Tag: H.R. 745

Ambulance Payment Reform Whiteboard Video

The American Ambulance Association needs your help to build the future of EMS—an innovative industry compensated fairly and recognized appropriately for the critical healthcare it provides. Learn more in the video below, then visit our Payment Reform page to get involved!

Ambulance services across the country are struggling to survive in the face of falling reimbursement, short-sighted regulations, and rising costs. EMS providers of all sizes must share critical cost data, meet with legislators, and speak with one voice as we work to surmount these obstacles and position ambulance services for success today and for many years to come.

Senator Scott Receives 2015 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

Pictured is Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) receiving a 2015 AAA Legislative Recognition Award from Greg Shore of AAA member Medshore Ambulance Service in Andersen, South Carolina. Included in the picture is Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) who is one of the lead sponsors of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 377, H.R. 745).

Join Our Efforts to Receive Permanent Medicare Relief

After countless hours of work by the American Ambulance Association’s (AAA) legislative team, our champions on Capitol Hill, volunteer leaders, members and other organizations, we are pleased to once again announce the 33-month extension of Medicare ambulance relief.  This extension will continue the 2% bonus for urban areas, the 3% bonus for rural transports and the bonus payment for super rural areas.  This is a major victory for the AAA and its members as the extension will supply important funding to allow ambulance services to continue to provide essential medical care to their communities.

That being said, we can’t let the momentum stop!  The AAA is still fighting and pushing on Capitol Hill for a permanent extension of Medicare relief rather than a temporary fix.  With a short-term extension it remains difficult for ambulance services to properly budget for the future and prepare for the uncertainties of being a health care provider.  The AAA continues to seek support and cosponsors for the Medicare Ambulance, Access, Fraud Prevention, and reform Act of 2015 (S. 377, H.R. 745).  In addition to permanent Medicare ambulance relief, this bill includes several additional provisions that will help ambulance services to grow and provide critical care services to patients.  These additional provisions include:

–     Categorizing ambulance services as “providers” rather than “suppliers”. The AAA wants its members and all ambulance services to be recognized properly for the medical services they provide.  As you are aware, an ambulance is often the first place that a patient is provided critical care and service.  For this reason, the bill includes language that would recognize ambulance services as “providers” rather than “suppliers”.

–     Prior Authorization Program. The same bill that extended Medicare ambulance relief for 33 months also included a prior authorization program that would extend to several states on the East Coast in 2016 and nationwide in 2017.  The AAA is working with legislators on Capitol Hill, our Medicare Consultants, and AAA members to help with the roll-out of the prior authorization program.  Keep your eyes peeled for further information and resources that the AAA will be providing.

–     Ambulance Cost Data Collection. The bill directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to use a survey approach to collecting cost data from a statistically significant number of ambulance service providers.  It is critical that Congress have cost data from all the different types of providers to make future changes to the ambulance fee schedule.

With each of these significant provisions, the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act of 2015 will help position AAA members and ambulance services for the future.  It will provide critical funding as well as opportunities for recognition, growth and knowledge.

Shawn Baird, Co-Owner of Woodburn Ambulance Service and Co-Chair of the AAA’s Government Affairs Committee, said this about the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act of 2015

“While the extension of our temporary ambulance relief provides hard earned breathing room, it is more essential than ever to get members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors of our permanent ambulance relief bills S. 377 and H.R. 745.  Using this precious time to secure permanent funding, data collection that works for the industry and provider status with CMS is the only way we will be able to keep our issue a priority on Congress’s busy agenda. In our ambulance services at home we all know how important it is to keep pushing our companies to be ready for that next emergency call.   We never say it’s time to sit back and relax now that we ran that last call. It is the same with our effort on Capitol Hill. We have been building success and let’s keep it rolling forward!”

The American Ambulance Association asks that you help in our efforts to make Medicare ambulance relief permanent!   Please contact your members of Congress using the AAA’s online letter writing tool and ask them to co-sponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention, and Reform Acts (S. 377 and H.R. 745).

Each member of the AAA plays a critical role in helping to achieve success in our legislative efforts.  With your help and expertise, we look to continue to represent you and your interests on Capitol Hill.

Ask Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor Permanent Medicare Relief Legislation

Yesterday morning, Congressmen Walden, Welch, Nunes and Neal sent a Dear Colleague to their fellow members of the House of Representatives asking them to cosponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act of 2015 (S. 377, H.R. 745). This bill will make the current temporary ambulance add-on payments permanent for all ambulance services.

Even with our recent victory of a temporary 33-month extension of crucial Medicare ambulance relief, our Champions on Capitol Hill realize the importance of receiving permanent Medicare relief. They, like every ambulance service across the country, understand that a permanent solution is necessary to provide quality health care to individuals and our communities both today and tomorrow.

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Ask Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor Permanent Medicare Relief Legislation

Yesterday morning, Congressmen Walden, Welch, Nunes and Neal sent a Dear Colleague to their fellow members of the House of Representatives asking them to cosponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act of 2015 (S. 377, H.R. 745). This bill will make the current temporary ambulance add-on payments permanent for all ambulance services.

