AHA-supported legislation introduced late yesterday in the House and Senate would permanently extend add-on payments for ambulance services in rural areas, which are set to expire March 31. The Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention, and Reform Act (S. 377/H.R. 745) was introduced by Sens. Roberts (R-KS) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Peter Welch (D-VT). “In addition to protecting access to ambulance services in rural areas through adequate payment, your legislation directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to study how the additional payments should be modified (if at all), to account for the costs of providing ambulance services in urban, rural and super-rural areas,” noted AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack in a letter of support to the sponsors. “This ensures federal payments are aligned with appropriate data and utilization patterns. Finally, the bill also directs the Secretary to establish a process for preauthorization of ambulance services for patients with end-stage renal disease.”