Ambulance Documentation Questions – Mileage Reporting
How do we record tenths of a mile when the odometer doesn’t display tenths?
Medicare billing is limited to the patient’s loaded miles only, the miles traveled while the patient is on board the ambulance. Also, “loaded mileage” must be recorded on the PCR, and billed, in increments of tenths. Unfortunately, modern ambulance odometers do not display tenths of a mile, unless the trip odometer is used.
Medicare’s Ambulance Mileage Solution…
Florida’s Medicare Carrier published the following commentary on the issue:
Our local Medicare carrier, Palmetto GBA published this opinion for providers in NC, SC, VA & WV:
“Regulations outlined in MLN Matters article 7065 (PDF, 63 KB) are to report mileage down to the tenth of a mile.
Most ambulance trip tickets [ePCR] have a place for the EMT or paramedic to enter/report the odometer reading at pick up and destinations locations. This information can be taken from the vehicle readings on the dash board.
If a vehicle does not have the ability to report tenths of a mile then an ambulance company can utilize a application such as MapQuest to document the mileage from pick up to destination points. If the latter is used an ambulance company should keep the documentation (print out) from the application in the medical record for that trip and submit that documentation to us if at any time we request the records for a given transport. If at any time the mileage reported to Medicare is affected by anything such as road closures and the mileage is in access of what normally would have been for that trip, such differences should be noted by EMT/paramedics and documentation should be kept on file to support the additional mileage. When we review transports we will be verifying the mileage entered on a claim with applications such as MapQuest.”
A “Good” Solution for Ambulance Mileage Reporting
The perfect solution may not exist for the ambulance industry. However, the trip odometer seems to be the most common workaround. There is no special equipment required and it will provide a tenth of a mile reading at the scene and destination both.
Remember, ambulance providers are responsible for ensuring that their mileage is recorded and billed accurately. Medicare carriers can and do use simple tools like Google Maps to verify ambulance mileage is reported properly. Regardless of the mileage reporting technique used, it would be a good idea to reduce the decision to a written company policy that stresses the method to be used and accuracy.
Great Ambulance Administrative Resources can be Found Here:
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