42 CFR § 414.615 - Transition to the ambulance fee schedule.

§ 414.615 Transition to the ambulance fee schedule.

The fee schedule for ambulance services will be phased in over 5 years beginning April 1, 2002. Subject to the first sentence in § 414.610(a), payment for services furnished during the transition period is made based on a combination of the fee schedule payment for ambulance services and the amount the program would have paid absent the fee schedule for ambulance services, as follows:

(a) 2002 Payment. For services furnished in 2002, the payment for the service component, the mileage component and, if applicable, the supply component is based on 80 percent of the reasonable charge for independent suppliers or on 80 percent of reasonable cost for providers, plus 20 percent of the ambulance fee schedule amount for the service and mileage components. The reasonable charge or reasonable cost portion of payment in CY 2002 is equal to the supplier's reasonable charge allowance or provider's reasonable cost allowance for CY 2001, multiplied by the statutory inflation factor for ambulance services.

(b) 2003 Payment. For services furnished in CY 2003, payment is based on 60 percent of the reasonable charge or reasonable cost, as applicable, plus 40 percent of the ambulance fee schedule amount. The reasonable charge and reasonable cost portion in CY 2003 is equal to the supplier's reasonable charge or provider's reasonable cost for CY 2002, multiplied by the statutory inflation factor for ambulance services.

(c) 2004 Payment. For services furnished in CY 2004, payment is based on 40 percent of the reasonable charge or reasonable cost, as applicable, plus 60 percent of the ambulance fee schedule amount. The reasonable charge and reasonable cost portion in CY 2004 is equal to the supplier's reasonable charge or provider's reasonable cost for CY 2003, multiplied by the statutory inflation factor for ambulance services.

(d) 2005 Payment. For services furnished in CY 2005, payment is based on 20 percent of the reasonable charge or reasonable cost, as applicable, plus 80 percent of the ambulance fee schedule amount. The reasonable charge and reasonable cost portion in CY 2005 is equal to the supplier's reasonable charge or provider's reasonable cost for CY 2004, multiplied by the statutory inflation factor for ambulance services.

(e) 2006 and Beyond Payment. For services furnished in CY 2006 and thereafter, the payment is based solely on the ambulance fee schedule amount.

(f) Updates. The portion of the transition payment that is based on the existing payment methodology (that is, the non-fee-schedule portion) is updated annually for inflation by a factor equal to the percentage increase in the CPI-U (U.S. city average) for the 12-month period ending with June of the previous year. The CY 2002 inflation update factor used to update the 2001 payment amounts is applied to the annualized (average) payment amounts for CY 2001. For the period January 1, 2001 through June 30, 2001, the inflation update factor is 2.7 percent. For the period July 1, 2001 through December 31, 2001, the inflation update factor is 4.7 percent. The average for the year is 3.7 percent. Thus, the annualized (average) CY 2001 payment amounts used to derive the CY 2002 payment amounts are equivalent to the CY 2001 payment amounts that would have been determined had the inflation update factor for the entire CY 2001 been 3.7 percent. Both portions of the transition payment (that is, the portion that is based on reasonable charge or reasonable cost and the portion that is based on the ambulance fee schedule) are updated annually for inflation by the inflation factor described in § 414.610(f).

(g) Exception. There will be no blended payment allowance as described in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section for ground mileage in those States where the Medicare carrier paid separately for all out-of-county ground ambulance mileage, but did not, before the implementation of the Medicare ambulance fee schedule, make a separate payment for any ground ambulance mileage within the county in which the beneficiary was transported. Payment for ground ambulance mileage in that State will be made based on the full ambulance fee schedule amount for ground mileage. This exception applies only to carrier-processed claims and only in those States in which the carrier paid separately for out-of-county ambulance mileage, but did not make separate payment for any in-county mileage throughout the entire State.