On March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump announced a national state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, HHS Secretary Alex Azar had declared a public health emergency under Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act in response to COVID-19. This has prompted many AAA members to ask what impact, if any, these declarations have on the coverage of ambulance services under federal health care programs? The short answer is that these declarations give CMS the authority under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to waive certain Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Program requirements. This waiver authority includes, but is not necessarily limited to: • Waiving certain conditions of participation and/or certification requirements; • Waiving certain pre-approval requirements; • Waiving the requirements that a provider or supplier be licensed in the state in which they are providing services; • Waiving EMTALA requirements related to medical screening examinations and transfers; and • Waiving certain limitations on payments for services provided to Medicare Advantage enrollees by out-of-network providers. One situation where an 1135 waiver may be of use to an ambulance provider or supplier would be where the ambulance provider or supplier is sending vehicles and crews to…

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