Author: AAA Staff

EMS.gov | Telemedicine Framework for EMS and 911

New Resource: Telemedicine Framework for EMS and 911

Communities and organizations considering EMS and 911 telemedicine programs will find design concepts and considerations, suggestions for identifying community partners, checklists and other helpful material

Although it was the COVID-19 pandemic that accelerated the adoption of telemedicine by EMS and 911 systems across the country, its use is likely only going to continue to grow. Telemedicine in EMS and 911 has many potential benefits and will be a key tool to help communities achieve the vision of a people-centered EMS system described by EMS Agenda 2050.

To help EMS and 911 organizations who are in the early stages of planning or implementing telemedicine programs, the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS brought together experts to create the Telemedicine Framework for EMS and 911 Organizations. The intent of this resource is to provide an understanding of opportunities to leverage telemedicine to deliver high-quality and cost-efficient care at the right place and the right time. The framework offers suggestions for how to engage stakeholders and policymakers and how to assess financial considerations when implementing a program. It also cites and links to a number of other resources, making it a great starting place to learn about telemedicine in EMS and 911 and find more information.

Read the Telemedicine Framework now and continue your organization’s journey to providing more effective, people-centered care.

Download

CMS Bolsters Payments for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccines

From CMS on June 9, 2021

Biden Administration Continues Efforts to Increase Vaccinations by Bolstering Payments for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations for Medicare Beneficiaries

As part of President Biden’s commitment to increasing access to vaccinations, CMS announced an additional payment amount for administering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach. This announcement further demonstrates continued efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to meet people where they are and make it as easy as possible for all Americans to get vaccinated. There are approximately 1.6 million adults 65 or older who may have trouble accessing COVID-19 vaccinations because they have difficulty leaving home.

While many Medicare beneficiaries can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a retail pharmacy, their physician’s office, or a mass vaccination site, some beneficiaries have great difficulty leaving their homes or face a taxing effort getting around their communities easily to access vaccination in these settings. To better serve this group, Medicare is incentivizing providers and will pay an additional $35 per dose for COVID-19 vaccine administration in a beneficiary’s home, increasing the total payment amount for at-home vaccination from approximately $40 to approximately $75 per vaccine dose. For a two-dose vaccine, this results in a total payment of approximately $150 for the administration of both doses, or approximately $70 more than the current rate.

“CMS is committed to meeting the unique needs of Medicare consumers and their communities – particularly those who are home bound or who have trouble getting to a vaccination site. That’s why we’re acting today to expand the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to people with Medicare at home,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasure. “We’re committed to taking action wherever barriers exist and bringing the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to the door of older adults and other individuals covered by Medicare who still need protection.”

Delivering COVID-19 vaccination to access-challenged and hard-to-reach individuals poses some unique challenges, such as ensuring appropriate vaccine storage temperatures, handling, and administration. The CDC has outlined guidance to assist vaccinators in overcoming these challenges. This announcement now helps to address the financial burden associated with accommodating these complications.

The additional payment amount also accounts for the clinical time needed to monitor a beneficiary after the vaccine is administered, as well as the upfront costs associated with administering the vaccine safely and appropriately in a beneficiary’s home. The payment rate for administering each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the additional in-home payment amount, will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.

How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine:

As this action demonstrates, a person’s ability to leave their home should not be an obstacle to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. As states and the federal government continue to break down barriers – like where vaccines can be administered – resources for connecting communities to vaccination options remain key. Unvaccinated individuals and those looking to assist friends and family can:

  • Visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for vaccines nearby
  • Text GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish for near-instant access to details on three vaccine sites in the local area
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY: 1-888-720-7489) for assistance in English and Spanish

Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines:

The federal government is providing the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge or with no cost-sharing for all people living in the United States. As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers cannot charge patients any amount for administering the vaccine.

