The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to test a new voluntary emergency ambulance service innovation model that seeks promote “the most appropriate level of care at the right time and place.”  In announcing the model, CMS noted that because Medicare regulations now only allow payment for emergency ground ambulance services for transportation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that it should extend for an additional six months its current moratoria on the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment of new home health agencies (HHAs) and Part B nonemergency ground ambulance suppliers in selected states.  Under the latest notice, the moratoria

CMS is extending for another year the Medicare prior authorization program for repetitive, scheduled non-emergent ambulance transport services rendered by ambulance providers in selected states. As previously reported, CMS began testing the three-year Medicare prior authorization model in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina on December 1, 2014. The agency extended the model to

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has approved the following seven bipartisan bills addressing the Medicare Part B program:

  • HR 3245, which would significantly increase various Medicare civil and criminal penalties under sections 1128A and 1128B of the Social Security Act, which sponsors note have not been updated in 20 years. Maximum penalties would at least double under the bill. For instance, CMPs that are now $10,000 would be increased to $20,000, while criminal fines that are now a maximum of $25,000 would increase to $100,000. Maximum sentences also would be doubled, from five years to 10 years.
  • HR 1148, the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act, to provide for Medicare reimbursement of neurological consults via telemedicine for beneficiaries presenting at hospitals or mobile stroke units.
  • HR 2465, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act, to make permanent the current Medicare coverage of speech generating devices under the “routinely purchased” durable medical equipment payment category.
  • HR 2557, the Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Elimination Act, to provide coverage of DNA Specimen Provenance Assay (DPSA) testing for prostate cancer.
  • HR 3120, to amend the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to remove the mandate that meaningful use standards become more stringent over time.
  • HR 3263, to extend the Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program.
  • HR 3271, to revise Medicare competitive bidding rules pertaining to diabetes test strips (DTS), including stronger enforcement of requirement that bidders cover at least 50 percent of the types of diabetes test strips on the market.


Continue Reading House Panels Advance Medicare Policy Bills, including Hike in Civil/Criminal Penalties

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has once again extended for six months its “temporary” moratoria on the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment of new nonemergency ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs) in selected states, effective July 29, 2017. The moratoria on new HHA enrollment (including new

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending for six months its current moratoria on the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment of new nonemergency ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs) in selected states, effective January 27, 2017.  The temporary moratoria on new HHA enrollment (including new subunits

CMS has announced a number of changes to its temporary Medicare enrollment moratoria for certain provider types in select geographic areas as a mechanism to address fraud, waste, and abuse. First, CMS is extending for six months and expanding statewide its current moratoria on the enrollment of new Medicare Part B nonemergency ground ambulance suppliers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and enrollment of new Medicare home health agencies (HHAs) in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas. CMS states that the statewide expansion is intended to address situations in which providers circumvent a moratorium by enrolling in counties outside a moratorium and servicing beneficiaries within the moratorium area. Second, CMS is expanding these moratoria to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment. Third, CMS is lifting its current temporary moratoria on Part B emergency ground ambulance suppliers. These policies are effective July 29, 2016.
Continue Reading CMS Announces Changes to HHA/Ambulance Supplier Enrollment Moratoria, New Exception Process Demo

CMS published a notice February 2, 2016 announcing an additional 6-month extension of its current temporary Medicare enrollment moratoria for new ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs), subunits, and branch locations in designated metropolitan areas.  The moratoria, which also apply to enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, apply to:

  • New

As previously reported, CMS announced in November 2014 that it would test a Medicare prior authorization process for repetitive scheduled nonemergent ambulance transport services in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. The three-year model began on December 1, 2014. As mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), CMS is

In response to rising Medicare Part B payments for ambulance transports and continuing concerns about program vulnerabilities, the OIG has once again reviewed Medicare claims for ambulance services. The OIG estimates that Medicare made $24 million in payments during the first half of 2012 for ambulance transports that did not meet certain Medicare program requirements (e.g., transports went to noncovered destinations). In addition, Medicare paid $30 million for transports that did not involve the beneficiary receiving any other Medicare services at the pick-up or drop off locations. Approximately 21% of ambulance suppliers exhibited at least one questionable billing practice during this timeframe, such as excessive mileage for urban transports or high number of transports per beneficiary. Such questionable billing was geographically concentrated, with more than half of the questionable transports provided to beneficiaries in four metropolitan areas (Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, and Houston).
Continue Reading OIG Identifies Potentially Improper Medicare Ambulance Payments

CMS has announced another 6-month extension of its current temporary enrollment moratoria for new ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs), subunits, and branch locations in designated metropolitan areas. The moratoria, which affect enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, apply to:

  • New ground ambulances in the Houston and Philadelphia

CMS is extending — for another 6 months — its current enrollment moratoria for new ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs) in designated metropolitan areas. The moratoria, which affect enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, apply to new ground ambulances in the Houston and Philadelphia metropolitan areas and new HHAs

In light of government reports finding high utilization and potential improper Medicare payments associated with repetitive scheduled nonemergent ambulance transports, CMS will test a prior authorization model program for these services in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. CMS defines repetitive ambulance service as medically necessary ambulance transportation that is furnished in 3 round trips

CMS has announced another 6-month extension of its current temporary enrollment moratoria for new ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs), subunits, and branch locations in designated metropolitan areas. The moratoria, which affect enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, apply to:

  • New ground ambulances in the Houston and Philadelphia

CMS is hosting a Special Open Door Forum on June 17, 2014 to provide an overview regarding new Medicare prior authorization initiatives impacting durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) suppliers and ambulance suppliers. Specifically, the call will cover the Medicare Expanded Prior Authorization Demonstration for Power Mobility Devices (PMDs) Demonstration, the Hyperbaric Oxygen

CMS has released its highly-anticipated data files with Medicare payment data for individual Medicare physicians and certain other Part B suppliers as part of the Obama Administration’s initiative “to make our healthcare system more transparent, affordable, and accountable.” Specifically, the “Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File” contains information on utilization, payment (allowed amount and

Citing significant potential for fraud and abuse, CMS has announced that it is temporarily suspending new home health agency (HHA) and ground ambulance enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in several geographic areas, and it is extending the current enrollment moratoria for these provider types in separate areas. Specifically, effective January

The Medicare ambulance fee schedule will be increased by a 1.0% inflation adjustment for 2014, CMS announced in a recent transmittal.  This update reflects a 1.8% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U), which is partially offset by a -0.8% multi-factor productivity adjustment mandated by the ACA. The 2014 ambulance fee