Mo. ambulance district could receive compensation for Medicaid service

A federal program could provide some additional revenue to compensate the Johnson County Ambulance District for costs associated with Medicaid


By Sue Sterling
The Daily Star-Journal

WARRENSBURG, Mo. — A federal program approved in 2018 could provide some additional revenue to compensate the Johnson County Ambulance District for costs associated with serving Medicaid patients.

Chief Shane Lockard said the legislation "recognizes the amount paid (by Medicaid) is less than the actual cost of providing service."

The program allows the district to send a cost report and an electronic transfer of funds to the Missouri Department of Social Services, which then forwards the report and money to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The state receives a 20 percent administrative fee, Lockard said.

He said CMS then sends the money back with additional reimbursement for the service.

"We're not going to lose money. We're getting more back than we sent in," he said.

The Missouri Fire Chiefs Association championed the legislation, he said.

"I think for a few years it will give us some money," Lockard said, adding he has not budgeted any of the funds due to the uncertainty of the amount. "I don't know if it's going to be a financial benefit because reimbursement also is based on the volume of Medicaid calls and the cost per call."

JCAD can opt out if it's not beneficial for the district.

JCAD is a low-volume Medicaid provider, Lockard said, with Medicaid patients comprising about 15 percent of patient volume. The district also has a low cost per call compared to surrounding services, he said.

"I don't see any risk," Lockard said. "(I will know about the benefit) once I get the cost report and know what the uncompensated cost is."

The district has to sign a contract for participation, he said.

One stipulation is an audit is performed every three years and if a discrepancy is found, the district has to return money.

"I recommend we hold 25 percent back in case of an error," he said.

The board authorized Lockard to sign the agreement to make the district eligible for reimbursement.

Copyright 2018 The Daily Star-Journal

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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