Ambulance Transport Fees
The new year may be an ideal time to review the fees you charge for ambulance transport services. Ambulance transport fees paid under the Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule will increase +0.7% on January 1, 2017. The increase will apply to trips with a service date of January 1, 2017 and beyond. This change will apply to emergency and non-emergency land ambulance as well as fixed & rotary wing air ambulance services. Increases are the result of the CMS “Ambulance Inflation Factor”, an annual adjustment based on inflation. The “AIF” is derived by combining the “Consumer Price Index” (+1.0% for 2017) and the “Multi-Factor Productivity” adjustment (-0.3% for 2017).
While providers usually bill much more than Medicare’s Ambulance Fee Schedule rate, you may be billing below your true operating costs. Costs are rising quickly in EMS, we recommend adjusting rates annually based on changes to your actual operating costs. A provider might calculate their total costs for the year, then divide that amount across the total number of responses answered. Once this calculation is done for two years, the difference can be reduced to a percentage using simple division. That percentage could then be used to adjust your retail fee schedule. National and state trade associations for EMS providers usually publish tools for calculating these costs.
Your actual costs may not be covered by major payers such as Medicare & Medicaid, it depends on your agency’s expenses. But it is important to have those costs reflected in your claims. At some point, these charges always become part of the conversations that occur between the ambulance industry and the payers. You will receive your actual billed charges for some of your claims. And even when you don’t. its important to have your fees on record. Knowing your cost per response is useful for other administrative decisions too. It is just a good idea all the way around we think.
Ambulance transport fees are an important operational consideration, leaving too much money on the table can cause financial hardship for the EMS agency, which begins to impact EMT morale, supplies, equipment and maintenance…and eventually patient care & outcomes. We are anxious to help, if you would like to discuss your agency’s ambulance transport fees in more detail, contact our office, all calls are confidential and without obligation. You do not have to be a current customer, we are committed to bringing the mutual aid concept to the administrative office.
If you prefer the technical details of how Medicare’s Ambulance Fee Schedule is calculated, then click here. The necessary spreadsheets are available for download there.
We hope you have found this ambulance transport fee discussion helpful. PMC is a medical billing company dedicated to EMS and Ambulance Service Billing. We have been helping EMS agencies succeed for over twenty years, how can we help you today?
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