Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced legislation, S. 1149/H.R. 822 that updates the Air Ambulance Medicare Fee Schedule. The legislation requires the Secretary in the case of air ambulance services furnished during calendar 2017 through 2021 to make a percentage increase in the base rate of the fee schedule: (1) by 20% during 2017, and (2) by 5% during 2018-2020.
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 recommends that any increase in reimbursement should be targeted to the specific areas of greatest need with measured quality and safety improvements.
Accordingly, the ACCT policy committee has created a position statement on transport reimbursement for purposes of advocacy on the Hill. ACCT contends that all discussions of increases in transport reimbursement should include consideration for reimbursing on-scene care, including bedside laboratory testing and other evidenced based procedures. Further, ACCT recommends that an enhanced reimbursement model should incentivize readiness and that any reimbursement increases should include a study of the likely impact on those in super rural areas.
ACCT continues to engage Members of Congress on these initiatives.