Cost Data Collection: So You’ve Been Selected—Now What?

It’s finally here! For almost a decade the American Ambulance Association has been preparing for this moment: collecting cost data in order to justify the reimbursement inadequacies of our current payment system. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So prepare we did! Our research indicated that due to industry capacity, a provider sample and survey approach would be preferable to a mandatory cost reporting structure. Congress agreed! Our research indicated that different organizational structures made us unique healthcare providers and as such, EMS’s special nature should be considered in the collection tool developed. Congress agreed! No one knows our industry better than we do and the final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates they listened! So your ambulance service was selected for the 2020 reporting period—now what? Here is your 10 STEP PLAN. STEP 1: Sign up for the latest information on ambulance cost data collection. Subscribe to email updates from the American Ambulance Association’s Ambulance Cost Education page, www.ambulancereports.org. Not only will we make sure you get the latest information disclosed from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, but we will also provide you with quick tutorials...

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2020 Stars of Life Nominations Are Open!

#StarsofLife | www.stars.ambulance.org | May 4-6, 2020 | Intercontinental Wharf | Washington, DC The American Ambulance Association’s 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 #mobilehealthcare profession. Nominate YOUR rockstars at www.stars.ambulance.org by March 1, 2020!

Speak at Annual 2020!

AAA 2020 Session Proposals due January 31, 2020 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show November 2–4, 2020 MGM Grand | Las Vegas, Nevada The American Ambulance Association Annual Conference & Trade Show brings together mobile healthcare leaders from across the country to learn, network, and plan for the future of our industry. AAA Annual is committed to empowering our participants with the insights and best practices they need to serve their patients as well as operate efficiently and profitably. Speaking at AAA 2020 is your opportunity to share best practices and insights with your peers as you build your personal brand. We invite you to submit your session proposals before January 31, 2020. Topics Sample speaking proposal topics considered for AAA 2020 include, but are not limited to: Recruitment, Retention, and Human Resources Operations, Risk Management and Safety Management and Supervision Leadership Development & Structure Improved Fleet Maintenance/Management Clinical/Quality Assurance Program Reimbursement/Patient Accounts Innovation, Technology, and Communications Emerging Healthcare Trends/Hot Topics Healthcare Reform/Public Health Session Formats & Lengths In 2020, AAA is focused on engaging attendees interactively in every session. This year, we are seeking submissions in the following formats: 15 Minute Quick Take (similar to TED Talks) 50 Minute Sunrise Session (Early (more…)

January Law Changes– OR, NJ, NY, NV

Oregon Pregnancy Accommodations Law   Following many other states, the new law prohibits employers from deny employment opportunities to applicants or employees who need reasonable accommodations due to or related to their pregnancy or childbirth.  New Jersey Pay Inquiry Restrictions   This law prohibits screening candidates based upon an applicant’s prior wage history. It is also illegal to establish a job candidate’s salary or benefits compensation based upon their prior salary or wage history. New York Pay Inquiry Restrictions   This law prohibits all employers from inquiring about a job candidate’s wage history or relying on prior wage levels in establishing compensation or benefits. Nevada Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Restrictions   This law exempts employees who are firefighters, EMTs or who operate motor vehicles during the course of their duties.  While this would eliminate many positions within an EMS agency.  EMS employers who are not Federal Contractors or Grantees, need to heed these restrictions for those positions within their organization that do not fit into one of the exempt positions below....

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Proposed Rule Impacts Employer Sponsored Health Plans

A proposed rule published on November 27th by the IRS, U.S. DOL, and HHS would place new requirements on group health plans and health insurance providers. The rule would require providers to disclose cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and other covered individuals which would outline their liability to pay certain cost-sharing amounts and out-of-pocket expenses. This rule is part of a Trump Administration effort to foster competition among insurers and healthcare providers in the marketplace. An article published by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) outlines the concerns many employers have regarding the costs associated with implementing the requirements of the proposed rule. These requirements include providing plan enrollees with an online self-service portal where they can see these cost-sharing amounts, as well as require greater collaboration between third party plan administrators, pharmacy benefit managers, and other specialty providers to ensure the accurate disclosure of enrollee financial obligations. Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 14, 2020....

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CMS Announces 2020 Ambulance Inflation Factor

On October 4, 2019, CMS issued Transmittal 4407 (Change Request 11497), which announced the Medicare Ambulance Inflation Factor (AIF) for calendar year 2020. The AIF is calculated by measuring the increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) for the 12-month period ending with June of the previous year. Starting in calendar year 2011, the change in the CPI-U is now reduced by a so-called “productivity adjustment”, which is equal to the 10-year moving average of changes in the economy-wide private nonfarm business multi-factor productivity index (MFP). The MFP reduction may result in a negative AIF for any calendar year. The resulting AIF is then added to the conversion factor used to calculate Medicare payments under the Ambulance Fee Schedule. For the 12-month period ending in June 2018, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has calculated that the CPI-U has increased 1.6%. CMS further indicated that the CY 2020 MFP will be 0.7%. Accordingly, CMS indicated that the Ambulance Inflation Factor for calendar year 2019 will be 0.9%....

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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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