Comment: We have received many comments on the payment rate we have set for ambulance interception services. Some commentators thought we had to pay reasonable costs or fees for the service. Others suggested that we pay the full SSA rate. In addition, commentators have suggested that we pay for the miles of interception of paramedics. Finally, one commentator felt that we should pay on a national basis and not on the basis of a single airline. A survey conducted following the exercise showed that both BLS and SSL rescuers cited four benefits for transferring the patient to the SSA interception unit. The authors then conducted a literary search to determine if there was a search that compared the relative advantages of the two sL-Intercept options. Research has shown that the terms “interception” and “graduated response” are often used and referenced by EMS providers and professionals, but are not clearly defined. Several articles refer to an “animal response” agreement or an “animal response protocol”, but do not shed light on the details of the agreement or protocol.8-12 One article recommended that the staging time for the transfer of an ambulance driver from one vehicle to another be short; Less than a minute.8 As we found in the Final Rule of 25 January 1999, with comment period, we believe that the only State in which the conditions described in Section 4531(c) of the BBA exist is New York. After consulting with the ambulance industry in New York and reviewing Medicare data, we estimate that the volume of services that will be covered by this provision in a year`s time will be between 2,000 and 4,000.

Current payment rates for these services range from approximately $88 to $162, depending on the location of the service. A payment allowance of approximately $US 262 per service (the difference between the SDA carrier-level payment allowance and 40 percent of the BLS carrier allowance) in Western New York State and approximately $223 for the rest of the state results in negligible costs compared to the current rates paid for these services. For medical interception services that meet medicare coverage requirements, we estimate the total cost of the first year of implementation of this rule to be between $200,000 and $400,000. Since Medicare Part B co-insurance and deductible rules apply, the program`s share is estimated to be between $160,000 and $320,000. The rest of the costs are the responsibility of the beneficiaries….

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