2018 AMBY Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 AMBY Awards. The AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize AAA members. 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 September 7, 2018. Please join us in congratulating our 2018 winners! Clinical Outcome Program Medic Ambulance Service, Inc. | Vallejo, CA Community Impact Program NorthStar EMS, Inc. | Tuscaloosa, AL Employee Programs Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. | Bakersfield, CA Innovation in EMS Priority Ambulance | Knoxville, TN Mercy Ambulance Service, Inc. | Savannah, GA Public Relations Campaign MEDIC EMS Agency | Charlotte, NC Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. | Bakersfield, CA Quality Improvement Program Sunstar Paramedics | Largo, FL Patient and Employee Safety Program Priority Ambulance | Knoxville, TN Once again, join us in celebrating the 2018 winners! Learn more about the AMBYs.  

July Brings Legal Changes for Employers in Many States

Oregon Statewide Transit Tax Important notice to ambulance service employers based in the state of Oregon: there is a new statewide transit tax taking effect on July 1, 2018. Beginning July 1st, employers must start withholding a tax of 1/10th of 1% from the wages of Oregon residents or from non-residents who perform services in Oregon. The Department of Revenue has published detailed information on the statewide tax with a list of available resources to assist employers with compliance. Iowa Lowers Standard for Positive Alcohol Tests Effective July 1, 2018, Iowa employers may lower their standard for taking employment action for positive alcohol tests from the old state standard of .04 to .02. Iowa has one of the strictest employment drug and alcohol testing requirements in the country. Employers are required to have a written policy that is distributed to all employees and job candidates for their review. Employers must establish a drug and alcohol awareness program alerting employees of the dangers of drug and alcohol use in the workplace, and most employees must be provided an option to enter a rehabilitation program instead of being disciplined. In addition, all supervisory staff must attend a two-hour initial drug and alcohol...

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Alabama Governor Signs REPLICA Compact

Governor Kay Ivey recently signed into law Alabama’s REPLICA legislation, HB250. Alabama joins ten other states—Colorado, Texas, Virginia, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Mississippi, and Georgia—in this forward-thinking interstate compact. REPLICA, the Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact,  recognizes the day-to-day movement of EMS personnel across state lines. It extends the privilege to practice under authorized circumstances to EMS personnel based on their home state license, as well as allows for the rapid exchange of licensure history between Compact member states.. Learn more about how REPLICA participation can help your state at http://www.emsreplica.org.

REPLICA Compact Enacted

REPLICA Meets Goal, Interstate Compact Becomes Official May 8, 2017 For Immediate Release Contact: Sue Prentiss 603-381-9195 prentiss@emsreplica.org May 8, 2017 (Falls Church, VA). With the 10th member state enactment, the Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA) has become official. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia signed Senate Bill 109 on today activating the nation’s first EMS licensure compact. States that have passed REPLICA to date include: Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Idaho, Utah, Mississippi, Wyoming and Georgia. Released in 2014, REPLICA’s model legislation creates a formal pathway for the licensed individual to provide pre-hospital care across state lines under authorized circumstances. According to Keith Wages, president of the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), “REPLICA represents a collective, nationwide effort to address the problems faced by responders when needing to cross state borders in the line of their duties.” Wages highlighted the compact’s abilities to “increase access to healthcare, reduce regulatory barriers for EMS responders, and place an umbrella of quality over cross border practice not previously seen in the EMS profession.” Wages also noted that the partnership with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) has been essential during the advocacy and implementation phases. (more…)

2015 Medicare Data Shows Evident of Crackdown on Non-Emergency Transport

2015 Medicare Payment Data Offers Evidence of Nationwide Crackdown on Non-Emergency Ground Ambulance Transportation; Impact Varies Dramatically by Medicare Administrative Contractor Every year, CMS releases data on aggregate Medicare payments for the preceding year. This file is referred to as the Physician/Supplier Procedure Master File (PSP Master File). This past month, CMS released the 2016 PSP Master File, which contains information on all Part B and DME claims processed through the Medicare Common Working File with 2015 dates of service. In September’s blog post, I discussed the results of the first year of the prior authorization demonstration project for repetitive, scheduled non-emergency ground ambulance transports. During this first year, the project was limited to three states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. The data confirms that these three states saw a dramatic reduction in Medicare’s approved payments for dialysis transports. This month, I will be discussing the national payment trends for non-emergency ground ambulance transports, and, in particular, Basic Life Support non-emergencies. In 2015, Medicare paid approximately $990 million for BLS non-emergency transports. This is 13% less than what it paid for BLS non-emergency transports in 2014 ($1.14 billion). Please note that these figures only reflect payments for the base...

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Musings on 2014 Medicare Payment Data…Part 2

Brian S. Werfel, AAA Medicare Consultant Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) releases data on Medicare payments for the preceding year. The 2015 Physician/Supplier Procedure Master File (PSP Master File) was released in late November 2015. This report contains information on all Part B and DME claims processed through the Medicare Common Working File with 2014 dates of service. In last month’s post, I focused on total Medicare spending. This month, I want to shine the spotlight on Medicare’s payment for ambulance transports to and from dialysis. It is no secret that the federal government has long viewed dialysis transports with suspicion. In 1994, the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report citing dialysis transports as an area of concern. In a 2013 report, the OIG cited the dramatic increase in the volume of dialysis transports since the implementation of the Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule as evidence that the Medicare ambulance benefit is vulnerable to fraud and abuse. Dialysis transports were also featured heavily in the OIG’s 2015 report on questionable billing practices.  A 2013 report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) noted that the utilization of BLS non-emergency transports, dialysis in...

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