Even with our recent victory of a temporary 33-month extension of crucial Medicare ambulance relief, our Champions on Capitol Hill realize the importance of receiving permanent Medicare relief. They, like every ambulance service across the country, understand that a permanent solution is necessary to provide quality health care to individuals and our communities both today and tomorrow.

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House Votes in Favor of Permanent Doc Fix, Bill Moves to the Senate

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 2, doing away with Medicare’s sustainable growth-rate formula and passing a permanent doc fix. The 392-37 vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan. As we reported on March 24, thanks to our champions on Capitol Hill, a 33-month extension of the temporary Medicare ambulance increases was included in the bill. If enacted, the bill would extend the deadline for expiration of Medicare ambulance relief from March 31 until December 31, 2017.

The Senate still needs to pass the bill and is working on a short time-line before they adjourn for recess. Senate Republicans and Democrats have expressed concerns about different aspects of the bill so it is unclear whether the chamber will consider H.R. 2 before it recesses. It is also uncertain if Congress would pass a short-term extension to give the Senate more time or if CMS would be required to formalize its 14-day claim hold policy should H.R. 2 not be enacted before March 31.

In addition to Medicare ambulance relief, the package also includes language from the Protecting Integrity of Medicare Act (H.R. 1021) expanding the current prior authorization pilot programs on repetitive BLS non-emergency ambulance transports in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Starting in January 2016, the bill would expand the programs to Delaware, DC, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia. The program would then expand nationwide starting in January 2017.

The AAA will continue to push for the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 377, H.R. 745). S. 377 and H.R. 745 would make the current temporary ambulance increases permanent and place our industry in a strong position moving forward for data-driven reforms to the ambulance fee schedule. S. 377 and H.R. 745 would also address fraud and abuse with repetitive BLS non-emergency dialysis transports. While a similar program to the current pilot programs. The prior authorization within S. 377 and H.R. 745 would apply only to dialysis transports and would institute additional safeguards to ensure timely prior authorization for medically necessary transports.

I want to thank all AAA members, staff and consultants who continue to work tirelessly on extending essential Medicare ambulance relief. We will keep you posted of new developments.

House SGR Repeal Package Contains Ambulance Relief Extension

Earlier today, House Republican and Democratic leadership released the complete package (H.R. 2) for a permanent fix to the physician fee schedule. I am happy to report that the AAA through our champions on Capitol Hill was successful in getting a 33-month extension of the temporary Medicare ambulance increases included in the bill. If enacted, the bill would extend the deadline for expiration of Medicare ambulance relief from March 31 until December 31, 2017.

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2 on either Thursday or Friday prior to adjourning for the two-week Easter recess. The bill is currently expected to pass the House with bipartisan support. Senate Republicans and Democrats have expressed concerns about different aspects of the bill so it is unclear whether the chamber will consider H.R. 2 before it recesses. It is also unclear if Congress would pass a short-term extension to give the Senate more time or if CMS would be required to formalize its 14-day claim hold policy should H.R. 2 not be enacted before March 31.

The package also includes language from the Protecting Integrity of Medicare Act (H.R. 1021) expanding the current prior authorization pilot programs on repetitive BLS non-emergency ambulance transports in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Starting in January 2016, the bill would expand the programs to Delaware, DC, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia. The program would then expand nationwide starting in January 2017.

The AAA continues to push for the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 377, H.R. 745). S. 377 and H.R. 745 would make the current temporary Medicare ambulance increases permanent and place our industry in a strong position moving forward for data-driven reforms to the ambulance fee schedule. S. 377 and H.R. 745 would also address fraud and abuse with repetitive BLS non-emergency dialysis transports. While a similar program to the current pilot programs, the prior authorization within S. 377 and H.R. 745 would apply only to dialysis transports and would institute additional safeguards to ensure timely prior authorization for medically necessary transports.

We will keep you posted of new developments.

Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief

Please reach out to your members of Congress and ask that they cosponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (H.R. 745, S. 377) and support an extension of the temporary Medicare ambulance add-on payments.  H.R. 745 and S. 377 would make the current temporary Medicare increases of 2% urban, 3% rural and the super rural bonus payment permanent. Please also ask your members of Congress to support an extension of the increases, which expire on March 31.

In the next few weeks, Congress is expected to consider an extension of the temporary fix to the physician fee schedule. This package would also be the legislative vehicle for an extension of the Medicare ambulance add-on payments. An extension of these increases will ensure the continuation of short-term relief while we push to make the increases permanent. So please write today!

Thank you in advance for writing to your members of Congress.

Advocate for Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently developing a package on a permanent fix to the physician fee schedule. House Speaker John Boehner recently announced the effort for a permanent fix instead of another extension and the framework of a package is coming together quickly. It is therefore critical that you contact your members of Congress today in support of permanent ambulance relief.

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Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief Bills Introduced in Congress

I am extremely happy to report our Senate and House champions on Medicare ambulance relief introduced on Wednesday the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention, and Reform Act of 2015 (S. 377, H.R. 745). Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Senate bill (S. 377) and Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR), Peter Welch (D-VT), Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the House bill (H.R. 745).