Ambulance Fee Schedule
Proposed Rule for Payment under the Ambulance Fee Schedule (AFS)
published 5/26/06 (See AFS Regulations and Notices link.)
Section 4531 (b) (2) of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 added a new section 1834 (l) to the Social Security Act which mandated the implementation of a national fee schedule for ambulance services furnished as a benefit under Medicare Part B. The fee schedule is effective for claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2002, and it applies to all ambulance services, including volunteer, municipal, private, independent, and institutional providers, i.e., hospitals, critical access hospitals (except when it is the only ambulance service within 35 miles), and skilled nursing facilities.
Section 1834 (l) also requires mandatory assignment for all ambulance services. Ambulance providers and suppliers must accept the Medicare allowed charge as payment in full and not bill or collect from the beneficiary any amount other than any unmet Part B deductible and the Part B coinsurance amounts.
A cover sheet is provided with every year's PUF giving detailed information concerning the amounts payable and any special circumstances pertinent for that year's payments.
National Breakout of Geographic Area Definitions by Zip Code
In response to several requests from the ambulance community for a national breakout of the geographic area definitions (rural, urban, and super rural) by zip code, we have prepared a table (see Downloads section below). Please note that it is arranged by State (using each State's two-letter postal abbreviation), and, within each State, all zip codes are listed. There are two sides to the table – the current geographic area breakout on the left and the geographic area breakout under the Proposed Rule, which was published on May 26, 2006 on the right. The Medicare contractor number and the locality are also included. Please note that, in the far right column for each side of the table, R = Rural, Blank = Urban, and B = Super Rural. None of the Super Rural areas has changed. Please search for your State, then zip code within the State, and compare the two sides of the table to determine if your geographic area definition changes under the Proposed Rule discussion.
CY 2015 Proposed Rule:
In the CY 2015 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule (79 FR 40376); CMS proposed to implement the new OMB delineations as described in the February 28, 2013 OMB Bulletin No. 13-01 based on 2010 Census to more accurately identify urban and rural areas for ambulance fee schedule payment purposes. We have prepared tables identifying the zip codes that would be affected by these proposed changes (see Downloads section below).
CY 2015 Final Rule:
In the CY 2015 PFS final rule, http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2014-26183_PI.pdf CMS finalized our proposals to adopt, beginning in CY 2015, the revised OMB delineations as set forth in OMB’s February 28, 2013 bulletin (No. 13-01) and the most recent modifications of the RUCA codes for purposes of payment under the ambulance fee schedule. As we proposed, using the updated RUCA codes definitions, we will continue to designate any census tracts falling at or above RUCA level 4.0 as rural areas. None of the current super rural areas will lose their super rural status upon implementation of the revised OMB delineations and the updated RUCA codes. We have prepared the following tables: ZIP codes by state that changed from urban to rural, ZIP codes by state that changed from rural to urban, list of ZIP codes with RUCA code designations, and a complete list of ZIP codes identifying their designation as super rural, rural or urban. (see Downloads section below).
CY 2015 Final Rule Correction Notice:
In the CY 2015 final rule discussion of the updated ZIP code analysis based on OMB’s revised delineations and updated Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes (see 79 FR 67744 - 67750, November 13, 2014), the percentages and totals of the ZIP codes changing from urban to rural and from rural to urban, the percentages and totals of the ZIP codes not changed, and the referenced state impacts are incorrect due to a technical error in the application of the updated RUCA codes. In addition, the total number of ZIP codes is incorrect. We issued a correction notice on December 31, 2014 (79 FR 78716 - 78719). We have also revised the following tables: ZIP codes by state that changed from urban to rural, ZIP codes by state that changed from rural to urban, and a complete list of ZIP codes identifying their designation as super rural, rural or urban. (see Downloads section below).
CY 2016 Proposed Rule:
For CY 2016 and subsequent CYs, we are proposing to continue implementation of the revised OMB delineations and the most recent modifications of the RUCA codes that we adopted for the CY 2015 ambulance fee schedule. The following tables are available: ZIP codes by state that changed from urban to rural, ZIP codes by state that changed from rural to urban, list of ZIP codes with RUCA code designations and a complete list of ZIP codes identifying their designation as super rural, rural or urban. (see Downloads section below).
Ambulance Services Center
For a one-stop resource web page focused on the informational needs and interests of Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) ambulance suppliers, go to the Ambulance Services Center (see under "Related Links Inside CMS" below).
- National Breakout of the Geographic Area Definitions by Zip Code [ZIP, 1MB]
- Zip Code to Carrier Locality File - Updated 05/18/2015 [ZIP, 4MB]
- Zip Codes requiring +4 extension - Updated 05/18/2015 [ZIP, 1KB]
- 2014 End of Year Zip Code File - Updated 11/14/2014 [ZIP, 4MB]
- Changes to Zip Code File - Updated 11/14/2014 [ZIP, 498B]
- Regional Office Contacts [PDF, 36KB]
- CY 2015 NPRM Zip Codes [ZIP, 13KB]
- CY2015 Final Rule Zip Code Files [ZIP, 1MB]
- CY 2015 Final Rule Correction Notice [ZIP, 1MB]
- CY 2016 Proposed Rule [ZIP, 1MB]
- Page last Modified: 07/15/2015 11:45 AM
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