As the President of the American Ambulance Association (AAA), I see firsthand how ambulance providers serve their communities 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. However, EMS, as well as non-emergency medical transportation, remain dangerously underfunded. In fact, critically necessary temporary Medicare ambulance add-on payments are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. Without these add-ons, many ambulance services may need to reduce staff, lengthen response times, or shutter entirely.
I’m proud to share with you that AAA advocacy efforts recently resulted in the introduction of permanent ambulance relief legislation by Senators Stabenow, Roberts, Schumer, Collins and Leahy. This bill, S.967, titled the “Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention, and Reform Act,” would make permanent the critical urban and rural Medicare add-ons and super-rural bonus payments.
Although some changes are likely during the committee markup process, we’re cautiously optimistic that it will also carry through proposals to treat ambulance services more like providers of healthcare services instead of merely suppliers of transportation, as well as a cost data collection system that doesn’t place undue burden on ambulance services.
On behalf of the ambulance providers, I’d like to extend my deepest thanks to Senators Stabenow, Roberts, Schumer, Collins and Leahy for sponsoring the legislation, as well as the AAA Board, Government Affairs Committee, advocacy consultants and staff who worked so diligently to build support on Capitol Hill.
Over the coming months, AAA will continue to connect with policymakers to build support for sustainable ambulance Medicare reimbursement. However, we need your help to ensure that this critical revenue remains in place.
Please contact your Senators to voice your support for S. 967. AAA makes it easy to connect with your legislators through our online advocacy tool—please use it today at www.the-aaa.org to quickly send messages expressing the importance of the legislation to your ambulance service and the communities you serve.
If possible, we also ask that you also work with fellow ambulance providers in your area to schedule in-person meetings with your legislators’ offices. If you arrange a meeting in your home state, please contact AAA staff at [email protected] for talking points to support your conversation.
Now, more than ever, we need the active participation of every ambulance provider to ensure our collective future! Thank you in advance for your support and outreach.
President, American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”