The AAA continues to press the Congress and federal agencies for help to ensure ambulance service organizations and our paramedics and EMTs serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic have the necessary resources and financial assistance to serve their communities.
Help support the AAA’s efforts by contacting your members of Congress today asking them to support the ambulance industry in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation:
2022 AAA Advocacy Priorities
The continuing dynamics of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and corresponding challenges facing ground ambulance service organizations has shifted our view of the current prioritization of the legislative objectives of the AAA. Below you will find a list of the top advocacy priorities and objectives the AAA is pursing in 2022.
Medicare Ambulance Relief
The temporary Medicare ambulance increases of 2% urban, 3% rural and the super rural bonus payment expire at the end of the year. The AAA will continue to push for passage of the provisions of the Preserving Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act (S. 2037, H.R. 2454) before the provisions expire as well as for the adoption of language to ensure truly rural areas remain rural following changes to geographical designations based on the 2020 census.
EMS Workforce Shortage
With the persistent shortage of ground ambulance service field personnel raising to a crisis level with the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAA last year moved the issue to being a top policy priority. The AAA is currently working with key Congressional Committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings on the EMS workforce shortage. We are also developing legislation to specifically target increasing access for ground ambulance service organizations to federal programs and funding for the retention and training of health care personnel.
The AAA successfully educated the Congress on the role of local government oversight and other unique characteristics of providing ground ambulance service organizations. As a result, the Congress directed the establishment of a Ground Ambulance and Balance Billing Advisory Committee to address the issue. The Committee is in the process of being formed and then has 180 days in which to make recommendations to the Congress. The AAA will be involved with the Committee and advocating that the Congress implement policies that meet the needs of our members.
Additional COVID-19 Financial Assistance
The AAA is advocating for additional financial assistance for ground ambulance service organizations to help address the increased costs of labor and other higher costs associated with providing health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Congress delayed the additional 4% sequestration cut for only one year. The AAA is working with other EMS and health care provider and supplier groups to permanently prevent the cut from going into effect.
Ambulance Cost Data Collection
With the 2-year delay of ambulance data collection due to the pandemic, the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) will have little to no data to analyze in March 2023 in which to make recommendations to the Congress on Medicare ambulance payment policy and rates. The AAA is asking the Congress to push back the date of the MedPAC report and also expand the modified data collection timeline of two years to the intended four years.
We will keep you posted of new developments. Thank you for your continued support of the American Ambulance Association.
The American Ambulance Association invites you to become involved with our efforts on Capitol Hill. It is thanks to our member’s contributions, both time and resources, that we are able to have such a strong influence with federal legislators. The efforts of the AAA’s legislative team and our members have given our industry nearly $2 billion in desperately needed Medicare relief over the last 12 years. Become a member today and join this important work.