CMS delays new payment model for emergency care

CMS has delayed the start date of its Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport model from May 1 until this fall. 

CMS selected 205 participants in February for the five-year ET3 model. CMS said it is delaying the start date because participants now are focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The new model aims to give ambulance care teams more flexibility in how they triage emergencies. The goal of the payment model is to improve care quality and cut costs by reducing unnecessary hospital visits for low-acuity emergencies that do not require a trip to the hospital.

Medicare now pays for emergency ambulance services when beneficiaries are transported to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and dialysis centers. Most beneficiaries who call 911 with a medical emergency are taken to a hospital emergency department. Under the ET3 model, Medicare will reimburse for transport to an urgent care clinic or primary care office, or for providing care in place or using telehealth.

Read more about the ET3 model here

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