Former Employee Plants False Story Against AAA President

AAA Fully Supports Mr. Mark Postma, Sunstar COO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Amanda Riordan
Sr Director of Membership & Marketing, AAA
703-610-0264
ariordan@ambulance.org

McLean, VA–The American Ambulance Association has recently become aware of baseless Facebook and “prank” news site allegations of arrest leveled against our President, Mr. Mark Postma. Mr. Postma is Chief Operating Officer of Sunstar Paramedics in Largo, Florida.

These scurrilous claims were posted to social media in the form of a fake news story created by a former employee. Mr. Postma and Sunstar Paramedics have requested the post’s immediate removal from Facebook as well as Channel 23 News, a “prank” news site. Additionally, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the defamatory posting.

Mr. Postma and Sunstar Paramedics have the full support of the American Ambulance Association as they take all steps necessary to delete this libelous story and defend Mr. Postma’s sterling reputation.

# # #

About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

 

 

 

CMS Letter Regarding Merit-Based Incentive Payment System

Over the past week, multiple members have contacted the American Ambulance Association to report that they have received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) related to their participation in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The letter appears to have been sent to any entity with a taxpayer identification number (TIN) that is enrolled in the Medicare Part B Program. The stated purpose of the letter is to inform the provider whether it is exempt from participation in the MIPS program.

This member advisory is being issued to advise ambulance suppliers that:

(1) they are not eligible to participate in the MIPS program
(2) no positive or negative adjustments will be made to the ambulance suppliers Medicare payments
(3) no further action is required on their part

Therefore, AAA members that received this letter can safely disregard it. 

 

House Passes American Health Care Act (AHCA)

The House this afternoon voted 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), as amended. The bill now heads to the Senate where it will be up for intense debate. The AAA will continue to monitor this legislation as it makes its way through the Senate.

The House also voted 429-0 to pass a bill (H.R. 2192) from Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) that would eliminate a congressional exemption from health care changes. The exemption was included in AHCA to comply with budget reconciliation rules.

Two key amendments were added to the healthcare bill in order to ensure Republican support, the Upton Amendment and the MacArthur Amendment. These amendments were two of the more substantial changes to the bill since it was originally introduced. The AAA is currently working on drafting a detailed overview of this legislation and will distribute to members once completed.

 

ACA Repeal and Replace Update

Congress returns to Washington next week, and House Republican Leadership maintains an ambitious agenda to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) despite an unclear path navigating its moderate and conservative factions. President Trump, who refuses to let health care reform disappear from the agenda, is especially eager for a victory, and today predicted AHCA would pass within the next few weeks.

During the in-district work period these past two weeks, the White House, House Leadership and Republican committee staff have kept conversations going with the two disagreeing factions within their caucus – the moderate Tuesday Group and the conservative Freedom Caucus. At this stage, there appears to be no agreement within the Republican Caucus, and there are varying reports on how close are discussions. The wild card is whether President Trump and his team can help force a deal. As soon as a deal materializes, the House will move the bill to the floor.

In addition to health care, the discretionary aspects of the Federal government are under a temporary continuing resolution which expires at the end of next week. An effort is underway to pass a measure that will fund the government through the remainder of the 2017 Fiscal Year, which ends September 30. This effort is not without controversy, and includes an attempt by the Trump Administration to appropriate funds to build its border wall. However, Republicans will need at least eight Senate Democrats to vote with them to pass an omnibus spending bill, so compromise will be required. There may be a series of short-term funding patches as Congress considers spending priorities.

One of the more interesting issues Congress and the Trump Administration face is what to do with Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies that were meant to help reduce cost sharing (deductibles, co-payments) for especially poor, non-Medicaid eligible individuals buying insurance on the exchange. House Republicans had successfully sued the Obama Administration in district court arguing that Congress must appropriate the money before the ACA’s Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies could be paid. With an injunction from the district court in place, Congress must decide whether to appropriate the money in the upcoming spending bill. Some Democrats have stated they will not vote to pass any budget without funds for the CSR program included. If Republicans can pass a budget without funding the CSR subsidies, they aren’t out of the woods yet on the CSR program. Specifically, the President still has to decide whether to appeal the district court decision on May 22. If President Trump chooses to accept the district court decision and there is no appropriation, the President could unilaterally shut down the CSR subsidy program. The President has threatened to use this court decision to bring Democrats to the negotiating table, in the event that the program is not appropriated and AHCA is not passed.

