Update on Government Shutdown and Sequestration

As the government shutdown drags on the negative impacts continue to grow. If the shutdown continues through January 24, 2019, which is looking likely at this point, current law will require the Trump Administration to cut about $839 million from non-exempt federal benefit programs to avoid increasing the deficit. This is a result of the “PAYGO” (pay as you go) law which requires spending increases or tax cuts to be offset with cuts to programs or additional revenue to avoid increasing the deficit. As the largest nonexempt benefit program, it is likely that Medicare would experience the worst of these cuts through sequestration. While the Trump Administration has not yet issued a sequestration order, there is a distinct possibility that one could be issued if the shutdown continues much longer. A sequestration order would mean an additional across the board cut to all Medicare providers, including ambulance services. Ambulance service providers are still feeling the impact of the 2% sequestration cut that has been in effect the past few years. Any new cuts would likely start out being targeted at administrative tasks which could slow payments to providers. Temporary cuts would be expensive for the administration to facilitate and is...

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HHS Releases Communication Checklist to Aid First Responders

HHS Releases Checklist to Aid First Responders in Communicating Effectively with Patients The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has released a plain language checklist that is intended to aid First Responders during emergencies that involve individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and communications related disabilities. The AAA issued numerous articles to its members in 2016 about the newly published requirements for all healthcare providers, including EMS agencies, under the nondiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557. The requirements are intended to prevent discrimination in the provision of healthcare and ensure that all individuals can meaningfully participate in their healthcare treatment, including those patients with LEP and other communications related disabilities. The announcement yesterday is intended to provide additional resources for healthcare providers to ensure compliance with the ACA Section 1557. The checklist includes numerous recommendations and action steps that EMS agencies can utilize to ensure that they are serving all members of a community in a meaningful way. These recommendations include conducting research about the communities by accessing U.S. Census Bureau data, engaging Centers for Independent Living and local assistance groups, and by preparing emergency messaging that can be...

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Request for Proposals—SME/Project Director

American Ambulance Association Request for Proposals SME/ Project Director Ambulance Cost Data Collection November 2018 Overview The American Ambulance Association (AAA) invites proposals from qualified interested parties (individual and teams) for the purpose of directing the Ambulance Cost Data Project as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). Introduction As part of the extension of the Ambulance Medicare Add on payments, legislation passed on February 9, 2018, the Congress mandated that ambulance services provide cost data.  General requirements of the legislation include the following: Requires notice-and-comment rulemaking May use a cost survey Collect (1) cost; (2) revenue; (3) utilization; and (4) other information determined appropriate by the Secretary Include information: (1) needed to evaluate the extent to which costs are related to payment rates; (2) on the utilization of capital equipment and ambulance capacity; and (3) on different types of ground ambulance services furnished in different geographic locations and low population density areas May revise the system over time Select a representative sample of providers and suppliers from whom to collect data Determined based on the type of providers and suppliers and the geographic locations May not be request same provider or supplier to submit data in two consecutive years A selected...

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Mid-term Election Analysis

As a result of Tuesdays’ elections, Democrats will control the U.S. House of Representatives next Congress and Republicans will have a larger majority in the United States Senate. Presently, Democrats have gained a net of 30 seats in the House with Republicans netting two seats in the Senate. Democrats needed to capture 23 seats from Republicans to gain the majority. There are still several races in the House and Senate to be called which will likely add to those totals. Akin Gump, the lobbying firm for the AAA, has put together a synopsis of the election results as of this morning and a slide deck on historical trends and the outcome of races called so far. Key supporters of the industry who will not be returning next Congress include Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL), Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN). All three members have been supportive of ambulance initiatives with Roskam in his position as Chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee and Paulsen as a member of the Subcommittee. Coffman sponsored legislation to apply the prudent layperson definition to emergency ambulance services provided to veterans. In late breaking news, the Senate race in Montana was called in favor for (more…)

LifeWorks October Feature: Work-Life Balance and Productivity

October Feature: Work-Life Balance and Productivity Ten Tips for Fitting Work and Life Together Would you like to move beyond feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your personal and work responsibilities? Or learn how to achieve personal and professional success on your own terms? “Knowing how to manage the way work and life fit together is a modern skill set we all need to succeed,” says Cali Williams Yost, an internationally recognized flexible workplace strategist and author of the books Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day and Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You. Here are Yost’s 10 strategies: Remember that work-life fit is unique for each of us. “Simply put, there is no work-life balance or perfect 5050 split between your work and your personal life,” Yost says. “If you do happen to hit a balance, you can’t maintain it because your realities are always changing, personally and professionally.” There’s also no “right way” to achieve a good work-life fit. Your goal is to find your unique, ever-changing fit, the way your work and personal realities fit together day-to-day and at major life transitions. Don’t compare yourself to others. Find the fit that’s right for...

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Narberth Ambulance Overcomes Major Hurdles In Its Billing System

Pennsylvania EMS Provider Achieves Major Billing Milestones Through Payor Logic Partnership and ESO Integration The Volunteer Medical Service Corps of Narberth was established in 1944 by residents of Narberth Borough, a suburb of Philadelphia, to provide transportation and first aid for soldiers returning from World War II via Philadelphia’s ports. The organization, now known as Narberth Ambulance, has expanded over the past 70 years from a small station with two ambulances to a full-fledged EMS service that makes nearly 10,000 trips annually, employs 33 full-time staff, 44 part time employees, and 80 volunteers. Narberth covers four Philadelphia area communities with two stations, seven ambulances, two responder vehicles and one mass casualty/rehab bus. While Narberth Ambulance has seen tremendous growth and success throughout its history, recent times have brought new challenges. Changing technology in the healthcare industry paired with declining reimbursement over the past several years left Narberth, like many other EMS services, facing issues with its billing system and claims processing. These complications made claims longer to work and payment harder to collect. At the height of this problem, Narberth’s billing team needed from five to ten business days to process a claim. The Issue at Hand According to Meg...

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 Sharing Patient Stories

  EMTs, Paramedics, and Dispatchers touch lives every day. However, ambulance services aren’t always sure how best to showcase their value. Learn how Robert Lawrence of PatientCare Logistics Solutions – Alameda Co. and Matt Zavadsky of MedStar Mobile Healthcare share their teams’ impact with patient stories. #SupportEMS...

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