President’s Perspective April 2019

Dear Fellow AAA Members, Spring is in full bloom in Washington, D.C., and the American Ambulance Association is hard at work in our nation’s capital advocating for mobile healthcare providers. I am pleased to share with you several updates from your association. Advocacy Progress The AAA continues to forge ahead advocating for the legislative and regulatory priorities of our membership. Earlier this month, more than forty AAA volunteer leaders and members came to Washington, D.C., meeting with more than 100 congressional offices to advocate for Medicare policies and improved claims processing by the Department of Veterans Affairs for emergency ambulance services. (View photos on Facebook.) The AAA has also taken an active role in responding to potentially harmful “surprise billing” legislation. The AAA has been urging Members of Congress to recognize the unique and essential nature of emergency ambulance services and ambulance interfacility mobile healthcare transports. Ambulance service suppliers and providers are already heavily regulated at the local level and struggle with receiving adequate reimbursement. The Congress should protect patient access to ground ambulance services and continue to allow us to balance bill. The AAA is working closely with CMS and the RAND corporation on the development of the ambulance (more…)

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…)

President’s Perspective October 2018

Dear Fellow AAA Members, Since I assumed the office of president last month at our Annual Conference, I have been deeply moved by the selfless actions of ambulance services across the nation as they responded to natural disasters. As always, EMS answered the call to help with humanity, efficiency, and professionalism. My thoughts are with those impacted by the recent storms as well as the thousands of EMTs and Paramedics currently helping with Hurricane Michael recovery. Annual Conference & Trade Show Thanks to each of you who attended, exhibited at, or sponsored this year’s impressive Annual Conference & Trade Show. We appreciate your support and participation—it could not have been such a success without you. Once again, congratulations to our AMBY and AAA award winners! I would also like to welcome our new board members and thank those who continue to serve. At the conference, I took a few minutes to share my thoughts about the future of our association. If you missed it, you can catch up via video or essay on the AAA site. We can’t wait to see you in Nashville next November 4-6, 2019! Please check back at early next year for more attendee information....

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Message from President Reinert

Adapted from Aarron Reinert’s address at the 2018 American Ambulance Association Membership Meeting & Awards Dear Fellow Member: I write today to introduce myself as the new President of the American Ambulance Association. It is my honor to serve on your behalf, and I wanted to share with you a bit about my vision for our association over these next two years. Choices & Challenges As I prepared to take office, I spent a lot of time thinking deeply about where we’ve come, where we are, and where we’re going. It occurs to me that the next two years will likely be about choices: We can choose to be an association that is the nation’s voice for ambulances services; or we can choose not to. We can choose to stand tall in the face of adversity; or we can choose not to. We can choose to work even harder, even when we passionately disagree with one another; or we can choose not to. And we can choose to do this hard work in concert with associations outside of our own, especially those that disagree with us. Or, here again, we can choose not to. We have challenging work in front (more…)

President’s Perspective: April 2018

Dear Fellow AAA Member, Spring has sprung, and the American Ambulance Association is busier than ever working on your behalf to build the future of EMS. The AAA is pleased to announce that since our last Response Times update, Congress has passed the 5-year extension of the Medicare ambulance add-ons. The extension included the AAA’s preferred method of cost data collection that provides flexibility to the Secretary of HHS in developing the system. Consultation with the industry is required so that it strikes the appropriate balance between obtaining meaningful data and avoiding overly burdening or onerously penalizing the ambulance services. This legislation was a true victory for the AAA and the entire industry. Learn more► This success would not have been possible without months of effort by AAA volunteer leaders, advocacy experts, and staff, as well as support from our key champions in Congress. In particular, the AAA would like to thank Senator Debbie Stabenow for spearheading our legislation and ensuring that the Senate language prevailed. In recognition of Senator Stabenow’s support, she has been named the AAA’s 2018 Legislator of the Year. The AAA would also like to thank Senators Schumer, Roberts, Collins, Leahy, Hatch, Wyden, Thune, and many (more…)

President’s Perspective: January 2018

Dear Fellow AAA Members, Happy New Year from the American Ambulance Association! This year promises to bring new challenges and opportunities for ambulance services. As your association, AAA, its experts, and the whole member community will be there to support you every step of the way. Advocacy Update If you’ve missed your recent member advocacy emails, you may be wondering “What is going on with the add-ons?!” I’d like to address this first and foremost. Despite the best efforts of the American Ambulance Association and other industry stakeholders, the temporary Medicare ambulance increases expired December 31. However, please rest assured that the AAA lobbying team, volunteer leadership, and staff are working tirelessly around-the-clock to advocate for this critical EMS revenue. The good news is that the end may be in sight. However, we must remain engaged, active, and unified as an industry to carry this effort through in the face of the today’s contentious and unpredictable political climate. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate are working toward a long-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  As part of these negotiations, the House and Senate are working through the details of a Medicare provider extender package. Thanks...

