CMS announces the 2022 ambulance inflation factor may go up to 5.1%

Depending on Congress, 2022 could see the largest annual increase since 1990

By Leila Merrill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2022 ambulance inflation factor is 5.1%, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced earlier this month. The increase is set to be applied to Medicare claims starting on Jan. 1, but Congress could reduce it.

A release from Page, Wolfberg & Wirth explained, “The AIF is calculated by measuring the increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) for the 12-month period ending with June of the previous year.  Then, the change in the CPI-U is now reduced by a so-called ‘productivity adjustment.’  The resulting AIF is added to the conversion factor used to calculate Medicare payments under the Ambulance Fee Schedule.”

That said, a 2013 federal law requires a 2% reduction to the reimbursement that participating Medicare suppliers and providers get from Medicare. In response to the pandemic, Congress suspended the cuts through the end of this calendar year. The cuts may go back into effect on Jan. 1, which would reduce the AIF, if Congress does not extend the suspension.

If it goes through, the 2022 AIF would be the largest annual increase since a 5.2% rise in 1990, according to a release from the American Ambulance Association.

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