On February 1, 2021, US Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced legislation to reimburse ambulance providers for services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released by Senator Cassidy’s office, he explained the importance of their proposed legislation: “Because of high demand for hospital beds, many ambulance providers have been directed to care for patients in settings other than emergency rooms—whether at patients’ homes or in other health care facilities. Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay ambulance providers when a beneficiary is treated on-location. Cassidy’s bipartisan legislation would give the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the authority to reimburse ambulance providers for care delivered to beneficiaries even when the patient isn’t moved, providing vital funding to ground ambulance organizations.”
The treatment-in-place legislation would provide the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary with 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 healthcare 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 EMS protocols due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Acadian Ambulance Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag stated, “Acadian Ambulance has been working with federal and state officials, along with Louisiana’s Medicaid and commercial insurance companies, to be able to provide treatment in place and alternative destination transport services. We thank Senator Cassidy and Senator Cortez for their recognition of EMS and our ability to increase positive health outcomes and fully support this legislation.”