The AAA will continue to keep members up to date on these issues.

2017 AAA Legislative Awards

Lifetime Achievement of Susan McHenry

Congratulations to Susan McHenry of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of EMS! The National Association of State EMS Officials passes Resolution 2017-01 honoring the lifetime achievement of Susan McHenry. Her 40 year career began at the Virginia Department of Health in 1976 and has continued at the on at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of EMS since 1996. View the resolution here.

CMS Issues Final Market Stabilization Rule

On Thursday, April 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final “Marketplace Stabilization Rule”. This is the final version of a rule that was first proposed on February 15, 2017. Last month, AAA consultant, Kathy Lester, published a blog post explaining the then proposed rule (“Administration’s Proposed Rule on Marketplace Stabilization”).

The final rule makes several policy changes to improve the market and promote stability, including:

    • 2018 Annual Open Enrollment Period: The final rule adjusts the annual open enrollment period for 2018 to more closely align with Medicare and the private market. The next open enrollment period will start on November 1, 2017, and run through December 15, 2017, encouraging individuals to enroll in coverage prior to the beginning of the year.
    • Reduce Fraud, Waste, and Abuse:  The final rule promotes program integrity by requiring individuals to submit supporting documentation for special enrollment periods and ensures that only those who are eligible are able to enroll. It will encourage individuals to stay enrolled in coverage all year, reducing gaps in coverage and resulting in fewer individual mandate penalties and help to lower premiums.
    • Promote Continuous Coverage: The final rule promotes personal responsibility by allowing issuers to require individuals to pay back past due premiums before enrolling into a plan with the same issuer the following year. This is intended to address gaming and encourage individuals to maintain continuous coverage throughout the year, which will have a positive impact on the risk pool.
    • Ensure More Choices for Consumers:  For the 2018 plan year and beyond, the final rule allows issuers additional actuarial value flexibility to develop more choices with lower premium options for consumers, and to continue offering existing plans.
    • Empower States & Reduce Duplication:  The final rule reduces waste of taxpayer dollars by eliminating duplicative review of network adequacy by the federal government.  The rule returns oversight of network adequacy to states that are best positioned to evaluate network adequacy.

Read the Final Rule

Senator Susan Collins Named Legislator of the Year

For Immediate Release

Senator Collins To Receive Highest Legislative Honor from American Ambulance Association

To Be Recognized as AAA Legislator of the Year

Contact
Amanda Riordan
703-610-9018
ariordan@ambulance.org
www.ambulance.org

Washington, D.C. – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) has named Senator Susan Collins of Maine as the AAA Legislator of the Year, in recognition of her strong advocacy for emergency medical services. Senator Collins is invited to receive this honor at the AAA’s annual Stars of Life recognition ceremony on June 13 in Washington, D.C.

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life pays tribute to the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as 2017 Stars of Life. In addition to Senator Collins’s recognition as as Legislator of the Year, twenty-four United States Senators and Representatives will receive Legislative Recognition Awards for their support of ambulance services.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Senator Collins has been a tireless advocate for emergency medical services, both in Maine and across our country. The AAA is honored to present her with the distinction of AAA Legislator of the Year.”

Senator Collins is a primary sponsor of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act which would make permanent the current temporary Medicare ambulance relief. This bill ensures that ambulance service providers across the nation have the resources necessary to provide often life-saving emergency- as well as vital non-emergency medical transportation.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs from 2003 to 2007, Senator Collins ensured both governmental and nongovernmental medical service providers were included in the definition of an emergency responder in the Homeland Security Act. This enabled ambulance service providers as first responders access to critical funding and resources.

