(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
Data collection period means, with respect to a year, the 12-month period that reflects the ground ambulance organization's annual accounting period.
Data reporting period means, with respect to a year, the 5-month period that begins the day after the last day of the ground ambulance organization's data collection period.
For a year means one of the calendar years from 2020 through 2024.
Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection Instrument means the single survey-based data collection instrument that can be accessed by sampled ambulance organizations under this section via a secure web-based system for reporting data under this section.
(b) Data collection and submission requirement. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, a ground ambulance organization selected by CMS under paragraph (c) of this section must do the following:
(1) Within 30 days of the date that CMS notifies a ground ambulance organization under paragraph (c)(3) of this section that it has selected the ground ambulance organization to report data under this section, the ground ambulance must select a data collection period that corresponds with its annual accounting period and provide the start date of that data collection period to the ground ambulance organization's Medicare Administrative Contractor.
(2) Collect during its selected data collection period the data necessary to complete the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection Instrument.
(3) Submit to CMS a completed Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection Instrument during the data reporting period that corresponds to the ground ambulance organization's selected data collection period.
(c) Representative sample.
(1) Random sample. For purposes of the data collection described in paragraph (b) of this section, and for a year, CMS will select a random sample of 25 percent of eligible ground ambulance organizations that is stratified based on:
(i) Provider versus supplier status and ownership (for-profit, non-profit, and government);
(ii) Service area population density (transports originating in primarily urban, rural, and super rural zip codes); and
(iii) Medicare-billed transport volume categories.
(2) Selection eligibility. A ground ambulance organization is eligible to be selected for data reporting under this section for a year if it is enrolled in Medicare and has submitted to CMS at least one Medicare ambulance transport claim during the year prior to the selection under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(3) Notification of selection for a year. CMS will notify an eligible ground ambulance organization that it has been selected to report data under this section for a year at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the calendar year in which the ground ambulance organization must begin to collect data by posting a list of selected organizations on the CMS web page and providing written notification to each selected ground ambulance organization via email or U.S. mail.
(4) Limitation. CMS will not select the same ground ambulance organization under this paragraph (c) in 2 consecutive years, to the extent practicable.
(d) Hardship exemption. A ground ambulance organization selected under paragraph (c) of this section may request and CMS may grant an exception to the reporting requirements under paragraph (b) of this section in the event of a significant hardship, such as a natural disaster, bankruptcy, or similar situation that the Secretary determines interfered with the ability of the ground ambulance organization to submit such information in a timely manner for the data collection period selected by the ground ambulance organization.
(1) To request a hardship exemption, the ground ambulance organization must submit a request form (accessed on the Ambulances Services Center website (https://www.cms.gov/Center/Provider-Type/Ambulances-Services-Center.html) to CMS within 90 calendar days of the date that CMS notified the ground ambulance organization that it would receive a 10 percent payment reduction as a result of not submitting sufficient information under the data collection system. The request form must include all of the following:
(i) Ground ambulance organization name.
(ii) NPI number.
(iii) Ground ambulance organization address.
(iv) Chief executive officer and any other designated personnel contact information, including name, email address, telephone number and mailing address (must include a physical address, a post office box address is not acceptable).
(v) Reason for requesting a hardship exemption.
(vi) Evidence of the impact of the hardship (such as photographs, newspaper or other media articles, financial data, bankruptcy filing, etc.).
(vii) Date when the ground ambulance organization would be able to begin collecting data under paragraph (b) of this section.
(viii) Date and signature of the chief executive officer or other designated personnel of the ground ambulance organization.
(2) CMS will provide a written response to the hardship exemption request within 30 days of its receipt of the hardship exemption form.
(e) Notification of non-compliance and informal review.
(1) Notification of non-compliance. A ground ambulance organization selected under paragraph (c) of this section for a year that does not sufficiently report data under paragraph (b) of this section, will receive written notification from CMS that it will receive a payment reduction under § 414.610(c)(9).
(2) Informal review. A ground ambulance organization that receives a written notification under paragraph (e)(1) of a payment reduction under § 414.610(c)(9) may submit a request for an informal review within 90 days of the date it received the notification by submitting all of the following information:
(i) Ground ambulance organization name.
(ii) NPI number.
(iii) Chief executive officer and any other designated personnel contact information, including name, email address, telephone number and mailing address with the street location of the ground ambulance organization.
(iv) Ground ambulance organization's selected data collection period and data reporting period.
(v) A statement of the reasons why the ground ambulance organization does not agree with CMS' determination and any supporting documentation.
(f) Public availability of data. Beginning in 2022, and at least once every 2 years thereafter, CMS will post on its website data that it collected under this section, including but not limited to summary statistics and ground ambulance organization characteristics.
(g) Limitations on review. There is no administrative or judicial review under section 1869 or section 1878 of the Act, or otherwise of the data required for submission under paragraph (b) of this section or the selection of ground ambulance organizations under paragraph (c) of this section.
[84 FR 63193, Nov. 15, 2019]