Medicare is looking to give seniors more options with their besides the current trip to the hospital emergency room.
Under the current rules, Medicare pays the ambulance trip to the hospital. Transportation to rehab centers and nursing homes, as well as to dialysis facilities, is also reimbursed.
The pilot program adds several alternatives. These include going to an urgent care center or a doctor’s office. Treatment at home and also home treatment via tele-health will also be covered.
Medicare Ambulance: Very Popular
The pilot program is very popular with senior citizens as it gives them more healthcare options. And, if it becomes permanent, Medicare stands to save more than $500 million dollars a year. In addition, these added services will allow current first responders’ such as firefighters and ambulance services to focus on emergencies.
Government officials said they will not make snap decisions as to whether they will convert this pilot program into a full-scale service. It will be carefully evaluated. The current #1 option, going to a hospital emergency room will stay as is.
Later this year, Medicare will award 40 grants to local agencies that operate 911 dispatch centers. The pilot program would run for two years.
The grants will improve quality and reduce wasteful spending. The Trump Administration favors this program as it cuts costs and helps patients become more knowledgeable consumers.