First elected to the senate in 1996, Senator Collins has earned a national reputation for working across party lines to seek consensus on our nation’s most important issues. Senator Collins has carried out her longstanding commitment to healthcare issues through her work on the Special Committee on Aging as well as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

In recognition of her ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United States, AAA is proud to call Senator Collins our Legislator of the Year.

# # #

About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

President’s Perspective April 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Member,

As you know, the Medicare ambulance add-on payments are set to expire on December 31, 2017. The AAA Board, Government Affairs Committee, advocacy consultants, and staff have been working diligently to build support on Capitol Hill to ensure that this critical revenue remains in place.

As we continue to connect with policymakers in preparation for the introduction of our legislation, I ask that you pay special attention to the requests for advocacy action you receive from the AAA. Now, more than ever, we need the active participation of each member organization to ensure our collective future!

Capital Campaign and Financial Status

In addition to representing our members’ current interests in Washington, AAA strives to serve ambulance providers over the longer term. It is key that the Association build a pool of capital for use in case of an unexpected legislative or regulatory threat, or once-in-a-blue-moon strategic opportunity. For these reasons, I announced the creation of a Capital Campaign the day I assumed the office of President. Funds contributed to this campaign are managed separately from other assets, and can only be accessed after a full AAA Board vote.

To date, we have raised more than $250,000 of our $1mm goal through the generous contributions of our fellow members. My deepest thanks to all who have given. If you have not done so already, please consider donating today.

In addition to the Capital Campaign, we continue to build the overall financial strength of our association. Through close management of the budget, streamlined regional meetings, and increased membership, AAA continues to thrive. Thank you to Shawn Baird, Finance Chair, and David Tetrault, Membership Chair, and both committees for your hard work. It is paying off!

Stars of Life

I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, DC in June at Stars of Life. Stars recognizes EMS providers from across the nation who have served their communities with distinction. The Stars, accompanied by their executive-level Hosts, meet with legislators to shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare network.

I hope you will enjoy meeting the 2017 class of Stars as we share their stories and accomplishments on our website and social media.

Education

The Education Committee has been hard at work developing the program for the 2017 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show. We look forward to announcing the full agenda in June, and hope that you will join us in exciting Las Vegas this November.

In the meantime, why not learn from our experts at an AAA Live! Workshop here at Sunstar Paramedics on May 3, or at Superior Air-Ground Ambulance in Illinois in July? If you’re short on time, AAA is also proud to offer a wide variety of engaging webinars on human resources, reimbursement, compliance, and other topics.

It continues to be my pleasure to serve so many talented, dedicated health care professionals. Thank you for your service to your communities, and I wish you continued success in 2017!

Mark Postma
President
American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”

 

White House Memorandum on 2-for-1 Regulatory Order

On January 30, 2017, the Trump administration published Executive Order 13771 “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” which requires federal agencies to identify two rules for elimination for each new regulation issued. On April 5, 2017, the White House released a memorandum providing additional guidance on the implementation of Executive Order 13771. This memo supplements Office of Management and Budget (OMB) interim guidance issued on February 2, clarifies how agencies can comply with the order and explains which new regulations must be offset. The memo also notes that federal spending regulatory actions that cause only income transfers between taxpayers and beneficiaries (such as regulations associated with Medicare spending), and those that establish new fees or penalties without imposing any new costs, do not need to be offset. The AAA will continue to monitor this executive order and keep you informed.

Read the full Memorandum

ACHA Update – High-risk Pool Amendment

The House Rules Committee met last week to consider a new amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to establish a federal risk-sharing fund and appropriate $15 billion for a high-risk pool program from 2018 to 2026.

The amendment, which aims to reduce premiums for those with pre-existing conditions, is sponsored by Reps. Gary Palmer (R-AL) and Dave Schweikert (R-AZ), both members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Washington Post: “GOP House leaders say health bill tweak shows progress, but larger divisions remain

The program is reportedly modeled after a successful initiative in the State of Maine. The federal government would run the program initially, but each state will have the ability to take over the high-risk pool after three years.

