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, ACCT is circulating draft legislative language calling for a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report on clinical and aviation capability, uncompensated care and the need to direct payments to low volume rural areas.
ACCT continues to identify congressional champions to advance the MedPAC study.