Bi-partisan Group of U.S. Representatives Asks Medicare to Reimburse EMS for ‘Treatment in Place’

On June 29, a bi-partisan group of 36 U.S. Representatives, led by Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA), French Hill (R-AR), and John Larson (D-CT), sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administrator Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma asking that they, “…allow fire departments and EMS agencies to receive payments for providing treatment-in-place to their patients as well as providing these agencies with direct reimbursement for facilitating emergency telehealth consultations.” The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) was one of several major national fire and EMS organizations to support the letter.

“I’d like to thank Representatives Axne, Hill, Larson, and all of the co-signers for their leadership on this important issue,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “The fact that EMS agencies only get reimbursed by Medicare for transporting patients to a hospital has been a problem for years. The scope of services provided by fire and EMS departments is much broader than just patient transport, and because agencies only get paid for transporting patients to hospitals it creates a significant economic incentive to do that even if other treatment options are available. Now with COVID-19, as EMS organizations work with patients and hospitals to treat patients in non-hospital settings where appropriate, insurers need to step up to the plate and figure out ways to reimburse agencies for services rendered, including treatment-in-place and emergency telehealth consultations.”

Click here to read the full letter.