The amendment represents one area of limited agreement in the broader AHCA debate. Conservative House Members are likely to support it to the extent it shifts authority and funding to the states to help keep premiums down, and moderates are likely to support it because it would add a layer of protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions. It is unclear whether the level of funding appropriated will be sufficient to meet the need, however.

The development is not evidence of a breakthrough, however, and negotiations are far from over. Rather, it is a strategic move by House Republican leaders to signal progress in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal-and-replace debate before lawmakers head home for a two-week congressional recess at the end of this week. It also is unclear whether the amendment will have any impact on the broader areas of disagreement between the House and Senate regarding the timing, substance and process for ACA repeal.

The decision was reportedly made at a meeting the President convened last week with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Speaker Ryan indicated that work will continue “in the days and weeks ahead,” suggesting a longer time-frame for any legislative action beyond last week’s vote in the House Rules Committee.

Senate Confirms Seema Verma as CMS Administrator

On Monday, the Senate voted 55-43 to confirm the nomination of Seema Verma to be the new Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Ms. Verma was involved in designing Indiana’s Medicaid expansion.

Ms. Verma will be working alongside HHS Secretary Price to help implement President Trump’s healthcare agenda.

House Holds Hearing on Veterans Choice Program

The House VA Committee hearing started at 7:30 p.m., but it was well-attended and lasted until 10 p.m. The witnesses included Senator John McCain (R-AZ), VA Secretary David Shulkin, and representatives of the VA Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. Senator McCain and Secretary Shulkin were both warmly welcomed by Members of the Committee on a bipartisan basis.

Chairman Roe (R-TN) emphasized the need to act quickly to extend the authorization for the Veterans Choice Program, which expires on August 7. To that end, the House VA Committee is voting today on a bill to eliminate the sunset of the program’s authorization. In addition, the Committee will consider broader legislation later this year to make comprehensive reforms to the Choice Program. He noted that the VA has additional funds available but will not be able to spend them once the authorization expires. A copy of Chairman Roe’s opening statement is available here.

Secretary Shulkin testified in support of extending the Choice Program, and he clarified that the VA was not seeking additional funding – just the authority to spend funds already obligated. He noted that the VA already is being forced to deny Choice Program coverage to veterans whose episodes of care would extend beyond the August 7 expiration date (e.g., pregnancy).

Secretary Shulkin also urged Congress to support the VA’s efforts to bring appointment scheduling in-house for care coordination purposes. However, the VA OIG witness noted challenges in records going out to community-based providers and coming back to the VA. The GAO witness also underscored the need for the VA to have better systems in place in order to effectively coordinate care, which will take time to procure and implement. Rep. Brownley (D-CA) echoed that point, calling the VA’s information technology systems a “Model T in a Tesla world.” Rep. Esty (D-CT) also urged improvements in the VA’s information systems and expressed concern that veterans are being improperly billed.

Other Members, including Rep. Wenstrup (R-OH) and Rep. Poliquin (R-ME), raised concerns about continuing delays in the processing of claims and payments to providers. Secretary Shulkin agreed that providers deserve to be paid for their services, noting his own experience as a physician in the private sector. He acknowledged that the VA is not processing enough claims electronically today, and he advised that he plans to pursue options outside the VA for systems procurement going forward.

Many Members also raised serious concerns about treatment of PTSD and mental health conditions for veterans, including Rep. Wenstrup (R-OH), Rep. O’Rourke (D-TX), Rep. Sablan (D-MP), Rep. Banks (R-IN), Rep. Rutherford (R-FL) and Rep. Takano (D-CA). Rep. O’Rourke emphasized that suicide among veterans is the most serious crisis, and Secretary Shulkin agreed that it is his number one priority. The Secretary announced that the VA will begin providing urgent mental health care that also will include individuals other than those service members who were honorably discharged. He added that the VA needs 1,000 more mental health providers, as well as telemental health services, and is looking to expand community partnerships to address suicide.

