Author: AAA Staff

Just Released—Compare Your Service With 2013 Medicare Data

See how your service stacks up according to several key Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) measures. The  recently released 2013 Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data lists all providers by National Provider Identifier (NPI), and includes figures on utilization, total payments, and submitted charges.

AAA members, read more in today’s Member Advisory by expert Medicare consultant Brian Werfel.

Not yet a member? Learn more about how AAA membership can help you stay up-to-date on critical regulatory and reimbursement issues that impact your ambulance service.

Community Paramedicine’s Growth Hindered by Reimbursement Issues

From Politico’s “Reimbursement issues block paramedics from expanded role“—

Despite the track record of [community paramedicine] initiatives in places like Nevada and Texas, where paramedics are providing in-home care, coordinating patient services and saving millions in the process, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans still won’t reimburse for such work. The program successes to date are only beginning to change that…

Nationwide, the impact from reducing ambulance calls and demands on ERs while freeing up doctors could be huge. A 2013 study in Health Affairs estimated that more flexible reimbursement for paramedicine approaches could save Medicare $283 million to $560 million annually and similar sums for private insurers.

AAA Members Named to NEMSAC

On May 12, 2015, two AAA member leaders were appointed to the  National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC) by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. NEMSAC advises the Department of Transportation and the Federal Interagency Committee on critical EMS issues.

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Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB)

For many years, one of the top legislative priorities of the AAA has been the expansion of the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits (PSOB) to all private emergency medical services (EMS) professionals.  Originally, Congress established the PSOB program to provide assistance to police officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT) in the event of a death in the line of duty.  However, the benefits only apply to those public safety officers employed by a federal, state, or local government entity or a private non-profit emergency medical services agency or company.

Paramedics and EMTs employed by a private, for-profit EMS company provide identical services to their governmental and private non-profit counterparts and do so daily in the same dangerous environments. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is presently reviewing its guidelines on “active shooter” and may revise its policy of paramedics and EMTs waiting until a scene is secure before entering to provide urgent medical care to a victim. While paramedics and EMTs employed by private EMS companies already put the lives of others first, the review of the FEMA guidelines as federal policy puts a greater emphasis on the need to apply the federal PSOB program to all first responders.

The Dale Long Act, 2012

In 2012, our voice was heard when the Dale Long Act (S. 385, Public Law 112-239) was signed into legislation.  The act extends the PSOB program to employees and volunteer members of non-profit EMS organizations.  While we would have liked to see the benefits extended to all EMS professionals, both public and private, we celebrated the victory and continue to fight for complete coverage.

It is inequitable to penalize dedicated public safety officers and their families simply because of their employer type and it is now time for Congress to fully correct this disparity and legislate that the PSOB program cover those paramedics and EMTs employed by a private EMS company.

What You Can Do to Help

Currently, the AAA is continuing efforts to find House and Senate sponsors for expansion of the PSOB to for-profit service providers.  In the past, members of Congress have been motivated to act by specific examples of inequity within their states and districts.  If you have a strong relationship with your elected officials and feel that you can help with this issue, please contact Tristan North, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, at tnorth@ambulance.org.

Fort Worth ICD-10 Sold Out!

Join the American Ambulance Association at MedStar Mobile Healthcare in Dallas/Ft. Worth for a one day, hands on ICD-10 Workshop. Spend the day in a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of individual attention geared to your specific service type. There will also be ample time for Q&A with our subject matter experts. Amanda Jimeson, CPC, will share the program she developed for EMSA and joining Amanda will the AAA’s Medicare Regulatory co-chairs, Angie Lehman, Vice President of Finance, EMSA, and Rebecca Williamson, Compliance Officer for Muskogee EMS and author of the AAA Compliance Guide. And to put it all in perspective will be AAA’s Medicare Consultant, Brian Werfel. You’ll receive helpful tools and walk away with an intimate understanding of ICD-10 coding and its proper application.

