CMS Modifies the Cost Data Collection System Year 1 Data Collection

News
CMS has issued a blanket waiver modifying the data collection period for the ground ambulance services that were selected to report in Year 1.  Under the current law, these organizations would have been required to collect data beginning January 1, 2020, and through December 31, 2020.  The waiver allows these organizations to select a new continuous 12-month data collection period that begins between January 1, 2021, and ends December 31, 2021.  This modification means that such organizations will collect and report data during the same time period as the ground organizations that CMS will select for Year 2 of the cost collection program. From the summary of the waiver, it appears that organizations will have the choice of submitting data in Year 1 or Year 2.  CMS has not moved…
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How Ambulance Cost Collection & COVID-19 Intersect

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Ambulance Cost Data Collection is likely the last item on your mind amid the constant barrage of updates, changing guidance, and trying to resupply PPE for your crews.  We believe there are a few ways keeping cost data collection top of mind throughout your COVID-19 preparations, response and recovery could pay dividends in the future. Here is why: The True Cost Keep track of all COVID-19 related activities.  Tracking activities so they can be separated and identified later on not only helps the ambulance service understand the true cost of pandemic response, it can help CMS understand the true cost of pandemic response as it relates to the true cost of operating an ambulance service and caring for those in need. Potential Stimulus & Reimbursement Keep track of all COVID-19…
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Ambulance Cost Data Collection Webinar: Service Area and Response Time

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Service area and response times are familiar topics for those in EMS.  Response times are a common topic of conversation and debate between EMS agencies and communities everywhere. Ambulance services are required to measure and report response times for a variety of reasons.  All ambulance services might not all be doing the measuring and reporting in the same way, however. During the webinar on Thursday, March 12th at 2:00 PM EST, the ACE Faculty will walk you through the CMS definition of response times and the questions services will be asked in the CMS Cost Collection tool.  The Faculty will also help you answer those questions accurately. ACE Faculty will also cover the CMS definition of primary and secondary service areas in this webinar.  By the end of the webinar,…
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Organizational Characteristics Are More Important Than You Might Think

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How would you describe your ambulance service?  Beyond explaining how many ambulances you have on duty, the staffing mix, or your service area, your organizational characteristics are the framework for your service’s story.  Do you have a shared service model, or are you a stand-alone provider?  Do you have multiple NPIs or only one?  Does it make a difference if you are fire-based or hospital-affiliated, and where does not-for-profit come into play? Organizational Characteristics are more important to ambulance cost collection than you might realize.  The organizational characteristics section is the introductory section of the Cost Data Collection Tool, and how you answer the questions will determine which questions are asked of you throughout the rest of the process.  Entering the wrong information in the organizational characteristics section will result…
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AMBER Cost Collection Software— Coming December, 2019

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AMBER, the Ambulance Cost Data Collection tool commissioned by the American Ambulance Association, built by Square Lines, LLC, has the potential to make your life significantly simpler when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and submitting your cost data to CMS.  AMBER can be especially helpful if you engage your vendors and take advantage of the free API. “The API allows vendors to send data, your data, from their system directly into AMBER, so you don’t have to go looking for it, or run multiple reports and then re-enter that data into AMBER,” explains Aaron Director, AMBER creator and consultant for the AAA. The goal for AMBER was to create an intuitive, user-friendly program that can walk service-directors, billing managers, accountants, or whomever is responsible for cost data collection at your…
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CMS Announces Educational Opportunity for Ambulance Data Collection

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CMS is hosting a Medicare Learning Matters event on December 5, 2019 from 1:30 - 3:00 EST on Ground Ambulance Data Collection. From the MLN article: During this call, get an overview of the new Ground Ambulance Data Collection system, including: Background Selection of organizations required to report Detailed discussion of the Data Collection Instrument A question and answer session follows the presentation; however, you may email questions in advance to AmbulanceDataCollection@cms.hhs.gov with “December 5 Call” in the subject line. These questions may be addressed during the call or used for other materials following the call. For more Information, including providers selected for the first round of reporting, see the Ambulance Services Center webpage, CY 2020 Physician Fee Schedule final rule, and Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Register now for…
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CMS Publishes Final Rule on Ambulance Cost Data Collection

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November 1, 2019  the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule on the “Establishment of an Ambulance Data Collection System”. The rule was issued as part of the “Medicare Program; CY 2020 Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Changes to Part B Payment Policies” [CMS-1715-F and IFC]. The final rule is scheduled for official publication in the November 15 issue of the Federal Register. The AAA is currently reviewing the final rule to determine changes on the ambulance data collection system from the policies as outlined in the proposed rule of August 15. The proposed rule set forth a system utilizing a survey tool and sampling of ambulance service providers and suppliers as directed by Congress and supported by the AAA.…
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CMS Releases Proposed Cost Collection Rule

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CMS has released the proposed rule that would establish the ambulance fee schedule cost collection system as required by statute. The proposed rule sets the foundation for the data collection system for ground ambulances.  It proposes a stratified random sample method, that is very similar to the one the AAA proposed via the work we commissioned through The Moran Company. We are working through the stratification categories, which are slightly different than those we identified. CMS also proposes the cost and revenue data elements it plans to use.  There are some details in the proposed rule text and others will be in the proposed tool that will be posted the CMS website today. CMS also proposes the collection period and penalties for failing to report. While the data collection provision was…
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Meet Amber: The Software Must-Have for Cost Data Collection

News, Uncategorized
The process of Ambulance Cost Data Collection is continuing to move along and, as we move closer to January 2020, a few other important steps are drawing near as well.  Amber, a user-friendly web-based system for entering the federally required data is entering beta-testing phases with a wide-release anticipated later this year. Amber, created exclusively by the American Ambulance Association in conjunction with industry experts, is designed to make cost data collection, and submission of the required data, as painless as possible.  Users of this system will end up with two items: A file that can be submitted to meet agency requirements of cost data collection An ongoing dataset that the American Ambulance Association and policy makers can use as they continue fighting for increased funding for mobile healthcare Wondering…
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