Rep. Banks noted interest among Indiana veterans in greater access to alternative treatments for PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Secretary Shulkin underscored that he is “most concerned about areas like PTSD, where we do not have effective treatments.” He also advised that the VA has established an “Office of Compassionate Innovation” (separate from the VA’s Center for Innovation), which will focus on finding new approaches to health and physical wellness and explore alternative treatment options for veterans when traditional methods fall short.

Rep. Wenstrup inquired about the VA’s GME and residency programs, as well as its associations with academic institutions. Secretary Shulkin responded that the VA is “doubling down” on partnerships with academic medical institutions.

Chairman Roe concluded his remarks by emphasizing the need to extend the Choice Program authorization soon and to consolidate the VA’s community-based care programs. He also expressed support for the VA’s decision to stop developing its own information technology internally.

CMS Proposes Rule to Increase Patients’ 2018 Insurance Choices

This morning, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule for 2018. The AAA is currently drafting a member advisory on this proposed rule and it will be released soon. The text of the rule is below.

The rule proposes new reforms that are critical to stabilizing the individual and small group health insurance markets to help protect patients. This proposed rule would make changes to special enrollment periods, the annual open enrollment period, guaranteed availability, network adequacy rules, essential community providers, and actuarial value requirements; and announces upcoming changes to the qualified health plan certification timeline.

“Americans participating in the individual health insurance markets deserve as many health insurance options as possible,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  “This proposal will take steps to stabilize the Marketplace, provide more flexibility to states and insurers, and give patients access to more coverage options. They will help protect Americans enrolled in the individual and small group health insurance markets while future reforms are being debated.”

The rule proposes a variety of policy and operational changes to stabilize the Marketplace, including:

  • Special Enrollment Period Pre-Enrollment Verification: The rule proposes to expand pre-enrollment verification of eligibility to individuals who newly enroll through special enrollment periods in Marketplaces using the HealthCare.gov platform. This proposed change would help make sure that special enrollment periods are available to all who are eligible for them, but will require individuals to submit supporting documentation, a common practice in the employer health insurance market. This will help place downward pressure on premiums, curb abuses, and encourage year-round enrollment.
  • Guaranteed Availability: The rule proposes to address potential abuses by allowing an issuer to collect premiums for prior unpaid coverage, before enrolling a patient in the next year’s plan with the same issuer. This will incentivize patients to avoid coverage lapses.
  • Determining the Level of Coverage: The rule proposes to make adjustments to the de minimis range used for determining the level of coverage by providing greater flexibility to issuers to provide patients with more coverage options.
  • Network Adequacy: The proposed rule takes an important step in reaffirming the traditional role of states to serve their populations. In the review of qualified health plans, CMS proposes to defer to the states’ reviews in states with the authority and means to assess issuer network adequacy. States are best positioned to ensure their residents have access to high quality care networks.
  • Qualified Health Plan (QHP) Certification Calendar: In the rule, CMS announces its intention to release a revised proposed timeline for the QHP certification and rate review process for plan year 2018. The revised timeline would provide issuers with additional time to implement proposed changes that are finalized prior to the 2018 coverage year. These changes will give issuers flexibility to incorporate benefit changes and maximize the number of coverage options available to patients.
  • Open Enrollment Period: The rule also proposes to shorten the upcoming annual open enrollment period for the individual market. For the 2018 coverage year, we propose an open enrollment period of November 1, 2017, to December 15, 2017.  This proposed change will align the Marketplaces with the Employer-Sponsored Insurance Market and Medicare, and help lower prices for Americans by reducing adverse selection.

Read the Proposed Rule

David Shulkin Confirmed as VA Secretary

The Senate voted Monday to confirm David Shulkin as Department of Veterans Affairs secretary. Shulkin, previously the undersecretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs was unanimously approved by the Senate 100-0. Of note, Shulkin becomes the first VA Secretary to have not previously served in the military.


