CMS Cost Data Collection Picture Becomes Clearer

Puzzle Pieces Line Up!

CMS Cost Data Collection Picture Becomes Clearer

After several weeks of dissecting the upcoming Federal Cost Data Collection mandate, the puzzle pieces of this new requirement are starting to line up to create a picture of what’s to come.

We continue to monitor the clarifications as shared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Ambulance Association (AAA) as the details of how this new initiative will unfold are rolled out to the stakeholders in the ambulance industry. Here we will share a few more of these details with you.

Selections by December

The first-round selections, chosen by National Provider Identifier (NPI) will be announced in December.

The most important part of this blog is this.

Ground ambulance services selected as part of the first 2,500 entities that must report cost data, will be notified by CMS using the United States Postal Service (USPS) mail ONLY!!

As we cautioned in an earlier blog, we loop back once again to urge all ground ambulance administrators to be certain that the address that is on file with CMS (via your Medicare record in the PECOS system by revalidation) is current and up-to-date as well as the Authorized Official. The notification will be addressed to the Authorized Official who signed off on the last Medicare update and will be mailed to the address provided in that process.

The letter will come from CMS and have their identification information on the letterhead.

30 Days…

When the letter first arrives it must be opened and acted upon IMMEDIATELY! Do not wait!

The first step will require the ground ambulance supplier or provide to respond within 30 days to indicate to notify CMS of the reporting period that will be used for the report- calendar year versus fiscal year.

Those agencies choosing calendar year will be required to supply data for January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 by May of 2021. Agencies who choose to report based on a fiscal year will have 180 days from the end of their fiscal year to report their 2020 data. This means that first-round respondents have a bit of a bonus timeframe to submit data given that they are the first chosen as part of this brand-new program.

AAA Offers to Help

Recently the AAA has offered up some tools to help agencies comply. Be sure to check out the website, which can be found using the data collection tab of the AAA website for those agencies who are AAA members.

The AAA is also beta testing a proprietary software package for data capture and reporting, which is to have the ability for users to submit their data electronically to CMS.

Additionally, there are consulting and buyers groups who are announcing they are willing to help those agencies who feel they need outside assistance. For example, those of you who are reading this space who are part of the SAVVIK buyers group should contact that organization for information that is available in support to their members pertaining to this project. QMC works closely together with Public Consulting Group (PCG) who will be offering assistance as part of their service line, as well. Feel free to reach out to our Client Services Department at with an e-mail requesting contact information for PCG.

Temporary Pain…Permanent Gain!

Sure, you’re busy. We understand. But, this Cost Data Collection mandate is now upon us. You can run…but you cannot hide from it!

We strongly urge you to begin preparing today. Don’t wait!

The positive to this is to be reminded that this exercise may lead to a final, positive “fix” to the Medicare ambulance fee schedule and given how grossly it underfunds the ground ambulance industry.

Temporary pain for potential big-time permanent gain!

The negative side to this, if you do choose to bury your head in the sand and not reply, will be for your Medicare dollars to take a 10% hit!! That’s a lot of money and there is no way for you to possibly recover that amount…it will simply disappear as a result of non-compliance.

So, get ready. It’s coming. More about this to come so please keep reading this space and be sure to check out our QMC EMS Board and Collar Podcast series for even more information. Simply search the podcast recordings on any major podcast channel or App and you’ll find us!

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