LaHood bill restructures ambulance reimbursements
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Darin LaHood has introduced a bill through the House of Representatives that would restructure current cuts to Medicare reimbursements. Some of these cuts to reimbursements have impacted ambulance service in rural areas.
“Emergency ambulance services in rural areas are essential for patients and it’s vital we continue to support them. Yet, recent reductions in Medicare payments threaten to hinder access to ambulance services in rural communities across the country,” stated Rep. LaHood, R-Dunlap. “These changes to Medicare reimbursements will negatively impact providers’ ability to offer around-the-clock services in central and west-central Illinois. Our bill will correct these changes to better reflect the realities rural emergency service providers face, while continuing to assist the emergent and non-emergent ambulance needs of all Medicare patients across the 18th District.“
The bill, HR 3021, indicates the payment adjustment for non-emergency ambulance transports would be reduced by 10 percent for the fee schedule from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2019. Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019, the fee would be reduced by 15.5 percent.
LaHood was joined in introducing the legislation by Rep. Terri Sewell, R-Alabama.
“The American Ambulance Association is grateful for the support of Representatives LaHood and Sewell in their introduction of the Non-Emergency Ambulance Transportation Sustainability and Accountability Act of 2019. This important legislation will shift cuts in Medicare reimbursement to ambulance service agencies in which 50 percent or more of their volume are repetitive BLS (basic life support) non-emergency transports to and from dialysis centers. This change will lessen reductions in reimbursement for vital emergency and non-emergency ambulance services which are already reimbursed below the cost of service,” said Aarron Reinert, president of American Ambulance Association.
Bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the Senate by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama and Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.