Submit Comments on Ambulance Data Collection System

Yesterday, the AAA submitted our comment letter to the proposed rule on changes for FY2020 to the Medicare ambulance fee schedule. The comment letter focused on the section of the proposed rule on the ambulance data collection system. For a copy of the detailed 28-page comment letter, please click here. The AAA is very pleased with the approach CMS is taking on data collection which is consistent with the intent of the Congress and the methodology developed and advocated by the AAA. While the AAA comment letter is extremely detailed, our only concern is CMS was not able to test or pilot the sampling methodology and data collection instrument prior to inclusion in the proposed rule. Testing would have allowed CMS to fine-tune the survey and may impact the quality of the first year of data. Now, it is important that AAA members submit their own letters to demonstrate support for the AAA letter and its key points. AAA members should go to www.regulations.gov and make three points as follows: Our organization supports the approach CMS is proposing to collect ambulance data and we thank CMS and its contractors. Since CMS was unable to test the sampling methodology and data (more…)

2019 AAA Election—Floor Nominations

To All AAA Members, In accordance with the AAA Bylaws, floor nominations for the Board, Ethics and Honorary Membership positions for the 2019 election will be accepted by the AAA board prior to their approval of the slate of candidates. If you are interested in a position or nominating another member, but have not filled out your nomination form or candidate’s questionnaire, please contact a AAA Board member so they can place your name on the slate prior to the closing of nominations. All floor nominations must be received by 5:00pm Eastern on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact Maria Bianchi, AAA Executive Director (mbianchi@ambulance.org). Please follow this link to contact a AAA board member....

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CMS Announces Extension of Prior Authorization Program

On September 16, 2019, CMS published a notice in the Federal Register that it would be extending the prior authorization demonstration project for another year. The extension is limited to those states where prior authorization was in effect for calendar year 2019. The affected states are Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia. The extension will run through December 1, 2020.  In its notice, CMS indicated that the prior authorization demonstration project is being extended “while we continue to work towards nationwide expansion.”  This strongly suggests that CMS believes the program has met the statutory requirements for nationwide expansion under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.  However, CMS indicated that it would use the additional year to continue to test whether prior authorization helps reduce expenditures, while maintaining or improving the quality of care offered to Medicare beneficiaries. CMS has also updated its CMS Ambulance Prior Authorization webpage to reflect the expansion of prior authorization in the existing states through December 1, 2020....

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Spotlight: Eric Chase, Pafford EMS

Eric Chase Paramedic & Field Training Officer Pafford EMS Bethany, Oklahoma Other Titles & Roles Member, American Ambulance Association Education Committee Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in Warren, PA. I had three brothers and we were all very active in sports, theater and community activities. We had family vacations that allowed us to explore the history and splendor of the US. Growing up, I believe we learned the value of diversity and the importance of acceptance of those different than us. We had several students from abroad stay with us for over 6 months each as well as youth sports teams that would travel in town from various states. We also would travel and stay at the homes of people we did not know for high school events that lasted more than two days. I grew up surrounded by people that treated individuals well. We were taught to believe we were not better than others. Your history with EMS I have been involved in EMS since 2005 when I took my EMT course. I matriculated to Paramedic in 2008-2009. I have held positions as EMT, EMT-IV, Paramedic, Fire Paramedic, Flight Paramedic, Field Training, Training Officer and (more…)

Financial Hardship Policies: Steps for Your Protection [Sponsored]

By Eric van Doesburg, MP Cloud Technologies In an industry whose sole focus is to help those in need, it’s natural for us to want to assist patients financially when they’re in hardship situations. Waiving deductibles and copays for patients that have either claimed poverty, or simply for bills that seem too small to make a difference has become common practice. Although this is well-intentioned, it can easily put your company in harm’s way. “There is no question of if Medicare will audit you, but when.” The Federal False Claims Act requires businesses to bill patient’s copays and deductibles unless the company puts in place a clearly defined, legally binding policy. Without such a policy, any actions taken in regard to waiving payments would effectively overbill Medicare, leading to Medicare auditing the company for payment as well as instituting additional penalties. And in this day and age, there is no question of if Medicare will audit you, but when. You can still help out the less fortunate while working within the letter of the law, but only with the proper Financial Hardship Policies put into practice. We urge you to seek legal counsel when crafting and adopting a hardship policy, (more…)

Spotlight: Desiree Partain, Medstar Mobile Healthcare

Desiree Partain Mobile Integrated Healthcare Manager Medstar Mobile Healthcare Fort Worth, Texas Other Titles & Roles MIH Manager at Large, IBSC, NAEMT member Tell us a little about yourself. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, California. I have a military ( marine grandfather and navy grandfather, brother, and nephew) and first responder (law enforcement mother) family background. Days were spent in the water, whether it was our backyard pool or the beach. My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me at a young age that began as the neighborhood babysitter, to various positions at assisted living facilities and finally in EMS. I learned to take pride in the things I had and my work, whether it was completing a household chore, a writing assignment at school, or the vehicles I owned. Your history with EMS My mother was a police officer in the town I was raised in so the police and fire department was often my home away from home. I can remember being so fascinated with the ambulance and in admiration of the paramedics when I would go to visit. I told my parents when I was little that when I grew up, I would become (more…)