Increased Payments for Ambulance Services Expire

As a reminder, effective for dates of service on or after Jan. 1, reimbursement for ground and air ambulance service claims will no longer include an increase in the ambulance fee schedule due to the expiration of two Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) provisions.

Section 146(a) of MIPPA provided for an increase in the ambulance fee schedule amounts for covered ground ambulance transport. For transports that originated in urban areas, the increase was 2 percent. For transports that originated in rural areas, the increase was 3 percent. The increases were applicable only for claims with dates of service from July 1, 2008 through Dec. 31, 2009.

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Section 146(b)(1) of MIPPA also amended the designation of rural areas for air ambulance services. The statute specified that any area designated as a rural area as of Dec. 31, 2006, for purposes of making payments under the ambulance fee schedule for air ambulance services, should continue to be treated as a rural area for purposes of making air ambulance service payments under the ambulance fee schedule. This statute was also applicable only for claims with dates of service from July 1, 2008 through Dec. 31, 2009.

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