The Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation today announced a new payment model for emergency ambulance services that aims to allow Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries to receive the most appropriate level of care at the right time and place with the potential for lower out-of-pocket costs. According to HHS, the Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport (ET3) model will make it possible for participating ambulance suppliers and providers to partner with qualified health care practitioners to deliver treatment in place (either on-the-scene or through telehealth) and with alternative destination sites (such as primary care doctors’ offices or urgent-care clinics) to provide care for Medicare beneficiaries following a medical emergency for which they have accessed 911 services. The model also will encourage development of medical triage lines for low-acuity 911 calls in regions where participating ambulance suppliers and providers operate. The model will have a five-year performance period, with an anticipated start date in early 2020. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expects to release a request for applications from Medicare-enrolled ambulance suppliers and providers this summer, and a funding opportunity notice for the triage lines for low-acuity 911 calls this fall.

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