Sept. 03—Congressman Darin LaHood has introduced new legislation that aims to ensure proper Medicare funding for scheduled, non-emergency end-stage renal disease ambulance services.
Alongside Congressman Terri Sewell, a Democrat from the 7th district of Alabama, LaHood introduced House Resolution 6269, which would change the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to restructure the payment adjustment of non-emergency ESRD ambulance transports under Medicaid.
"This is a bill within the Ways and Means Committee that would help ensure that our ambulance services in rural areas aren't jeopardized," LaHood said. "Our bill makes sure that Medicare fully funds ambulance services. If you live in a small community, you'll need these ambulance services. This bill ensures they're fairly reimbursed for those services."
Under the current law, ground ambulance providers face a 23 percent cut in reimbursement for ESRD ambulance transports if the patient is a Medicare beneficiary.
ESRD is the last stage of chronic kidney disease and often requires dialysis therapy, typically three times a week. The ambulance transport and the treatment are scheduled in advance.
The Non-Emergency Ambulance Transportation Sustainability and Accountability Act, as the resolution is called, would change the law to make payment reduction to reflect the proportion of pre-scheduled, non-emergency ESRD transports a company makes, according to a news release.
"Upcoming modifications to Medicare payments threaten to unfairly impact 24-7 emergency ambulance services in rural America. These changes will disrupt providers' ability to plan and offer comprehensive services around the clock to rural patients, like many of my constituents in central and west-central Illinois," LaHood said in a news release. "Our bill would correct this by reforming the program to reflect the reality of the work these providers do in our communities."