President’s Perspective January 2019

Dear Fellow AAA Members, Happy New Year from the American Ambulance Association! We enter this new year ready to rise together as an industry to face the mobile healthcare’s challenges and opportunities. Advocacy Update The AAA worked hard in the 115th Congress to achieve many legislative and regulatory wins for the industry. Thanks to the AAA Board, volunteer leaders, staff and consultants, and members alike, we were able to accomplish many of our goals to improve payment policies and overall regulations that will benefit AAA members and the industry as a whole. Last year, the AAA ensured the inclusion and passage of a 5-year extension of the ambulance Medicare add-on payments through December 31, 2022 as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The AAA also successfully pushed our preferred method for data cost collection using a survey which is the most likely to provide useful data for future payment reform as well as be the least burdensome on ambulance service providers. In coordination with particular AAA members, the AAA worked with Senator Collins to include report language to accompany the FY2019 Senate VA Appropriations bill which directs the VA to use the prudent layperson standard for determining emergency (more…)

Release: Midwest EMS Expo Announced!

State and National Ambulance Associations Unite to Bring Key Education to Midwestern EMS Providers Midwest EMS Expo | May 2–3, 2018 | La Crosse Center La Crosse, WI– The American Ambulance Association (AAA), Minnesota Ambulance Association (MAA), and Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) today officially announced the launch of the Midwest EMS Expo conference and trade show. This event will take place annually in La Crosse, Wisconsin beginning in May 2018, and will feature content from national- and state-level ambulance experts. “AAA is proud to partner with PAAW and MAA in the development of the Midwest EMS Expo. We look forward to bringing together the best in ambulance expertise to deliver a powerful educational experience for EMS leaders,” said American Ambulance Association President Mark Postma. The program will open on Wednesday, May 2, with key updates from the American Ambulance Association’s renowned experts on EMS reimbursement and advocacy. Highlights include a federal legislative overview by AAA President Mark Postma, as well as strategies for maximizing revenue from reimbursement gurus Asbel Montes, Brian Werfel, Brian Choate, and Scott Moore. Thursday, May 3rd’s programming was developed collaboratively by the Minnesota Ambulance Association and Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin. The day will (more…)

Congressman Erik Paulsen to Receive AAA Legislative Honor

Congressman Erik Paulsen to Receive AAA Legislative Recognition Award For Immediate Release Contact: Amanda Riordan ariordan@ambulance.org 703-610-0264 Washington, DC, – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) will honor Congressman Erik Paulsen of Minnesota with a Legislative Recognition Award in appreciation of his advocacy for emergency medical services. Congressman Paulsen will be presented this award in June in Washington, DC by AAA’s Minnesota Stars of Life—EMS personnel selected for their excellence and dedication. This year’s Stars from the North Star State are Doug Volin, and Brian Galowitz of Lakes Region EMS, and Angela Jarrett of Mayo Clinic. Congressman Paulsen was selected for the Legislative Recognition Award for his support of the Medicare ambulance temporary add-on increases of 2% urban and 3% urban and the super rural bonus payment. AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Congressman Paulsen has been a trusted advocate for health care and emergency medical services, both in Minnesota and across our country.” Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 from Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district, Congressman Paulsen serves on the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittees on Health and Trade, and on the Joint Economic Committee. In appreciation of his ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United (more…)

2017 AAA Legislative Awards

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 AAA Legislative Awards, in recognition of their strong advocacy for emergency medical services. Each legislator was chosen for their ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United States. 2017 AAA Legislator of the Year Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) – Press Release, Facebook Post, Twitter Post 2017 AAA Legislative Recognition Award Recipients Senators Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) – Press Release Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – Press Release Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – Press Release Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) – Press Release Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) – Press Release Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) – Press Release Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) – Press Release Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) – Press Release Representatives Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) – Press Release Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) – Press Release Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) – Press Release Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) – Press Release Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) – Press Release Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) – Press Release Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)...

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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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Wall Street Journal: Paramedics Aren’t Just for Emergencies

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured several promising community paramedicine programs, as well as some great quantitative results. “Paramedics are a readily deployable, nimble, clinically trained resource who can help close a gap in American health care,” Dr. Schoenwetter says… From March 2014 to June 2015, the Geisinger mobile health team prevented 42 hospitalizations, 33 emergency department visits and 168 inpatient days among 704 patients who had a home visit from a paramedic, Geisinger calculates. In the case of heart-failure patients, hospital admissions and emergency-room visits were reduced by 50%, and the rate of hospital readmissions within 30 days fell by 15%. Patient satisfaction scores for the program were 100%.” Read the full article on wsj.com. (Hat tip to Matt Zavadsky.)

Spotlight: Aarron Reinert

Aarron Reinert Isanti, Minnesota, USA Executive Director, Lakes Region EMS Treasurer, American Ambulance Association Tell us a little about yourself. This is my 25th year as a paramedic. I began my EMS career as a volunteer in a small rural ambulance service in central Minnesota. During my career I have had a number of different leadership experiences, including leading small rural services and large metropolitan services, as well as working for theMinnesota state EMS office. Today I serve as the Executive Director for Lakes Region EMS. Lakes Region EMS is a rural ambulance service serving Minnesota and Wisconsin composed of 73 full-time staff with a Paramedic/EMT staffing pattern. Previous to Lakes Region EMS, I was the Field Services Manager for the Minnesota Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board. At the EMSRB, my projects included creating and implementing a statewide web-based data collection system, developing statewide EMS communication systems, and coordinating EMS bioterrorism preparedness. I am also active on behalf of our industry on the national level. I serve on the board of directors for the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT), am a past board member for Advocates for EMS, and National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA), and was the chair for the (more…)