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Update on Medicare Payments for Ambulance Services

Nov 19, 2012

 On November 1st, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission unanimously recommended revamping the Medicare ambulance payment system by ending three temporary add-on payments that boost reimbursements for ground and air transports, as well as defining what kinds of transport are medically necessary. The two sets of recommendations to Congress will appear in the commission's March report. They mostly match draft recommendations the commission presented in October (194 DER A-20, 10/9/12). Click here to read about the Ambulance Services Payment System.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on ground ambulance provider costs and Medicare margins, as required by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. This report updates the GAO's 2007 report, and examines three themes: (1) 2010 ground ambulance providers’ costs for furnishing transports; (2) the relationship between 2010 Medicare payments and ground ambulance providers’ costs; and (3) Medicare beneficiaries’ use of ground ambulance transports in 2010. For more information, click here.