After reading the 1/13/15 article, NJ Ambulance Operators Facing Medicare Cash Crunch, regarding how the new prior authorization policy implemented by Medicare has affected the ambulance industry, we at On Time have a simple response: we applaud the efforts the government is making to eliminate the fraud committed by many ambulance companies who were taking patients by stretcher who didn't need it.
We have always thought that a prior authorization policy made sense because of the rampant fraud in NJ, evidenced by the fact that we have the highest statistics of repetitive ambulance trips in the country. The numbers don't lie. These fraudulent companies put a black eye on the honest ones that were always trying to do the right thing.
That all being said, there are many ambulance companies who are honest and just want to take good care of their patients while also transporting them via the most appropriate mode. We feel the way Novitas/Medicare implemented this brand new process over the holidays, when most doctors are difficult to reach, was terrible and put many patients' lives at risk. They should have waited until after the holidays so that companies had time to work closer with their patient's families, facilities, and doctors. Although most patients are capable of going by a lower mode of service, there are still many that need the higher level of care a stretcher transport provides. These patients can't wait the 10 or 20 days it takes to get authorization or their lives are in jeopardy.
Companies will now need to have a closer working relationship with their patients, doctors and contracted facilities so that together they compile the proper documentation necessary to meet these new stringent requirements. The medical necessity has to be legible, objective and quantifiable; therefore ambulance companies will have to be very good at what they do in order to quickly help the patients who need to get to their much needed dialysis and radiation appointments.
On Time is committed to meeting these tougher requirements and will meet with any patient or facility to help them understand what they need to do to help get their patients, who meet the medical necessity requirements, approved. We have put together a comprehensive repetitive transportation packet for all of our partnered facilities and patients. It includes everything our patients and customers need to comply with this new guideline, and it's worked. Unlike most ambulance companies, On Time has received prior approvals for many of our patients due to the experienced clinical personnel we employ.
On Time is here to help all of our healthcare partners and patients with these new tougher Medicare guidelines. With over 250 caring employees, 120 modern vehicles, and 25 years of experience we are here to stay and help. Call us today at 908-298-9500, ext. 116 if you would like to discuss how we can help you with your repetitive patients, as well as any and all other medical transportation services.