FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 7, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, eight organizations joined the Save Our Air Medical Resources (S.O.A.R.) campaign in a letter to the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee calling for the inclusion of air ambulances in Medicare extenders legislation. The organizations are urging Congress to treat air and ground ambulance equally, ensuring both are given temporary Medicare payment increases while the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) collects cost data to accurately set reimbursement rates in the future.
The organizations who signed onto the letter represent a diverse set of missions, including consumers, patients, medical and EMS professionals, and public safety officials. The organizations include:
- American Nurses Association (ANA)
- Consumer Health Coalition (CHC)
- Consumer Action
- National Stroke Association
- Epilepsy Foundation
- American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
- International Association of Flight & Critical Care Paramedics (IAFCCP)
- State Firefighters' & Fire Marshals' Association of Texas
- Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas
The organizations urged Congress to address inadequate Medicare ambulance reimbursement fees:
“It has been almost 20 years since the ambulance Medicare payment system was updated or examined. Modernizing air ambulance Medicare reimbursement is necessary for the long-term sustainability of air ambulance services. However, neither ground nor air ambulance providers currently report their costs to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), making it very difficult to implement or even propose these needed reforms. The current policy under discussion for inclusion in the Medicare extenders bill would provide ground ambulance providers with five years of higher Medicare payments in return for reporting their costs to CMS.”
The full letter is here.
Save Our Air Medical Resources (S.O.A.R.) is a national campaign dedicated to preserving access to emergency air medical services for Americans across the country by providing important education and resources to the public and to key decision and policy makers. Air medical resources are a critical element of emergency response across the country, particularly for people living in rural areas where access to trauma care facilities is often quite limited.