Changes are coming to Medicare on April 2018. As we mentioned in our previous article, CMS will be issuing new Medicare cards to patients that replace social security numbers with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number.


Courtesy of

This change is going to affect all providers, including EMS providers. It’s always better to be proactive than reactive, so follow these 4 tips to help your service be better prepared for the changes.

#1. Talk to the patient

Never underestimate information you can get from a patient first-hand. Don’t only rely on the hospital face sheet to get you the required information. Ask your patient when they are in the back of the ambulance or the nursing facility if they have received the new Medicare card. If they haven’t, this is a chance to educate the patient in case they were not aware of the change. If possible, get a copy of the Medicare card.

#2. Educate the staff

It’s important that this information be equally circulated throughout your service. Your staff are in the optimal position to get this information directly from the patient. If they are all equally informed about the Medicare card change, they can ensure that the Medicare information is gathered on the first attempt. If the patient is unaware of the change, your staff are also in an optimal position to educate the patient and get them prepared for the change.

#3. Get a copy of the patient’s ID

If possible, get a copy of the patient’s driver’s license or State ID. This will serve as a good supplemental patient information source, especially if the patient does not have their new Medicare card.

#4. Hand out information with HIPAA

When handing out your HIPAA policy to patients, you can add a small leaflet informing the patient to keep an eye out for the new Medicare cards that will be coming by mail.


Grant Helferich is employed as the Director of Client Performance and Training with Omni EMS Billing in Wichita, Kansas. He is a former member of the KEMSA Board and has also served as the treasurer and president of the KEMSA Administrator’s Society. He was certified as an EMT, EMT-I, M.I.C.T. , and T.O. II. Grant has worked EMS for over 35 years in roles such as an EMT, EMT-I, M.I.C.T., Field Supervisor, Flight Paramedic, Cardiovascular Specialist, Assistant Director, and Director of EMS.