NAEMT Survey | Impact of COVID-19

A year has passed since NAEMT released a national survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 survey captured real time data on how EMS agencies and fire departments were being affected by the pandemic. It allowed NAEMT to share with elected officials the story of EMS, serving on the frontlines of this public health crisis. This data motivated Congress, state legislatures, and government agencies to take action to support EMS.

We believe that EMS agency and fire department leaders should be surveyed again to collect data on how the last twelve months of the pandemic have affected their workforce, finances, operations, equipment and supplies.

We kindly ask for less than 10 minutes of your time to respond to this survey to help us provide a clear picture for federal and state leaders on the areas of greatest concern that need to be addressed.

Take NAEMT Survey

To collect and analyze the data in a timely fashion, we ask that you complete this short survey by Monday, April 19. Please be sure that only one leader from your agency completes the survey.

Thank you for your continued dedication to advancing EMS.

Sincerely,

Bruce Evans, MPA, NRP, CFO, SPO

President, NAEMT

CMS | Sequestration Update | Temporary Claims Hold

From CMS on March 30, 2021

Temporary Claims Hold Pending Congressional Action to Extend 2% Sequester Reduction Suspension

In anticipation of possible Congressional action to extend the 2% sequester reduction suspension, we instructed the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to hold all claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2021, for a short period without affecting providers’ cash flow. This will minimize the volume of claims the MACs must reprocess if Congress extends the suspension; the MACs will automatically reprocess any claims paid with the reduction applied if necessary.

Senate Passes Sequestration Suspension Extension Bill

Last week, the Senate by a vote of 90 to 2 passed legislation (H.R. 1868) to further extend the suspension of the 2% Medicare sequestration cut. H.R. 1868 would extend the suspension from March 31 to December 31. The Senate amended the bill so it goes back to the House which will likely consider the legislation the week of April 12 when it returns from the Easter holiday break. The House is expected to easily pass the bill. CMS will hold claims until the House passes the bill to avoid any retroactivity issues.

The House had previously passed a version of H.R. 1868 which would not only extend the sequestration suspension until December 31 but also prevent a potential 4% sequestration cut later this year. The additional cut is the result of a provision in the Budget Control Act which was triggered with passage of the American Rescue Plan. Senate Republicans objected to addressing the additional cut as part of the legislation and a compromise was reached to just extend the 2% cut suspension for the time being.

The AAA as well as the IAFC, IAFF, NVFC, CFSI and NAEMT had written to congressional leaders in support of passage of the House-passed version of H.R. 1868.

CAAS | Standards v4.0 First Draft Available for Public Comment

The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) is pleased to announce the first public comment period on the first draft of the CAAS Accreditation Standards document version 4.0. All materially affected parties including members of the EMS community, EMS groups and associations, affiliated healthcare groups and associations, members of other public health and safety communities, and the general public are encouraged to review and comment on these proposed standards.

The revision of the CAAS Accreditation Standards was an extensive process conducted by the Standards Review Committee, a diverse and comprehensive team of EMS, Fire, and healthcare professionals that has dedicated over 250 work hours and engaged with subject matter experts and materially impacted stakeholders across EMS and healthcare to create this first draft of the v4.0 CAAS Accreditation Standards.

These standards were developed in accordance with the standard establishing policies set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI.) CAAS is an ANSI Standards Developing Organization (SDO) committed to the development of Ambulance Accreditation Standards in a fair, balanced, accessible, and responsive manner.

This is the first public comment period, and we encourage you to review and provide your feedback to the CAAS Standards Review Committee using this online form. This public comment period will be open from March 26, 2021 until May 25, 2021.

CAAS v4.0 Accreditation Standards – First Draft and Public Comment Form

We ask that you submit one form for each standard comment you have – please do not comment on multiple standards in one form. We want to be able to review the feedback in an organized manner.

If you have any questions on the proposed standards or the standard-setting process, please contact us at caas-staff@tcag.com. We look forward to your feedback.

