Legislation Setting Permanent Rates for Ambulance Reimbursement Introduced

On February 4, legislation was introduced in the House (H.R. 745) and Senate (S. 377) that would make permanent the current rates that EMS agencies are reimbursed by Medicare for providing ambulance transport services. The bills, which are identical and were introduced by Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), would preserve the current “bonus payments” that are now set to expire at the end of March and are intended to ensure that reimbursement rates equal the cost of providing service.

“It is critical that EMS agencies are able to cover the cost of providing ambulance transport services to the public,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “Preserving the current rates is especially important in rural areas where it is more expensive to provide service and a higher percentage of the patients served are insured by Medicare.”

Establishing permanent reimbursement rates for ambulance transport at a reasonable level is another important component of H.R 745/S. 377. In recent years, Congress has passed emergency legislation periodically to temporarily extend the existing rates. This makes planning difficult and creates unnecessary risk for the EMS system as a whole.

“On behalf of the NVFC and our EMS/Rescue Section I’d like to thank the authors and original co-sponsors of this important legislation,” said Stittleburg. “We look forward to working with you to ensure the passage of this bill.”

You can use the NVFC’s Engage service to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators TODAY to ask them to co-sponsor this critical legislation. Just follow this link to the NVFC’s Action Center, select “Make Medicare Reimbursement Rate for Ambulance Transport Permanent,” and follow the instructions to send a customizable pre-drafted message to your elected representatives.