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PDFWAC 182-546-0450

Ambulance transportationGround ambulancePayment.

(1) The medicaid agency pays for two levels of service for ground ambulance transportation: Basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS):
(a) A BLS ambulance trip is one in which the client receives basic, noninvasive medical services at the scene, point-of-pickup, or in transit to a hospital or other appropriate treatment facility.
(b) An ALS ambulance trip is one in which the client requires more complex life-saving services at the scene, point-of-pickup, or in transit to a hospital or other appropriate treatment facility. To qualify for payment at the ALS level, certified paramedics or other ALS-qualified personnel must provide the advanced medical services on board a properly equipped vehicle as defined by chapter 18.73 RCW. Examples of complex medical services or ALS procedures include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) Administration of medication by intravenous push/bolus or by continuous infusion;
(ii) Airway intubation;
(iii) Cardiac pacing;
(iv) Chemical restraint;
(v) Chest decompression;
(vi) Creation of surgical airway;
(vii) Initiation of intravenous therapy;
(viii) Manual defibrillation/cardioversion;
(ix) Placement of central venous line; and
(x) Placement of intraosseous line.
(2) The agency pays for ambulance services (BLS or ALS) based on the client's medical condition and the medical services provided immediately prior to or during the trip.
(a) Local ordinances or standing orders that require all ambulance vehicles be ALS-equipped do not qualify an ambulance trip for the agency's payment at the ALS level of service unless ALS services were provided on-scene or in transit to the treatment facility.
(b) A ground ambulance trip is classified and paid at a BLS level, even if certified paramedics or ALS-qualified personnel are on board the ambulance, if no ALS-type interventions were provided on-scene or in transit to the treatment facility.
(c) An ALS assessment does not qualify as an ALS transport if no ALS-type interventions were provided to the client in transit to the treatment facility.
(3) An assessment and other intervention performed on-scene with no resulting transport does not qualify for payment from the agency, except when the client dies after treatment but before transport as provided in WAC 182-546-0500(2).
(4) The agency pays ground ambulance providers for mileage as follows:
(a) Loaded mileage only.
(b) Actual mileage incurred for covered trips (i.e., from the point-of-pickup to the destination) based on trip odometer readings.
(i) The agency uses the Washington state department of transportation's (WSDOT) mileage chart. The WSDOT mileage chart indicates shortest distance between points, including the use of the ferry system.
(ii) The agency uses alternative sources to calculate distance traveling when the origin or destination points are not listed in the WSDOT's mileage chart.
(iii) If the ferry system is the normal route for travel but is not used, the reason must be documented on the claim form when billing the agency. In this case, normal means the shortest route.
(iv) Miles traveled by the ferry. To be paid, providers must report by statute miles using the Washington state department of transportation (WSDOT) ferry route mileage chart located on the WSDOT website. Providers must thoroughly document the ferry route used, including a copy of the ferry ticket.
(5) The agency's base rate includes:
(a) Necessary personnel and services;
(b) Oxygen and oxygen administration; and
(c) Intravenous supplies and intravenous administration reusable supplies, disposable supplies, required equipment, and waiting time.
(6) The agency pays ground ambulance providers the same rate for mileage, regardless of the level of service (ALS or BLS). An odometer reading showing a fraction of a mile (partial mile) at the conclusion of a transport must be rounded up to the next whole unit (one mile). The agency pays for mileage when the client is transported to and from medical services within the local community only, unless necessary medical care is not available locally. The provider must fully document in the client's record the circumstances that make medical care outside of the client's local community necessary.
(7) The agency pays for extra mileage when sufficient justification is documented in the client's record and the ambulance trip report. All records are subject to agency review. Acceptable reasons for allowable extra mileage include, but are not limited to:
(a) The initial destination hospital was on "divert" status and not accepting patients; or
(b) A road construction project or other major obstacle caused a detour, or had to be avoided to save time.
(8) When multiple ambulance providers respond to an emergency call, the agency pays only the ambulance provider who actually provides the transportation.
(9) The agency pays for an extra attendant when the ground ambulance provider documents in the client's file the justification for the extra attendant and the extra attendant is on board for the trip because of one or more of the following:
(a) The client weighs three hundred pounds or more;
(b) The client is violent or difficult to move safely;
(c) The client is being transported for ITA purposes and the client must be restrained during the trip; or
(d) More than one client is being transported, and each requires medical attention or close monitoring.
(10) The agency pays ambulance providers "by report" for ferry and bridge tolls incurred when transporting clients. Receipts must be attached to the claim submission for reimbursement. All ferry and bridge toll documentation must be kept in the client's file and made available to the agency for six years from the date of service in accordance with WAC 182-502-0020.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.05.021, 41.05.160, 2015 c 157, 2017 c 273, and 2016 1st sp.s. c 29. WSR 20-17-010, § 182-546-0450, filed 8/6/20, effective 9/6/20. WSR 11-14-075, recodified as § 182-546-0450, filed 6/30/11, effective 7/1/11. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.08.090, and 74.09.510. WSR 04-17-118, § 388-546-0450, filed 8/17/04, effective 9/17/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.09.500, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, and 74.04.057. WSR 01-03-084, § 388-546-0450, filed 1/16/01, effective 2/16/01.]
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