GAO | Appointments to State All Payer Claims Databases Advisory Committee

From the General Accountability Office

WASHINGTON, DC (March 29, 2021) – Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of six members to the newly created State All Payer Claims Databases Advisory Committee (SAPCDAC).

“At almost $4 trillion dollars annually and growing, health care spending poses significant challenges for both the economy as a whole as well as federal and state budgets. State All Payer Claims Databases can assist a wide variety of stakeholders—policymakers, consumers, providers, and payers—in monitoring health care costs, access, and quality,” Dodaro said. “We had a number of exceptional candidates interested in serving on the committee, and the experiences and perspectives of today’s appointees should greatly benefit SAPCDAC as it advises the Secretary of Labor on data standards for voluntary reporting to State All Payer Claims Databases.”

The newly appointed members are Niall Brennan, Cheryl Damberg, Emma Hoo, Frederick Isasi, Mike Kapsa, and Josephine Porter.

Congress established the committee in December 2020 to make recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on the standardized format and associated guidance for the voluntary reporting by group health plans to State All Payer Claims Databases. The Comptroller General is responsible for naming six committee members. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor has responsibility for appointing nine committee members representing various agencies within the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, as well as one chair and one representative of a State All Payer Claims Database.

The No Surprises Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, requires the committee to provide recommendations to the Secretary of Labor within 180 days.

For more information, please visit the SAPCDAC website, or email the Department of Labor at SAPCDAC@dol.gov. Other calls should be directed to Chuck Young in GAO’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800.

Brief biographies of the new committee members follow:

Niall J. Brennan, MPP, is the President and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute in Washington, DC, where he leads one of the largest multi-payer claims databases in the country, with 100 million covered lives across the commercial and Medicare sectors. Prior to that role, he held numerous positions involving health care data analytics, including as Chief Data Office at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and as a Senior Analyst at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Mr. Brennan advises Congressional staff and other key health system stakeholders on important health policy and transparency topics, and he has testified before Congress on these issues. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Health Data Organizations and was a cofounder and member of the All Payer Claims Database Council. Mr. Brennan received his MPP from Georgetown University.

Cheryl L. Damberg, PhD, is a Principal Senior Economist and Distinguished Chair in Healthcare Payment Policy at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. She is also Professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She leads health economic and health services research studies focused on health system performance, alternative payment models, price transparency, and the use of incentives to drive system improvement. Before joining RAND, Dr. Damberg held numerous positions, including Director of Research and Quality at the Pacific Business Group on Health. She is an international expert on health system redesign and has advised Congress, federal agencies, and the governments of Great Britain, Germany, and South Korea on the use of incentives and ways to measure provider performance. Dr. Damberg was appointed by California’s governor Newsom as Vice-Chair of the California Healthcare Payments Database (HPD) Review Committee to establish a plan for California’s all payer claims database. She now serves as a member of the HPD Advisory Committee that is guiding the implementation of the California APCD. Dr. Damberg received her PhD in Public Policy from RAND.

Emma Hoo is the Director of Pay-for-Value at the Purchaser Business Group on Health in San Francisco, CA. In that role, she works closely with employer and purchaser groups as well as health plan, provider, and consumer stakeholders to advance health care data availability and transparency. Her focus areas include advancing common Accountable Care Organization quality and efficiency measures, measurement-based behavioral health care, and adoption of patient-reported outcomes measures. She has managed data analytics and evaluation for several pilot programs to test payment reform and health delivery redesign, including an Intensive Outpatient Care Program under a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Award. She also supported the Better Quality Information initiative that aggregated Medicare and commercial claims data to assess the quality of care at various levels of the delivery system. Previously, Ms. Hoo was the Director of Operation at Baycare Medical Group, Inc., where she managed overall operations and management information systems for a 200-member primary care group. She also serves on numerous committees, including the California Healthcare Payments Data Review Committee, which supports the planning and development of a statewide all payer claims database. Ms. Hoo received her BA cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University.

