Updated CMS FAQs on the Ambulance Data Collection

Updated CMS FAQs on the Ambulance Data Collection System and Reporting Requirement Delay As we recently reported, CMS announced that it will be delaying the implementation of the statutorily mandated ambulance data collection system.  CMS has released a new set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) clarifying the delay.  In sum, ambulance organizations selected to provide cost data for 2020 will now be required to report 2021 data in Year 2.  CMS will also add a new set of ambulance organizations for Year 2 reporting as well.  This means that twice as many ambulance organizations will be reporting 2021 data in Year 2 and there will be no data reported for 2020.  Any organization selected that does not report data will be subject to the 10 percent penalty, unless an exception applies.  In addition to addressing concerns about reporting during the pandemic, the FAQs suggest that CMS is concerned that 2020 data “may not be reflective of typical costs and revenue associated with providing ground ambulance services.” The complete list of these questions, as well as previous ambulance FAQs for COVID-19 on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing can be found here.  The new data collections are below. Data Collection and Reporting Requirements (more…)

CMS Modifies the Cost Data Collection System Year 1 Data Collection

CMS has issued a blanket waiver modifying the data collection period for the ground ambulance services that were selected to report in Year 1.  Under the current law, these organizations would have been required to collect data beginning January 1, 2020, and through December 31, 2020.  The waiver allows these organizations to select a new continuous 12-month data collection period that begins between January 1, 2021 and ends December 31, 2021.  This modification means that such organizations will collect and report data during the same time period as the ground organizations that CMS will select for Year 2 of the cost collection program. From the summary of the waiver, it appears that organizations will have the choice of submitting data in Year 1 or Year 2.  CMS has not moved the timeline for any other data collection year, so there is the potential for a substantial number of organizations to report in Year 2, which would increase the amount of data available. The AAA has supported the data collection system to make sure that CMS and the Congress have valid and reliable data to support maintaining the geographic add-ons to the Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule and to support efforts to...

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40 Under 40: Adam Parker (Sanford Health – Bismarck, ND)

40 Under 40 nominees were selected based on their contributions to the American Ambulance Association, their employer, state ambulance association, other professional associations, and/or the EMS profession. ____ Adam Parker Operations Manager Sanford Health Bismarck, ND ____ Linked In Nominated By: Kelly Dollinger (North Dakota EMS Association – Bismarck, ND) ____ Biography: Adam Parker has been involved in North Dakota EMS for over 15 years working for volunteer, private, and hospital-based EMS services. Adam is currently employed by Sanford Health as an Operations Manager overseeing AirMed operations, EMS education and outreach, and a Community Paramedic program. Adam is also a Board Member for the North Dakota EMS Association and serves as Chairman of the Advocacy Committee and Co-chair of the Service Leaders Committee. Adam lives in Bismarck, ND with his wife, Jessica, and two children. ____ Reason for Nomination: As President of the North Dakota EMS Association – I am thrilled to have the opportunity to nominate Adam Parker for consideration in the AAA’s Inaugural Mobile Healthcare 40 Under 40 – due in part to his exceptional and continued rise through the leadership of North Dakota EMS. Adam’s full-time position is with Sanford Health as the Operations Manager for the (more…)

Savvik Cost Collection Grant Application

The Savvik Foundation and the American Ambulance Association have launched a grant program available to Savvik member ambulance services that are preparing to comply with the Cost Data Collection program through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Through Savvik Member purchases under contracts, the Savvik Foundation was able to fund grant dollars through the American Ambulance Association (AAA). Through this grant, services will be eligible to receive a one-year AAA Ambulance Cost Education Gold subscription, which includes access to experts on cost collection, access to AMBER software, and free registration to Webinars and Regional Workshops. To apply, complete the application form below.

