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Renal News / End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program / Health Care Policy & Politics / Top News Stories / Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC)

MedPAC discusses dialysis patient transports at meeting on ambulance payment

October 05, 2012
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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission held a meeting Oct. 4 to discuss their upcoming mandated report to Congress on Medicare payment for ambulance services, the National Renal Administrators Association reported in the Oct. 5 Renal Watch. The discussion in the meeting partially focused on ambulance transportation to and from dialysis treatments.

In their research, MedPAC discovered a rapid increase in dialysis-related transports and inappropriate billing for non-emergency transports, NRAA reported. According to MedPAC, more than half of dialysis beneficiaries had at least one transport via ambulance.  The growth rate was greater for dialysis patients over 80 years of age. They also found that dialysis patients who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid are more likely to use ambulances for transport to treatments. MedPAC said they found that
payment for round-trip transport for a dialysis treatment cost twice as much as the dialysis treatment itself.

MedPAC¹s Chairman Glenn Hackbarth issued a set of preliminary recommendations on changes to Medicare ambulance payment policy aimed at defining what reimbursements ambulance providers are eligible to receive for transporting dialysis patients and eliminating inappropriate use of ambulance services for dialysis transport. MedPAC said they would consider the recommendations over the next month before a vote takes place at their Nov. 1 meeting.

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