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Fire Service Leaders Urged to Reject AAA Cost Reporting Plan


Recently, the American Ambulance Association (AAA) reached out to local fire and emergency service leaders asking them to sign on to a newly proposed national EMS cost reporting system. The leaders of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (Metro Chiefs) ask that fire service leaders not sign on to this effort.

This year, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123). This legislation contained a provision which restored the Medicare Ambulance Add-On Payments (Add-On Payments). It also required the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a data collection system to gather information on the costs of providing emergency medical services (EMS) throughout the nation. Our organizations support the use of cost surveying by CMS to reform the Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule and potentially demonstrate the value of permitting reimbursement for alternative EMS delivery models such as treat-and-release and transportation to alternative destinations.

The IAFC, IAFF, and Metro Chiefs have developed a fire-based EMS cost reporting work group to provide recommendations for CMS’ new cost surveying system. We intend to recommend that CMS adopt a system similar to the cost reporting system utilized by more than 1,000 fire departments across nearly a dozen states as part of the Ground Emergency Medical Transportation (GEMT) program.

We ask that fire service leaders support the IAFC-IAFF-Metro Chiefs effort. We urge all state and local fire service leaders to reject overtures to sign on to the AAA alternative effort that may be harmful to fire-based EMS agencies.

The IAFC, IAFF and Metro Chiefs look forward to presenting CMS with a proposal to help EMS agencies, including fire departments, finally be fully reimbursed for the services that they provide our nation’s Medicare patients.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more

About the International Association of Fire Fighters
The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 307,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect communities in every state and throughout Canada. More information is available at www.iaff.org

About The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association
The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association is organized as a section of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and as a section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). The Metro Chiefs Association brings together the highest-ranking officer from each eligible metropolitan fire department in order to share information and experiences and to discuss issues of common interest.

Jim Philipps, IAFC, jphilipps@iafc.org
Tim Burn, IAFF, tburn@iaff.org
Russ Sanders, Metro Chiefs, rsanders@nfpa.org

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