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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CMS Cost Collection Call – December 5th

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has scheduled a call for Thursday, December 5 from 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern to review the new Ambulance Cost Data Collection System. If you plan to attend, register here. CMS Ambulance Cost Data Collection December 5 | 1:30 PM ET

Summary of Final Rule on Ambulance Data Cost Collection

Summary of Final Rule on Ambulance Data Cost Collection The American Ambulance Association (AAA) has completed its review and summary of the Final Rule on the Establishment of an Ambulance Data Collection System drafted by Kathy Lester, Esq. To access the summary of the Final Rule, please click here. The Final Rule is scheduled to be published in the November 15 issue of the Federal Register. The AAA will continue to keep you informed about the implementation of the Ambulance Data Collection System....

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CMS Posts Final Ambulance Data Collection Instrument

CMS Posts Final Ambulance Data Collection Instrument The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted the final version of the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection Instrument. The Instrument is the guidance and mechanism by which CMS will request data from those ambulance service suppliers and providers selected in year one of the sampling. The posting of the final version of the Instrument follows the release on November 1 of the final rule on the development of an ambulance data collection system and subsequent release on November 2 of the list of the ambulance service suppliers and providers selected in year one to provide their data. To access the list by NPI number click here and to access the list by state click here. The AAA will keep you posted of new developments with the implementation of the data collection system as well as educational opportunities.

CMS Releases List of Ambulance Organizations Selected for Data Collection

CMS Releases List of Ambulance Organizations Selected for Data Collection The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the list of ambulance service providers and suppliers selected to provide data in the first year of data collection. CMS has published the data by National Provider Identifier (NPI) number and the AAA has also sorted the data by state in alphabetical order. On Friday, CMS had made public the final rule on the Establishment of an Ambulance Data Collection System. The AAA will be issuing a Member Advisory tomorrow on the details of the final rule and changes from the proposed rule. To access the list by NPI number click here and to access the list by state click here.

CMS Releases Final Rule on Ambulance Data Collection System

Late this afternoon, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule on the “Establishment of an Ambulance Data Collection System”. The rule was issued as part of the “Medicare Program; CY 2020 Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Changes to Part B Payment Policies” [CMS-1715-F and IFC]. The final rule is scheduled for official publication in the November 15 issue of the Federal Register. The AAA is currently reviewing the final rule to determine changes on the ambulance data collection system from the policies as outlined in the proposed rule of August 15. The proposed rule set forth a system utilizing a survey tool and sampling of ambulance service providers and suppliers as directed by Congress and supported by the AAA. The AAA did, however, submit comments with suggestions as how to fine-tune the process and tool. The AAA also submitted a second letter on the section of the proposal rule making changes related to the physician certification statement (PCS). We will be issuing a follow up Member Advisory next week with the specific final policy changes on the ambulance data collection system and PCS outlined in the final rule.

CMS Open Door Forum & Member Q&A – November 7th

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has scheduled its next Ambulance Open Door Forum for Thursday, November 7 from 2:00-3:30 PM Eastern. If you plan to attend, please dial in at least 15 minutes before the call. CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum November 7 | 2:00 PM ET Participant Dial-In Number:  1-888-455-1397 Conference ID #: 4676500 Questions? Have more questions? The AAA is here to help! Following the ODF the AAA will be publishing a follow up blog post going over any updates and important announcements. AAA Follow Up Q&A November 7 | 4:00 PM ET 1-800-250-2600 Pin: 82802314# Speakers: AAA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Tristan North; AAA Healthcare Lobbyist, Kathy Lester, Esq.

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…)

CMS Open Door Forum & Member Q&A – August 28

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has scheduled its next Ambulance Open Door Forum for Wednesday, August 28 at 2:00 PM Eastern. If you plan to attend, please dial in at least 15 minutes before the call. CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum August 28 | 2:00 PM ET Participant Dial-In Number:  1-888-455-1397 Conference ID #: 6609831 Questions? Have more questions? The AAA is here to help! Following the ODF the AAA will be publishing a follow up blog post going over any updates and important announcements. AAA Follow Up Q&A August 28 | 3:00 PM ET 1-800-250-2600 Pin: 82802314# Speakers: AAA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Tristan North; AAA Healthcare Lobbyist, Kathy Lester, Esq.; AAA Medicare Regulatory Committee Chair, Krista Cuthbert; and AAA Payment Reform Committee Chair, Asbel Montes....