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President’s Perspective: October 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Members, As I reflect on the past few months, I am awed by the dedication of ambulance services across the nation as they responded to emergencies ranging from hurricanes to wildfires to the Las Vegas MCI. As always, EMS aided their communities with humanity, efficiency, and deep-rooted professionalism. The outcomes of each of these incidents would assuredly have been far worse without the selfless service of our fellow healthcare providers. I was privileged to see this commitment to excellence firsthand as our staff at Sunstar responded to Hurricane Maria here in Florida, assisted by hundreds of EMTs, Paramedics, and strike team leaders who drove hours or days to help. Thanks to each of you for your service in our country’s time of need. Advocacy Update The AAA continues working hard to ensure the Medicare add-on payments don’t expire at the end of this year. In the Senate, S. 967 would make the add-on payments permanent. In the House, two versions of a bill (H.R. 3236, H.R. 3729) would extend the payments for five years. Extensions of Medicare provider provisions, including the ambulance add-on payments, will likely be addressed closer to the end of the year. We have...

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President’s Perspective: July 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Member, I am proud to share with you that just yesterday legislation was introduced in the House on a long-term extension of Medicare ambulance add-ons. The House bill follows introduction of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 967) in the Senate, giving us a bill in both houses of Congress. The Ambulance Medicare Budget and Operations Act (H.R. 3236) would extend for five years the 2% urban, 3% rural, and super rural bonus increases. The bill would also direct CMS to collect cost data from ambulance service suppliers. The AAA has been working with Congressman Nunes (R-CA) and Upton (R-MI) as well as the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees on the bill language. You will soon receive a Call to Action to reach out to your Representatives to cosponsor the new House bill. 967 would make the add-on payments permanent and direct CMS to collect cost data from ambulance service suppliers using a survey methodology. Since its introduction, four additional Senators have signed on to co-sponsor S. 967, Senators Sanders (VT), Cochran (MS), Tester (MT) and Gillibrand (NY), bringing the total number of cosponsors to nine. While this is (more…)

President’s Perspective April 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Member, As you know, the Medicare ambulance add-on payments are set to expire on December 31, 2017. The AAA Board, Government Affairs Committee, advocacy consultants, and staff have been working diligently to build support on Capitol Hill to ensure that this critical revenue remains in place. As we continue to connect with policymakers in preparation for the introduction of our legislation, I ask that you pay special attention to the requests for advocacy action you receive from the AAA. Now, more than ever, we need the active participation of each member organization to ensure our collective future! Capital Campaign and Financial Status In addition to representing our members’ current interests in Washington, AAA strives to serve ambulance providers over the longer term. It is key that the Association build a pool of capital for use in case of an unexpected legislative or regulatory threat, or once-in-a-blue-moon strategic opportunity. For these reasons, I announced the creation of a Capital Campaign the day I assumed the office of President. Funds contributed to this campaign are managed separately from other assets, and can only be accessed after a full AAA Board vote. To date, we have raised more than $250,000 of our $1mm goal through the generous contributions of our fellow members. My deepest thanks to all who have given. If you have (more…)

President’s Perspective January 2017

Happy New Year from the American Ambulance Association. 2017 promises to bring many changes to the health care landscape, and AAA will be there with you and your ambulance service the whole way. As we launch our 2017 initiatives, I wanted to share the updates below from AAA’s board and headquarters. Advocacy Priorities In 2017, we will continue to work tirelessly toward our primary advocacy goal: making the CMS temporary ambulance add-on payments permanent. This effort fits seamlessly into our longer-term payment reform plan, which includes seeking a change in our CMS status from “Supplier” of services to “Provider” of health care. We plan to back this effort with cost data obtained through a rotating, statistically valid survey of ambulance providers, rather than burdensome universal annual reporting. This Provider status would open the door for future innovations in our field, including mobile integrated health (MIH). Our Government Affairs, Medicare Regulatory, and Payment Reform Committees, along with our paid staff and consultants, have been extremely engaged and active on these issues. To add your voice to AAA’s, please visit our advocacy page to quickly and easily contact your elected officials. Capital Campaign I am proud to share that the $1 million (more…)

That Special Time of Year (President’s Perspective)

That time of the year is rapidly approaching… no, not the elections, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, but the American Ambulance Association Annual Meeting—November 7 through 9. Last year, our Annual Conference was a huge success, with a buzz in and around the meeting. That buzz was the result of energy that our members took away from each and every part of the meeting, from our keynote speakers, exhibit hall vendors, interactive educational sessions, and our newly re-launched AMBY awards. I want to extend an invitation to our entire membership to attend this fantastic event. The take away information from the educational sessions will assist you in operating your business back at home. The Committee Meetings that occur at the AAA meeting are a valuable opportunity to hear about a wide array of issues in our industry, but even more importantly, offer the opportunity for you to provide your valued input on strategies for our association. If those benefits are not enough, I feel the most important benefit is the networking that occurs. Before, during, and after the sessions, you will be able to share and learn from best practices from fellow industry leaders from Coast to Coast. I hope you are (more…)