Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced companion legislation, S. 1149, on April 30th to H.R. 822 introduced by Representatives Pete Sessions (R-TX), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Todd Young (R-IN) and Bill Johnson (R-OH). The bill updates the Air Ambulance Medicare Fee Schedule. The legislation would also require the Department of Health and Human Services to create and implement a system for air medical Medicare providers to report their cost on specific cost drivers on a voluntary basis. Additionally, the Secretary of HHS and the GAO would issue a report, updated annually, on certain industry clinical quality measures taken from the Air Medical Physicians Association 2013 "Must Have" Consensus Metrics.
ACCT supports the concepts introduced in S. 1149/H.R. 822 related to cost reporting and the establishment of a quality program.
However, ACCT believes cost reporting should be mandatory to ensure accuracy and completeness across the industry. ACCT also recommends that any increase in reimbursement should be tied to participation in a quality reporting program. Further, ACCT endorses a MedPAC study around transforming payment for air ambulance services away form being a transport benefit to the provision of a medical service dictated by medical need.
ACCT is currently advocating our position before lawmakers in both chambers.