New VA Secretary, David Shulkin

Everything you need to know about new VA Secretary David Shulkin
Senate Confirms First Nonveteran To Lead VA

A physician, Shulkin previously administered hospital systems such as Beth Israel Hospital in New York, before coming to the VA. During his hearing, Shulkin “promised veterans organizations that he opposes privatization of the VA.” Shulkin will continue to work towards lowering wait times for veterans and implementing the Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act.

Tom Price Confirmed as HHS Secretary

The Senate voted 52-47 Friday to confirm Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as Health and Human Services secretary. Democrats held the Senate floor for the full 30 hours permitted to them, raising concerns about Price’s trades in health stocks and his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

New HHS Secretary, Tom Price

A retired orthopedic surgeon, Price will oversee the administration’s efforts to repeal and replace or repair the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Price was previously the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Tom Price: Everything You Need to Know About the New Health Secretary
Tom Price Is Sworn In as Health Secretary Amid Senate Disunity

In related news, the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing on February 16 to consider the nomination of Seema Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

AAA Members on Capitol Hill

This week, AAA members were once again on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress. AAA Government Affairs Committee Chair, Jamie Pafford-Gresham of Pafford EMS, met with entire Congressional Arkansas delegation. While on the Hill, Jamie also met with members from Oklahoma and Mississippi. AAA Board Member, Kim Godden (Superior Air-Ground Ambulance), Payment Reform Committee Chair, Asbel Montes (Acadian Ambulance Service), and AMR VP Federal Reimbursement & Regulatory Affairs, Deb Gault were also on the Hill for meetings this week. Collectively the group met with over twenty Congressional offices this week. Thank you to all of our members for their hard work fighting for permanent Medicare relief. We appreciate you taking the time to visit Washington and meet with your representatives.

Pafford EMS CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, and Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas

Pafford EMS CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas

Have you met recently with a Member of Congress? Are you interested in getting involved with the AAA’s advocacy efforts? If so, email Aidan Camas at acamas@ambulance.org!

Fighting for the Future of Ambulance Organizations

AAA Executive Vice President, Maria Bianchi, recently penned an Op-Ed for JEMS entitled: Join AAA in Fighting for the Future of Ambulance Organizations. Learn about the AAA’s work towards Payment Reform and join us in our fight for our future. Help ambulance organizations be identified as healthcare providers by those who have influence on our regulations and reimbursement rates.

Learn more about 2017 AAA Member Benefits!

New Rural Provider Task Force

AAA President Mark Postma created the Rural Providers Task Force which is being chaired by Jim Finger of Regional Ambulance Service in Rutland, Vermont. The Task Force will bring the perspective of small providers to the AAA Payment Reform Committee as it develops recommendations on how best to reform Medicare reimbursement policies. We are specifically targeting as Task Force volunteers those AAA members who operate 10 or fewer ambulances and serve rural communities.

The Task Force will initially focus on three key policy areas which are:
1) Ensuring that a cost data collection system is not overly burdensome on rural providers;
2) Understanding the impact of changing from ambulance service suppliers to providers will have on rural operations; and,
3) Looking at potential different options for defining rural areas within large urban counties under the Goldsmith Modification.

Our industry is predominately small operations with rural areas often relying on ambulance services as the only form of emergency medical care. Approximately 73% of ambulance service providers bill less than 1,000 transports to Medicare each year. President Postma has adopted the tag line for the AAA of “Representing EMS in America” and it is important that rural providers are representing within the reform efforts.

If your organization is rural and operates 10 or fewer ambulances and you would like to provide input on how potential reimbursement policy changes could affect organizations such as yours, please consider volunteering for the Task Force. The Rural Providers Task Force will have a limited number of participants comprised of individuals representing a cross-section of provider types and geographical areas. If you are interested in being considered for a spot on the Task Force, please click on this INTEREST FORM and complete and submit it.

If you have any questions about the Task Force, please do not hesitate to contact Jim Finger at jfinger@rasvt.com or Tristan North at tnorth@ambulance.org.

Join the Task Force!