COVID-19: Expanded Use of Ambulance Origin/Destination Modifiers

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will cover a medically necessary emergency and non-emergency ground ambulance transportation from any point of origin to a destination that is equipped to treat the condition of the patient consistent with state and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) protocols where the services will be furnished. On an interim basis, we are expanding the list of destinations that may include but are not limited to:

  • Any location that is an alternative site determined to be part of a hospital, Critical Access Hospital (CAH), or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
  • Community mental health centers
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
  • Rural health clinics (RHCs)
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)
  • Any location furnishing dialysis services outside of an End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facility when an ESRD facility is not available
  • Beneficiary’s home

CMS expanded the descriptions for these origin and destination claim modifiers to account for the new covered locations:

  • Modifier D – Community mental health center, FQHC, RHC, urgent care facility, non-provider-based ASC or freestanding emergency center, location furnishing dialysis services and not affiliated with ESRD facility
  • Modifier E – Residential, domiciliary, custodial facility (other than 1819 facility) if the facility is the beneficiary’s home
  • Modifier H – Alternative care site for hospital, including CAH, provider-based ASC, or freestanding emergency center
  • Modifier N – Alternative care site for SNF
  • Modifier P – Physician’s office
  • Modifier R – Beneficiary’s home

For the complete list of ambulance origin and destination claim modifiers see Medicare Claims Processing Manual Chapter 15, Section 30 A.