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Special Modes of Transportation Update

As you know, VA is changing the rates that we pay for special transportation services – including air ambulance transportation – to better align with the rest of the health care industry while continuing to provide world-class, affordable care to those we serve. According to a report from the Inspector General in 2018, VA had been paying about 60% more than the industry standard (CMS rates) for air ambulance services. To address this discrepancy and be good stewards of taxpayer money, VA undertook rulemaking to change the rates VA pays for air ambulance services.

Under the new regulation, VA will pay the lesser of actual charge associated with an air ambulance service, or the standard CMS rate for that service, unless a separate rate has been established based on local contracts between air ambulance providers and local VA medical centers. VA intends to include terms in these contracts to ensure that Veteran care will not be adversely impacted, and that Veterans will not receive bills for these services. More information about these changes can be found here. 

These changes were originally slated to become effective on February 16, 2024, but VA has developed a rule that will delay the effective date by one year. The new rule delaying the effective date will be posted for public inspection tomorrow.

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