Organizational Characteristics Are More Important Than You Might Think

News
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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Cost Data Collection: So You’ve Been Selected—Now What?

Cost Data Collection: So You’ve Been Selected—Now What?

News
It’s finally here! For almost a decade the American Ambulance Association has been preparing for this moment: collecting cost data in order to justify the reimbursement inadequacies of our current payment system. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So prepare we did! Our research indicated that due to industry capacity, a provider sample and survey approach would be preferable to a mandatory cost reporting structure. Congress agreed! Our research indicated that different organizational structures made us unique healthcare providers and as such, EMS's special nature should be considered in the collection tool developed. Congress agreed! No one knows our industry better than we do and the final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates they listened! So your ambulance service…
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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

News
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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Quick Takes: Cost of Readiness

News
There is a widespread recognition in the industry that reimbursement doesn't fully take into account the costs of service readiness. But until 2020, we haven't had data to support that understanding. The new cost data collection requirements give us that opportunity IF we are able to gather and report readiness data effectively and accurately. As part of our Quick Takes series, we talk about these issues and give some things to think about in your service right away. [video mp4="https://ambulancereports.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/QTreadiness.mp4"]
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Cost Data Collection Is Coming!…and Other Lessons Learned at the Midwest EMS Expo

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“After that session…I am so impressed with the American Ambulance Association and what they’re doing with cost collection!” “I knew cost collection was happening, and that it was kind of a big deal – but I had NO IDEA how much of an impact it could have on the industry if we do not get it right.  We have to start talking to our EMS neighbors so we can all help each other.”  Those are a few of the comments I heard while attendees of the Cost Data Collection workshop held at the 2019 Midwest EMS Expo were exiting their session.  During the all-day workshop, the ACE Faculty spent time explaining what cost data collection is, why it is happening, lessons learned from other industries and what the current timeline…
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Quick Takes: Crosswalking

News
With the release of the new accounting manual, a new tool is available for preparing your service for the new cost reporting (and for getting better financial metrics). As part of our Quick Takes series, we provide a bit of background, and share a helpful process with the new manual: crosswalking. [video mp4="https://ambulancereports.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/QTcrosswalk.mp4"]
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