Wednesday, March 21st
Please make plans to join AAMS on Capitol Hill as we take to the halls of Congress to advocate for the“Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act” (H.R. 3378 and S. 2121), companion bills that seek to address the shortfall in Medicare reimbursements for air medical services. By bringing in both air medical aircraft and personnel, AAMS hopes to increase awareness and visibility of these important services which are often seen in only the most dire of emergency circumstances. AAMS believes that the best way to increase public awareness of the value of these services and the highly advanced medical and aviation technology employed by air medical helicopters in their emergency medical mission, is to provide the public and our elected legislators with a firsthand experience of those aircraft provided by the highly trained flight crew members themselves. Contact Chris Eastlee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
Unable to attend? Schedule conflict?
Not a problem, you can still lend your voice to the effort.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed: the “Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018” (H.R. 4547); the “Mortgage Choice Act of 2017” (H.R. 1997); and the “Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act of 2018” (H.R. 4771). The Senate voted to confirm Executive Branch nominations, including Brett Giroir to be Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service, and to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services.
This week, the House will vote on the “TRID Improvement Act of 2017” (H.R. 3978); the “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017” (H.R. 3299); and the “Americans with Disabilities Act Education and Reform Act of 2017” (H.R. 620). The Senate is expected to consider the “Broader Options for Americans Act” (H.R. 2579).
The President released his Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal on Monday.
Continuing Resolution and Budget Legislation
Early last Friday morning, the House and Senate approved the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018” (H.R. 1892), which includes a continuing resolution to fund the Federal Government through March 23, 2018. The President signed the legislation on Friday, ending an hours-long partial “shutdown” of federal agencies as the prior continuing resolution expired on midnight on February 8. The bill also: increases the spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary spending in Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019; extends the sequester for Medicare/mandatory spending through 2027; includes certain Medicare policy extenders; and authorizes additional sales of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
AAMS fully supports the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act” (H.R. 3378 and S. 2121) to address the shortfall in Medicare reimbursements for air medical services. AAMS encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor the legislation.
The bills would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with a cost reporting and analysis program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), followed by: rebasing of air medical reimbursements in 2021; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program beginning in 2024. The bill would enhance transparency by establishing cost and quality reporting requirements, as well as solve for a growing gap between Medicare payments and costs.
Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3378. The following Members of Congress have cosponsored the bill since its introduction:
- Tom Cole (R-OK);
- Jason Smith (R-MO);
- Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO);
- David Loebsack (D-IA);
- Mike Kelly (R-PA);
- Kenny Marchant (R-TX);
- Terri Sewell (D-AL);
- Ed Perlmutter (D-CO);
- Julia Brownley (D-CA);
- Jacky Rosen (D-NV);
- Ami Bera (D-CA);
- Scott Tipton (R-CO);
- Mike Coffman (R-CO);
- Luke Messer (R-IN);
- Filemon Vela (D-TX); and
- Tom O’Halleran.
Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the bill. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Todd Young (R-IN) have also cosponsored the bill.
More Information on the legislation, as well as on how to contact your Member of Congress and Senators:
- AAMS background on the legislation and the need to reform outdated Medicare rates.
- Cosponsors of H.R. 3378.
- Cosponsors of S. 2121.
- The House of Representatives tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code.
- The U.S. Senate’s contact information for all 100 Senators.