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Legislative and Regulatory Issues

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  • Two air ambulance bills have been introduced in the 115th Congress that require reporting of cost/quality data and address reimbursement, each backed by different industry organizations:

    • Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017 (H.R. 3378). The bill was introduced on July 25, 2017 by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and sponsored by Reps. Walorski, DelBene, Johnson, Ruiz, and Sessions. This bill is backed by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).
    • Air Ambulance Quality and Accountability Act (H.R. 3780). The bill was introducted on Sept. 14, 2017, by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and sponsored by Reps. Hudson, Kind, Jenkins, and Kennedy. The bill is backed by the Association of Critical Care Transport (ACCT).
  • The Airplane Kids in Transit (KITS) Act (S. 1167 and H.R. 2485). The Airplane KITS Act was included in both the House and Senate FAA reauthorization bills that passed through both the Senate Commerce and House Transportation committees in late June 2017. See AAP press release here.The KITS Act would require the FAA to update emergency medical kits onboard commercial airplanes with appropriate medications and medical equipment for children. Congress has not required the FAA to update the emergency medical kits on airplanes since 1998, making a review of their contents long overdue and necessary.
  • MISSION ZERO Act (S. 1022 and H.R. 880). Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), reintroduced the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to Achieve Zero Preventable Deaths Act in the 115th Congress as S.1022 and H.880 respectively. The act would assign Department of Defense trauma surgeons to level I, II, and III civilian trauma centers at the recommendation of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in order to address variations of care methods and provide additional training. The act would also create the Military and Civilian Partnership for Trauma Readiness Grant Program. Grants would be awarded to up to 20 eligible trauma centers to allow military trauma teams to provide full-time trauma care and related acute care at those centers provided the recipients allow those teams to be deployed by the DoD for military operations, training, and mass casualty events.
  • S.967 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention, and Reform Act of 2017. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced S. 967 on 04/27/2017. The bill would make permanent the urban and rural Medicare add-ons and super-rural bonus payments that have been temporarily added in past years but otherwise expire on Dec. 31, 2017. The bill also would recognize ambulance services as providers of medical services rather than mere suppliers of transportation. This is important for setting the stage for future changes to the Medicare ambulance fee schedule, e.g., treatment and referral of a patient not requiring transport, etc. The bill also would require ambulance service providers to submit cost data to assist in determining appropriate reimbursement rates.
  • S. 471 – Isla Rose Life Flight Act. This bill, introduced by Sen Jon Tester (D-MT) in the 115th Session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017, seeks to preserve state authority "relating to network participation, reimbursement and balance billing, or transparency for an air carrier that provides air ambulance service."
  • H.R. 817: End Surprise Billing Act of 2017. A bill introduced in the 115thCongress by Rep Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) with 34 Democratic co-sponsors on Feb. 2, 2017, seeks to end practices of balanced billing of health benefits for patients from out-of-network providers. While the bill does not specifically mention EMS as a source of concern, advocates for the bill are hoping for a successful “first step” to support state insurance laws that are currently preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA.)

See archives for previous legislative and regulary issues of interest.