President Obama Signs Act Extending Ambulance Bonus Payments

President Obama has signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 into law.  In addition to insuring that thousands of Americans will not be assessed higher payroll deduction taxes for the balance of 2012, most importantly to the ambulance industry it means the 2% urban, 3% rural and 22.6% super rural bonus payments remain in place through December 31, 2012.

Thanks to targeted lobbying efforts by the American Ambulance Association and other ambulance industry advocates, ambulance service providers and suppliers will not see a further erosion of payments in 2012.

Those who read our previous Blog will remember that the Act also calls for a resurrected government study of the industry by the General Accounting Office (GAO), with a mandated report to Congress regarding the status of payment levels to the industry.  A similar study in 2007 reported, at that time, a funding shortfall of 6% and forewarned of perceived hardships for EMS services nationwide, especially those located in the most rural areas of the U.S.

Coming on the heels of a slight decrease for some ambulance services due to GPCI changes, the EMS industry welcomes the news of yet another extension of the bonus payments.  I’m sure you’ll agree that we all look forward to the results of the report which will hopefully direct Congress to re-examine the national Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule and ultimately pass permanent funding increases for 2013.

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