Treatment-in-Place Medicare Bill Introduced in the Senate

The photo shows the outside of the U.S. Capitol.
Photo/Jeff Frankel

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) want to make sure ambulance providers are reimbursed for providing services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Medicare, as we know, does not pay ambulance providers when a beneficiary is treated at the scene.

The treatment-in-place legislation would provide the Health and Human Services Secretary the authority to reimburse ambulance providers for services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries for the duration of the public health emergency – even when patients aren’t transported to a health care facility.

The Secretary would be permitted to waive requirements to allow Medicare payment for ground ambulance services in response to a 911 call in cases in which a beneficiary would have been transported to a destination permitted under Medicare regulations, but such transport did not occur as a result of community-wide emergency medical service (EMS) protocols due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The bill has the approval of the American Ambulance Association.

“S. 149 will empower ground ambulance service organizations to better meet the emergency medical needs of their communities, which are struggling during the pandemic,” stated AAA President Shawn Baird. “I applaud Senators Cortez Masto and Cassidy for their leadership on introducing this vital piece of legislation, as well as the Senate Finance Committee and Leadership for their support of these efforts.”

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