Medicare Ambulance Relief Extension in Congressional Hands

Congressional Republicans Propose Relief Extension for 2012

Congressional Republicans have included a one-year extension of Medicare ambulance relief as part of their proposed package to extend the payroll tax holiday, the physician fix and a few other provisions.

The American Ambulance Association has also announced that they have learned that the Republican proposal also includes language directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide an update to its 2007 report on the costs of providing ambulance services.  The proposal also directs the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to examine ambulance reimbursement margins and report back to Congress regarding the findings of their research.

You may recall that the 2007 GAO report concluded that ambulance reimbursements lagged six percent behind the costs to provide pre-hospital treatment and transport, nationwide.  It was this report that sparked Senator Chuck Schumer of New York State to propose a Senate bill calling for an increase in the National Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule by the same six percent margin, to rid the need for the continual renewal of the relief extensions, each year.

In October we told you via previous Blog posts that the Ambulance Inflation Factor (AIF) for 2012 will be +2.4%, however we cautioned that many ambulance providers and suppliers may see a decrease instead of an increase if the relief amounts for rural and super-rural providers and suppliers are not extended into 2012.

What can I do?

What can you do to help? Pick up the phone, write an e-mail or send a letter to your United States Representative TODAY!  Better yet, make an appointment to meet with the member of Congress that represents your district.  Tell him/her that EMS is in desperate need of this funding extension and lives depend on it!

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