CMS Announces Comment Period for National Expansion of Prior Authorization Process

On October 29, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a notice in the Federal Register announcing an opportunity for the public to provide comments on the proposed national expansion of the prior authorization process for repetitive, scheduled non-emergent ground ambulance transportation.  CMS refers to this process as its “RSNAT Prior Authorization Model.”  The CMS Notice can be viewed in its entirety at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-10-29/pdf/2019-23584.pdf. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, federal agencies are required to publish a notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, and to allow 60 days for the public to comment on the proposed action.  Interested parties are encouraged to provide comments regarding the agency’s burden estimates and other aspects of the proposed collection of information, including the necessity and utility of the proposed information for the proper performance of the agency’s functions, and ways in which the collection of such information can be enhanced. In this instance, CMS is indicating that it is pursuing approval to potentially expand the existing RSNAT Prior Authorization Model nationwide.  Currently, the RSNAT Prior Authorization Model is in place in 8 states (DE, MD, NJ, NC, PA, SC, VA, and WV) and the...

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HHS OIG Issues Proposed AKS Safe Harbor Rule

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a proposed rule titled “Medicare and State Health Care Programs: Fraud and Abuse; Revisions to Safe Harbors Under the Anti-Kickback Statute, and Civil Monetary Penalties Regarding Beneficiary Inducements.”  The proposed rule would amend the existing safe harbors to the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the civil monetary penalty rules (CMPs).  These changes are part of HHS’ Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care.  The stated purpose of these changes is to reduce the regulatory barriers and accelerate the transformation of the healthcare system away from the traditional fee-for-service payment model, and towards a value-based system that rewards healthcare providers for better outcomes.  The proposed rule can be viewed in its entirety at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-10-17/pdf/2019-22027.pdf. The proposed rule makes nearly a dozen major changes to the safe harbors under the AKS and the rules related to CMPs.  Among these are revisions to the recently created safe harbor for local transportation.  The proposed change to the safe harbor for free or discounted local transportation is discussed in greater detail below. The OIG is soliciting comments on a wide range of topics raised in the proposed rule. The AAA is not taking...

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2019 AMBY Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2019 AMBY Awards. The AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize  mobile healthcare. The mission of the awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the ambulance industry by fostering a culture of collaboration, cooperation, and a passion for excellence in patient care. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Conference & Trade Show Awards Reception on November 5 in Nashville. Please join us in congratulating our 2019 winners! Clinical Outcome Program Medic Ambulance Service Inc. CPR Initiative Community Impact Program Advanced Medical Transport CPR Race to the Top American Medical Response (Manchester/Nashua, NH) Safe Station Project Sunstar Paramedics Health & Safety Fair Employee Programs American Medical Response (Buffalo, NY) Recruitment/Training Program Northstar EMS, Inc Medical Director Engagement Through Technology Public Relations Campaign Acadian Ambulance Service Hometown Hero Initiative Mecklenburg EMS Agency Bystander CPR Initiative With Pulsepoint Once again, join us in celebrating the 2019 winners! Learn more about the AMBYs.

2019 AAA Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce this year’s award winners. Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show Membership Meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners! J. Walter Schaefer Award Dr. John Becknell The J. Walter Schaefer Award is given annually to an individual whose work in EMS has contributed positively to the advancement of the industry as a whole. Dr. John Becknell has achieved this honor for his lifelong commitment to improving the health and wellness of mobile healthcare professionals. Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award Dr. John Russell The Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of the first Executive Director of the American Ambulance Association. It recognizes a volunteer leader who has made a significant long-term impact on the association. your decades of service, commitment, and dedication to the private ambulance industry, the AAA, and its members. Dr. John Russell has achieved this through his many years of service to the AAA as a volunteer leader. President’s Award These awards are bestowed by the President to volunteer leaders who have shown commitment to the advancement of the AAA, above and beyond the call of duty. (more…)

Submit Photos for the AAA’s 40th Anniversary!

As we prepare to celebrate the AAA’s 40th anniversary at this year’s Annual Conference & Tradeshow, we are asking for your help! If you have photos or other items commemorating your time as an AAA member from the past 40 years, or if you would like items to be included in our anniversary time capsule which will be sealed until the AAA’s 50th anniversary, please fill out this form. Submissions will be featured in an anniversary collage displayed at AAA 2019. Deadline for submissions is Friday, November 1st.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule The U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) issued the final FLSA overtime rule which will make nearly 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime pay. In the announcement published yesterday, the DOL finalized the first updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in fifteen years. This ends a several-year battle over the adjustments to the FLSA which have continued since they were initially published in 2015 during the Obama Administration. The new rules become effective on January 1, 2020, which will give employers a few months to prepare. The changes to the FLSA include updates to the standard salary level for each of the exemptions to the overtime provisions. Under the new rule, the minimum salary threshold would increase from the current level of $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year). In addition, the Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) salary level is increasing from $100,000 to $107,432 annually. Also, the rule permits incentive pay and bonuses to count towards up to 10% of the standard salary level provided it is paid at least annually. These changes will require that employers conduct an analysis of any...

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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…)