 

Location

MedStar Mobile Healthcare
2900 Alta Mere Drive
Ft. Worth, TX 76110

Agenda

9:00am-9:15am
Welcome, Speaker introductions and course objectives

9:15am-10:30am
ICD-10  Part I

10:30am-10:45am
Break

10:45am-12:00pm
ICD-10 Part II

12:00pm-12:15pm
Tour of Host Facility

12:15pm-1:15pm
Networking Lunch with Sponsors

1:15-pm-2:30pm
Medicare Update Part I with Brian Werfel

2:30pm-2:45pm
PM Break

2:45pm-3:30pm
Medicare Update Part II

3:30pm-4:30pm
Putting it into Practice and Closing Comments

4:30-5:00pm
Final Q&A

Sponsored by

private ambulance services

Solutions-Group-200

ambulance membership

6.5 CEUs

aaa conference Ambulance Coding

Hotel Information

La Quinta (New Property!)
7310 Calmont Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76116
Phone: (817) 244-4777
Distance from MedStar: 0.3 miles
The La Quinta Inn & Suites Fort Worth West/I-30 hotel is conveniently located off I-30 in the Fort Worth Business District, near Lockheed Martin, Ridgemar Mall and the Naval Air Station and Joint Reserve Base. Some of our hotel amenities include a Free Bright Side Breakfast and wifi.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Fort Worth I-30 West
6851 West Freeway, Fort Worth Texas 76116
Phone: (817) 731-9600
Fairfield Inn & Suites Fort Worth I-30 West Near NAS JRB is in Fort Worth, TX and has outstanding amenities to make travel easy. Guests enjoy complimentary breakfast and on-site fitness facilities.

[map width=”590″ height=”365″ lat=”32.732699″ long=”-97.442409″ zoom=”12″ type=”map2″ address=”2900 Alta Mere Drive Ft. Worth, TX 76116″ title=”MedStar Mobile Health”]

St. Louis ICD-10 Regional Workshop

6.5 NAAC CEU’s

Join the American Ambulance Association our one day, hands-on ICD-10 workshop. Our first stop on on our ICD-10 junket will be Abbott EMS in St. Louis. Spend the day in a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of individual attention geared to your specific service type. There will also be ample time for Q&A with our subject matter experts. Amanda Jimeson, CPC, will share the program she developed for EMSA and joining Amanda will the AAA’s Medicare Regulatory co-chairs, Angie Lehman, Vice President of Finance, EMSA & Rebecca Williamson, Compliance Officer for Muskogee EMS and author of the AAA Compliance Guide. And to put it all in perspective will be AAA’s Medicare Consultant, Brian Werfel. You’ll receive helpful tools and walk away with an intimate understanding of ICD-10 coding and its proper application.

2500 Abbott Place
St. Louis MO 63143

AAA Needs You! Speak or Write to Share Your Passion

Speak at AAA 2015!
Speak at AAA 2015!

One of the best things about the American Ambulance Association community is the strength of our practitioner network. Members connect with one another at annual conference and beyond to solve problems, share best practices, and discuss key legislative issues.

Your active participation in this exchange of ideas is what enables AAA to serve its mission. We would like to invite you to take your involvement to the next level through the contribution of member content. Please read below to learn how you can speak or write for AAA and build your resume while supporting excellence and community in ambulance services.

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Kaiser Health News: REMSA Paramedics Steer Non-Emergency Patients Away From ERs

Innovation in Reno
REMSA program empowers EMS, helps patient outcomes, and cuts costs.

Yesterday Kaiser Health News reported that AAA member organization Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA), is serving its community in innovative ways that reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes. Initiatives led by REMSA CEO Jim Gubbels empower Reno paramedics to lower the number of preventable emergency room visits and close gaps in primary health care.

Using a $9.8 million federal grant, [REMSA CEO Jim Gubbels’] agency launched three different projects. In addition to providing paramedic home visits and offering patients options besides the ER, the agency started a nurse-run health line to give people with health questions another number to call in non-emergency situations.

An early evaluation by the University of Nevada, Reno, which was based on insurance claims and hospital data, shows that the projects saved $5.5 million in 2013 and 2014. They helped avoid 3,483 emergency department visits, 674 ambulance transports and 59 hospital re-admissions, according to the preliminary data. The federal government plans to do its own evaluation.

