NVFC Expresses Support for Extending Increases in Medicare Payments for Ambulance Transport

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), along with other members of the Joint National EMS Leadership Forum (JNEMSLF), has sent a letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) asking that they, “…take into consideration the chronic under-reimbursement of ambulance services by Medicare.” MedPAC is an independent Congressional agency established in 1997 that advises Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program.

The letter cites a 2007 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled Ambulance Providers: Costs and Expected Medicare Margins Vary Greatly, which found that on average ambulance service providers and suppliers are reimbursed by Medicare at a rate that is six percent below their costs and that this goes up to 17 percent in super rural areas. NVFC EMS/Rescue Section Chair Ken Knipper helped to develop and comment on that report before it was released.

In the letter, the NVFC and the other signees express that the current temporary increases in Medicare reimbursement, which are slated to expire at the end of the year, “…are critical to the financial stability of ambulance service suppliers and providers. The extensions will help make certain that not only Medicare beneficiaries but all patients continue to have access to essential ambulance services.”

In addition to signing onto the JNEMSLF letter to MedPAC, maintaining adequate Medicare reimbursement rates for ambulance transport is one of the NVFC’s legislative priorities.