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If your agency provides ambulance services, it is time to prepare for the new federal reporting requirement related to Medicare. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) includes a major Medicare ambulance services provision pertaining to the development of a data collection system for ground ambulance service providers and suppliers. The data collected will compile comprehensive information on ambulance costs, revenue, and services samples of all ambulance organizations.

This data will be used to evaluate costs related to payment rates under the Medicare Part B Ambulance Fee Schedule (AFS). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring that all providers of ground ambulance services collect and report expenditures, revenues, utilization, and other departmental statistics. Collection of these statistics will be required via the Medicare Cost Survey.

What is the Medicare Cost Survey?

The Medicare Cost Survey is a data collection instrument (also known as the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System) that will be used to evaluate costs related to payment rates under the Medicare Part B Ambulance Fee Schedule (AFS). Sufficient data collection is necessary for CMS to be able to establish appropriate rates in the future. If a provider or supplier does not submit a sufficient Cost Survey, a penalty equal to a 10% payment reduction to the Ambulance Fee Schedule (AFS) payments will be applied.

Ground ambulance organizations selected to report during Years 1 and 2 of data collection can select a continuous 12-month data collection period. Organizations may choose a collection period aligning with the calendar year or the organization’s fiscal year that begins between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. During their selected data collection period, organizations will collect data necessary to complete the Medicare cost survey and submit a completed Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection Instrument in 2023.

Organizations not yet chosen for reporting will be selected as part of Years 3 and 4 selection process, and will be required to collect data in 2023 and to report it in 2024.

Find out if your agency was selected to begin data collection in 2022 and report in 2023 by visiting the Ambulance Services Center on the CMS website.

What can NBS do for you?

NBS can help navigate the data collection process and complete the new Medicare Cost Survey. Our team has more than 10 years of experience working with ambulance services organizations on cost report submissions. We understand the structures of ambulance services organizations.

While it is important to note that the Medicare Cost Survey is not like Medicare cost reporting or Ground Emergency Medical Transportation (GEMT) reporting, our experience working with ambulance services organizations enables us to ensure that the Medicare Cost Survey is completed accurately.

Source: Ambulance Services Center, CMS.gov

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