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Spotlight: Paul Pedersen

Paul Pedersen
Sierra Vista, Arizona, USA
Managing Partner at Arizona Ambulance Transport
Director Region 5, AAA Board

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Berkeley, California. I have a wife and two grown children, and enjoy traveling.

How did you come to work in the industry?
After 20 years in law enforcement and five years in public safety communications, I became general manager for Rural/Metro in southern Arizona. I subsequently co-founded our company, Arizona Ambulance Transport, in 2000.

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Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Project

Mar 27, 2015

In one of the most labor intensive projects of national significance in its history, the National Association of State EMS Officials brought industry partners and experts in the field of interstate compacts together over the last two years to develop model legislation for states’ consideration and enactment. The “Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct” (“REPLICA”) final model legislation is attached and was distributed to State EMS Directors and State EMS Medical Directors earlier this week. EMS is at the leading edge of a growing wave of medical disciplines’ national bodies of state regulatory agencies that have discovered that interstate compacts are a novel yet time tested way to solve the pervasive dilemma of providing appropriately credentialed individuals from other states the legal ability to practice under specified conditions, introduce unprecedented accountability related to those personnel, and create means of information sharing among states that have never existed before.

In order to become a member of the compact, a state must introduce the attached as a piece of legislation, enact it without any substantial changes, and the Governor must sign it into law. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the members of which include your state medical board(s’) Executive Director(s), has also just completed a model interstate compact to streamline physician licensure across state lines. Information about the FSMB initiative and a link to download their model compact can be found here. These initiatives would dovetail nicely as companion bills and solve interstate practice issues for both EMS personnel and their medical directors concurrently.

At its annual meeting last month, the Council of State Governments (CSG) Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the establishment of REPLICA and encouraging its member jurisdictions to consider adoption as an “innovative policy solution”. You can view and download the resolution here.

The record set for adoption of a new compact in recent years was by 11 states in the first legislative cycle following model compact distribution, and just within the last few months, the number of compacts in use by all 50 states grew to four, and most have DC and territories as members as well. Your legislators or legislative services staff may be more comfortable communicating with CSG, in which case their contact person is Crady deGolian, Director of the CSG National Center for Interstate Compacts via cdegolian@csg.org or by telephone at 859-244-8068. CSG houses comprehensive information about interstate compacts here.

NASEMSO is grateful to the US Department of Homeland Security for the resources that made this possible, and all of the national organizations who contributed time and expertise during this process. Most specifically, we are indebted to the states of Colorado, Idaho and Maryland, and the Commonwealths of Kentucky and Virginia for generously making state EMS office staff with notable expertise in legislation drafting and personnel licensure available to be heavy lifters in the project.

View the final model legislation.

Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief

Please reach out to your members of Congress and ask that they cosponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (H.R. 745, S. 377) and support an extension of the temporary Medicare ambulance add-on payments.  H.R. 745 and S. 377 would make the current temporary Medicare increases of 2% urban, 3% rural and the super rural bonus payment permanent. Please also ask your members of Congress to support an extension of the increases, which expire on March 31.

In the next few weeks, Congress is expected to consider an extension of the temporary fix to the physician fee schedule. This package would also be the legislative vehicle for an extension of the Medicare ambulance add-on payments. An extension of these increases will ensure the continuation of short-term relief while we push to make the increases permanent. So please write today!

Thank you in advance for writing to your members of Congress.