Frederick Isasi, JD, MPH, is the Executive Director of Families USA in Washington, DC. In that role he directs national, state, and local initiatives to ensure accessible and affordable health care for all consumers. He has testified before congressional committees on the importance of establishing a national all payer claims database to improve the quality of health care, reduce costs, and provide transparency for consumers, policy makers, and other stakeholders. Prior to joining Families USA, Mr. Isasi held various leadership positions involving health care research and state multi-payer claims databases, including as Health Division Director at the National Governors Association and Vice President of Health Policy at The Advisory Board Company. Mr. Isasi received his JD from Duke University in Durham, NC, and his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael J. KapsaPhD, is the Chief Financial Officer of SolidaritUS Health Inc. in Washington, DC, working with local exchanges that share claims databases to develop cost-effective primary care programs for employer and labor union employees. Dr. Kapsa is also Chief Economist for America’s Agenda, a national alliance of international labor unions and employers, where he helps develop federal and state health policy and primary care delivery models aimed at reducing costs and improving health care quality and outcomes. His prior experience includes leadership positions negotiating health and other benefits for various labor union employees, including the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, the Service Employees International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Dr. Kapsa received his PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Josephine Porter, MPH, is the Director of the Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, overseeing academic health care research and serving as Principal Investigator on a number of research projects. In addition, she is the Co-Chair of All Payer Claims Database (APCD) Council, a partnership with the National Association of Health Data Organizations, which serves as a national learning network for APCDs. In this role, she serves as a national authority on APCD issues, presenting on state and national panels with a focus on the use of APCDs to promote healthcare transparency. She was the lead author on an APCD Development Manual and has been actively involved in the development of a data submission standard to help bring data submission in line across the states. Prior to that, she held a variety of leadership positions in the private and public sectors. Ms. Porter received her MPH from Boston University.

New Benefit | Credit Card Fee Class Action Settlement

Dear AAA Members:

As you may know, there is a class action lawsuit pending in the U.S. alleging Visa, MasterCard and their member banks engaged in anticompetitive practices. The case, Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement, alleges activity that includes collusion which artificially inflated the interchange fee that all AAA members paid to accept Visa and MasterCard branded credit cards. The proposed settlement provides that any merchant that accepted Visa and MasterCard credit cards at any time between January 1, 2004 and January 25, 2019 will be entitled to participate in the $5.54 billion-dollar settlement

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Class Action Refund has over 17 years of experience in managing complex claims and is an innovator of a niche service that specializes in the recovery of antitrust settlements for businesses, which includes large organizations like the AAA. Class Action Refund can ease the burden of self-filing. The life cycle of a claim can take several years to settle and may require various types of documentation and correspondence with the claims administrator in order to substantiate the claim. Class Action Refund will manage the entire filing process and inform you of milestones as necessary, so that you may stay focused on your core business. Additionally, there are NO OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS TO AAA MEMBERS. Class Action Refund will reduce its normal 33% contingency fee of funds recovered to 25% for AAA members.  If no recovery is made, then no fee is charged.

Any member interested in availing themselves of Class Action Refund’s recovery management services, for the Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement can quickly and easily sign up below!

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Mr. Hugh Bellingreri, Senior Account Manager, is the contact person for members. Please call Hugh directly at 914-630-5116, or you can reach him by email at hbellingreri@classactionrefund.com with any questions. 

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Disclaimer: No claim forms are available at this time, and no claim-filing deadline exists. No-cost assistance will be available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during any claims-filing period. No one is required to sign up with any third-party service in order to participate in any settlement. For additional information regarding the status of the litigation, interested persons may visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com, the Court-approved website for this case.

CMS COVID-19 Snapshot March 24

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released our monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population. The updated data show over 2.7 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and nearly 700,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.  This update includes new data on COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates by race/ethnicity.

The updated snapshot covers the period from January 1 to December 26, 2020. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by January 22, 2021.

View the Updated Snapshot