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CMS Proposes Final Rules for 2014 Ambulance Fee Schedule; Comment Period Available

Dec 29, 2013

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently posted Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2014 (CMS-1600-FC). The document discusses the Ambulance Fee Schedule including 2013 Bonus Payments (current bonus payments were scheduled to expire December 31, 2013), reductions for dialysis transport, and rural air bonuses. The deadline for comments is January 27, 2014. The complete document can be viewed here.

In related news, on December 26, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013. This new law prevents a scheduled payment reduction for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients from taking effect on January 1, 2014. The new law provides for a 0.5 percent update for such services through March 31, 2014. However, Section 1104 - Extension of Ambulance Add-On Payments - extends the following two Job Creation Act ambulance payment provisions: (1) the 3 percent increase in the ambulance fee schedule amounts for covered ground ambulance transports that originate in rural areas and the 2 percent increase for covered ground ambulance transports that originate in urban areas is extended through March 31, 2014; and (2) the provision relating to payment for ground ambulance services that increases the base rate for transports originating in an area that is within the lowest 25th percentile of all rural areas arrayed by population density (known as the “super rural” bonus) is extended through March 31, 2014. The provision relating to air ambulance services that continued to treat as rural any area that was designated as rural on December 31, 2006, for purposes of payment under the ambulance fee schedule, expired on June 30, 2013.