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CMS Releases Proposed Cost Collection Rule

Today, CMS has released the proposed rule that would establish the ambulance fee schedule cost collection system as required by statute. The AAA is currently reviewing the rule and will provide a more detailed summary in the coming days. On Tueusday, July 30 at 12:00pm Eastern, the AAA will be hosting a free webinar during which AAA counsel will provide an overview of the proposals in the rule. Do not miss out on this chance for the most up to date information. Questions?: Contact Us: If you have questions about the legislation or regulatory initiatives being undertaken by the AAA, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the AAA Government Affairs Team. Tristan North – Senior Vice President of Government Affairs tnorth@ambulance.org | (202) 802-9025 Ruth Hazdovac – AAA Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs rhazdovac@ambulance.org | (202) 802-9027 Aidan Camas – Manager of State & Federal Government Affairs acamas@ambulance.org | (202) 802-9026 Thank you for your continued membership and support.

RFP: Cost Collection SME/Project Director

Request for Proposals: Subject Matter Expert (SME)/ Project Director Ambulance Cost Data Collection Due April 20, 2019 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 Those (more…)

Summary of March 28, 2019 Ambulance ODF

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held its latest Open Door Forum on Wednesday, March 28, 2019.  As with past Open Door Forums, CMS started the call with the following announcements: Ambulance Cost Data Collection – CMS reminded the industry that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, enacted on February 9, 2018, requires CMS to create a new cost data collection system by December 31, 2019. Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport Model – A representative from the Innovation Center within CMS provided an overview of the “Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport Model” or “ET3.” This is a 5-year pilot program intended to provide ambulance providers with greater flexibility to handle low-acuity 911 calls, by providing Medicare payment for: (a) ambulance transportation to alternative treatment destinations and (b) treatment at the scene. The CMS representative indicated that CMS is in possession of data that suggests that 16% of emergency ambulance transports to a hospital emergency department could have been resolved by transporting the patient to an alternative treatment site, e.g., an urgent care center. CMS estimates that had all of these patients elected to receive care in the lower-acuity setting, it would have saved the Medicare Program approximately $560 (more…)

AAA Webinar Wednesday, March 6: Tools for Billing Services and Other Vendors

Whether you contract with a third-party billing service, or have an internal billing department, the upcoming Ambulance Cost Data Collection (ACE) webinar hosted by the AAA on Wednesday, March 6 is a can’t miss. As we get closer to new Cost Data Collection requirements taking effect across the ambulance service community, the American Ambulance Association has been developing Ambulance Cost Education tools and information to make it easier for services of all sizes and types to report. Billing services and vendors are a key component of the Cost Data Collection process, and if you have not already involved your contracted servicers or employees, this is a great time to start. Tools for Billing Services and Other Vendors, presented by Ambulance Cost Education faculty member Aaron Director, will discuss the web-based reporting tool being developed, and share some ideas for vendors to create an integrated, seamless tool through partnership with the AAA. This is the ideal webinar for vendors that serve the ambulance community, and we encourage you to reach out and share this information broadly.  Invite them to participate and get involved! We know things go better when we work together, and that is why the AAA is working so hard to (more…)

Rural Health Day Advocacy Update

Happy National Rural Health Day! Thank you to all of the ambulance service providers who work hard providing life-saving treatment in rural areas every day. In part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, the AAA sent a letter today to the Rural Caucuses in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Addressed to leadership of the caucuses, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), this in-depth letter highlights the critical work that our members do every day around the country and raises important issues affecting the industry. Issues covered in the letter include: Stabilizing the Ambulance Fee Schedule Make the add-ons permanent and build them into the base rate Use new data from the ambulance cost collection program to ensure reimbursement is adequate going forward New data should be used to assess the problems with the current ZIP-code methodology for determining rural and super-rural services Ambulance Fee Schedule Reform Proposed alternative models for rural ambulance services Encouraging Congress to look at alternative destination options for ambulance service providers Recognizing Ambulance Services as Providers of Health Care Moving non-fire-based ambulance services from suppliers to providers under Medicare The letter also highlights...

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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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