Medicare To Allow Ambulances To Take Patients To Urgent Care, Doctors’ Offices Instead Of Emergency Room
"A payment system that only pays first responders to take people to the hospital creates the wrong incentive," said Adam Boehler, director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. For now, the change is just part of a pilot program, but if it's expanded nationwide it could save Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
The Associated Press:
Medicare Ambulance Rides May No Longer End Up At ER
Medicare wants to change how it pays for emergency ambulance services to give seniors more options besides going to a hospital emergency department, officials said Thursday. Other options could include going to an urgent care center, a doctor's office, or even treatment at home under supervision of a doctor via telehealth links. It's just a pilot project for now, but if adopted nationwide the idea could save Medicare more than $500 million a year and allow local fire departments and ambulance services to focus the time and energy of first responders on the most serious emergencies. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 2/14)
Ambulance Providers Will Be Paid For Trips To Alternative Sites, Telemedicine
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will conduct an experiment on a new payment model for Medicare to create new incentives on emergency transport and care. The model would apply to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Currently Medicare pays for ambulance services to take patients to an emergency room, which Trump administration officials say hinders creation of a value-based system. "A payment system that only pays first responders to take people to the hospital creates the wrong incentive," said Adam Boehler, director of CMMI, at an event at a Washington, D.C., fire station on Thursday. "That leads to unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations and ultimately that harms patients." (King, 2/14)