 2% urban, 3% rural and 22.6% super rural increases!
Last night, the House of Representatives mostly along party lines passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through February 16. The fate of the bill in the Senate is uncertain. If Congress does not pass by midnight tonight a measure extending funding for the federal government, there will be a partial government shutdown.
The AAA had pushed for Congress to attach a Medicare provider extender package including a five-year extension of the ambulance add-ons to the Continuing Resolution. Since the extender package was not included in the Resolution, we are pressing Congress to consider a separate extenders only package including the five-year ambulance extension or attach the package to another moving legislative vehicle. We are also pushing Congress to at the very least pass a short-term extension retroactive to January 1 until a Medicare extender package can move.
It is critical that we get the Medicare ambulance add-ons reinstated as soon as possible.
So please write your members of Congress today!
In the meantime, here are answers to questions about whether you should continue to hold claims and what a partial government shutdown would mean for Medicare and Medicaid payments.
Should my organization still hold Medicare claims?
CMS has not formally stated whether it is holding claims beyond the requirement for contractors to not pay claims until two weeks after receiving them. AAA members may want to consider holding claims until the issue is resolved, assuming their financial position permits. Holding claims would potentially allow members to avoid the need to have claims subsequently adjusted at a later date.
Will CMS pay claims during a partial government shutdown?
Yes. CMS has issued the following: CMS would continue key Federal Exchange activities, such as open enrollment eligibility verification, using Federal Exchange user fee carryover. In the short term, the Medicare Program will continue largely without disruption during a lapse in appropriations. Additionally, other non-discretionary activities including Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control, and Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation activities would continue. States will have sufficient funding for Medicaid through the second quarter, due to the continuation of authority under the CR for appropriated entitlements, and CMS will maintain the staff necessary to make payments to eligible states from remaining Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) carryover balances.