Reimbursement Rates for Ambulance Transport to Drop Unless Congress Acts
March 12, 2015
Tell Congress to Permanently Extend Medicare Ambulance Transport Rates!
At the end of March, the reimbursement rates that EMS providers currently receive through Medicare for ambulance transport services are set to drop unless there is congressional action.
The base Medicare reimbursement rate for ambulance transport does not equal the cost of providing service. Years ago, Congress helped close the gap by creating a system of “bonus payments” that increase the reimbursement rates on a temporary basis. Several times over the past decade Congress has extended the bonus payments days or even hours before they were set to expire. The latest extension of the bonus payments is set to run out at the end of this month.
“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.”
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. Having Congress in the position of needing to pass emergency legislation periodically to temporarily extend the rates makes planning difficult and creates unnecessary risk for the EMS system as a whole.
You can use the NVFC’s Engage service to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators TODAY to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 745/S. 377. 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.