Zip Code Delay Comment Letter

On December 30, 2014, AAA submitted a comment letter to CMS asking the Agency to delay implementation of the changes in zip codes losing their rural status starting in 2015. In its comment letter, the AAA based the one-year delay on the lack of proper notice of the changes in the geographical delineations of zip…

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Comment Letter on Proposed Fee Schedule Changes

On August 29, 2014, the AAA sent a Proposed Rule Comment Letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the CY2015 Fee Schedule Changes.  The AAA determined the recently published proposed rule on updates to the Medicare ambulance fee scheduled for CY 2015 likely significantly underestimated the number of zip codes that…

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CMS Proposed Rule on CY2015 Fee Schedule Changes

The AAA determined the recently published proposed rule on updates to the Medicare ambulance fee scheduled for CY 2015 likely significantly underestimated the number of zip codes that would change geographic area designation. In the proposed rule, CMS stated 120 zip codes would change from rural to urban and 100 zip codes would change from…

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2014 Ride-Along Toolkit

Congressional Ambulance Ride-Alongs and National Emergency Preparedness Month

The immediate response to a catastrophic disaster, act of terrorism or other public health emergency involves many local public safety, public health and health care organizations. As first responders, America’s ambulance service providers are an essential resource and perform vital services as part of each community’s emergency response system and health care safety net. Therefore, we urge ambulance service providers to:

  1. Participate on local and state homeland security advisory panels
  2. Upgrade emergency preparedness and response plans regarding ambulance response capabilities during a disaster incident
  3. Develop and submit grant applications to local (city and county) or state government officials to secure local, state and federal funds for planning, exercises, equipment and personal protective equipment
  4. Organize Ride-Alongs for your members of Congress during the August Recess
  5. Participate in local National Emergency Preparedness Month (September) activities
  6. Generate local media to increase public awareness about the role of ambulance service providers in the community’s response to disasters and to provide an incentive to local officials to provide the necessary funding

The following tool kit is designed to assist members of the American Ambulance Association to achieve all six of the above objectives.

Drug Supply Shortage Letters to Congress – 2012

On April 5, 2012, AAA joined  the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA), National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), International Association of EMS Chiefs (IAEMS), National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) in urging Congress to address critical drug shortages.

Pledge of Support to the Office of Homeland Security

AAA Board of Directors Resolution

Whereas, the American Ambulance Association (AAA) represents ambulance services across the United States that participate in serving more than 95% of the urban U.S. population with emergency and non-emergency care and medical transportation services, and

Whereas, AAA members play a key role in our nation’s homeland security as a first responder, and

Whereas, the members of the American Ambulance Association work closely with their community’s local emergency response services such as fire and rescue, hospitals, public health, long-term care and other community-based health care organizations, and

Whereas, the nation’s Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians are highly trained health care professionals on the front line everyday participating in the pre-hospital safety net for people all across America, therefore,

Be it resolved that the AAA Board of Directors, on behalf of its membership and the ambulance industry across the United States, does hereby pledge its commitment to the Office of Homeland Security, and its Director Tom Ridge, to assist in the planning and implementation of various homeland security operations within our area of expertise.

Adopted November 17, 2001
By the American Ambulance Association
Board of Directors

Call for Affirmation of Ambulance Services Vital Role in Disaster Response

AAA Board of Directors Resolution

Whereas, during a catastrophic disaster, act of terrorism or other public health threat, local ambulance services are an essential resource and a vital part of the emergency response system, and

Whereas, dramatic evidence of this critical role was the quick response of ambulance services immediately following the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001, and

Whereas, the American Ambulance Association (AAA) represents ambulance services across the United States that participate in serving more than 95% of the urban U.S. population with emergency and non-emergency care and medical transportation, and

Whereas, especially during this time of heightened alert, affirming the role of the nation’s ambulance services in the local, state and federal homeland security planning and response is essential, therefore

Be it resolved that the AAA Board of Directors, on behalf of its membership and the ambulance industry across the United States, does hereby recommend the following…

  • Safety of ambulance service personnel and patients, and the security of ambulance facilities, supply inventories and vehicles;
  • Effective use of ambulance resources benefiting the patients and communities we serve;
  • Integration of local ambulance services into emergency management including: 1) mitigation, 2) preparedness, 3) response, and 4) recovery;
  • Timely cost reimbursement to offset the financial impact of disaster preparedness and response; and
  • Accurate recognition of critical role of ambulance service providers, before, during and after an event.

Adopted by the American Ambulance Association
Board of Directors
November 17, 2001