I am delighted to announce that our U.S. Congress has passed legislation that includes most of the provisions of H.R. 3729 — the Comprehensive Operations, Sustainability, and Transport Act of 2017 to extend the Medicare add-ons of 2% urban, 3% rural, and the 22.6% super rural bonus payments for five additional years, retroactive to January 1, 2018.
This legislation will enable our industry to continue to deliver the essential, life-saving services that we provide 24/7 to our patients and communities. It also requires our industry to begin the process of cost reporting in 2019. Reporting the actual costs that we incur in serving our patients and communities, including day-to-day patient care, as well as the cost of preparedness in the event of a disaster, will provide the data that is needed for future modifications to the ambulance fee schedule. NAEMT will partner with other stakeholders to work with HHS to help create an appropriate methodology and system for collecting this cost data.
We deeply appreciate the commitment, leadership, and perseverance of the House Ways and Means Committee and House sponsors, Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), for shepherding this bill through the legislative process, and to the Senate leadership for working out a compromise to get this legislation passed.
The success of our efforts was highly dependent on the tremendous collaboration we received from the International Association of Fire Chiefs, The International Association of Firefighters, and the National Volunteer Fire Council. Together, with one voice, we advocated for this bill for many months. We are very grateful to these partners for their tireless efforts to get this legislation passed. We also thank the American Ambulance Association for their work over many years to ensure that the Medicare add-on payments continued.
We are all grateful for the outstanding efforts of those members who provided the grassroots voice for our cause. Each of you contributed to this success. Please join me in expressing a big THANK YOU to our NAEMT Advocacy Committee, NAEMT Advocacy Coordinators and all members who actively supported passage of this bill through emails, letters, phone calls and personal meetings with their congressional leaders and staff. All of us working together was truly the key to this victory.
Dennis Rowe, EMT-P