Because no patient can be billed for COVID-19 vaccinations, CMS and its partners have provided a variety of information online for providers vaccinating all Americans regardless of their insurance status:

  • Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines or their administration, and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible.
  • Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP):State Medicaid and CHIP agencies must cover COVID-19 vaccine administration with no cost sharing for nearly all beneficiaries during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and for over a year after it ends. For the very limited number of Medicaid beneficiaries who are not eligible for this coverage (and do not receive it through other coverage they might have), providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to underinsured individuals through the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as discussed below. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the federal matching percentage for state Medicaid and CHIP expenditures on COVID-19 vaccine administration is currently 100% (as of April 1, 2021), and will remain 100% for more than a year after the COVID-19 PHE ends. The ARP also expands coverage of COVID-19 vaccine administration under Medicaid and CHIP to additional eligibility groups. CMS recently updated the Medicaid vaccine toolkit to reflect the enactment of the ARP at https://www.medicaid.gov/state-resource-center/downloads/covid-19-vaccine-toolkit.pdf.
  • Private Plans: The vaccine is free for people enrolled in private health plans and issuers COVID-19 vaccine and its administration is covered without cost sharing for most enrollees, and such coverage must be provided both in-network and out-of-network during the PHE. Current regulations provide that out-of-network rates must be reasonable as compared to prevailing market rates, and the rules reference using the Medicare payment rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies. In light of CMS’s increased Medicare payment rates, CMS will expect health insurance issuers and group health plans to continue to ensure their rates are reasonable when compared to prevailing market rates. Under the conditions of participation in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program, providers cannot charge plan enrollees any administration fee or cost sharing, regardless of whether the COVID-19 vaccine is administered in-network or out-of-network.

The Biden-Harris Administration is providing free access to COVID-19 vaccines for every adult living in the United States. For individuals who are underinsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund administered by HRSA after the claim to the individual’s health plan for payment has been denied or only partially paid. Information is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/covid19-coverage-assistance.

For individuals who are uninsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals without insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by HRSA. Information on the COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured Program is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/CovidUninsuredClaim.

More information on Medicare payment for COVID-19 vaccine administration – including a list of billing codes, payment allowances and effective dates – is available at https://www.cms.gov/medicare/covid-19/medicare-covid-19-vaccine-shot-payment.

More information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccine is provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html.

JEMS | Quality of Handoffs from EMS to ED

Quality of Handoffs from Emergency Medical Services to Emergency Department Providers

Literature and study team experience indicate emergency medical services (EMS) to emergency department provider handoffs could be an opportunity for improvement in emergency medical care. To date, no study has been published to specifically determine the perceived quality of handoffs between EMS and emergency department providers in the state of Minnesota. This exploratory project could help provide insight toward improving handoffs and guide future research and quality improvement projects.

Read at JEMS

6/16 | Federal Interagency Committee on EMS Virtual Meeting

Federal Interagency Committee on EMS to Hold Virtual Meeting on June 16

FICEMS also recently approved a new strategic plan to guide Federal activities related to EMS through 2025

The Federal Interagency Committee on EMS, which coordinates EMS activities throughout the federal government, will hold its first virtual meeting of 2021 on June 16 at 1 pm ET. Members of the public are invited to watch the webcast. Visit the FICEMS meeting page to learn more and view the agenda, or click below to register now. Anyone wishing to provide public comment can email FICEMS@dot.gov with “FICEMS Feedback” in the subject line. There will also be opportunities to ask questions or submit comments via a chat function during the webcast.

Register Now

New FICEMS Strategic Plan

One of the items on the agenda for the next FICEMS meeting is the new FICEMS Strategic Plan, which is now available on EMS.gov. The plan will guide FICEMS and its efforts to support and advance EMS and 911 services in the Nation over the next five years. The plan outlines seven strategic goals, each with multiple objectives, that will serve as the foundation for the activities of FICEMS and its member agencies.

Read the FICEMS strategic plan and learn more about the committee’s vision for Federal support of state, local, tribal and territorial EMS.

Download

Webinar 7/7 | Lights & Sirens Responses


Flipping OFF the Switch on HOT Emergency Medical Vehicle Responses!

Free Webinar July 7 | 14:00–15:15 ET

HOT (red light and siren) responses put EMS providers and the public at significant risk. Studies have demonstrated that the time saved during this mode of vehicle operation and that reducing HOT responses enhances safety of personnel, with little to no impact on patient outcomes. Some agencies have ‘dabbled’ with responding COLD (without lights and sirens) to some calls, but perhaps none as dramatic as Niagara Region EMS in Ontario, Canada – who successfully flipped their HOT responses to a mere 10% of their 911 calls! Why did they do it? How did they do it? What has been the community response? What has been the response from their workforce? Has there been any difference in patient outcomes? Join Niagara Region EMS to learn the answers to these questions and more. Panelists from co-hosting associations will participate to share their perspectives on this important EMS safety issue!

Speakers

Kevin Smith, BAppB:ES, CMM III, ACP, CEMC
Chief
Niagara Emergency Medical Services

Jon R. Krohmer, MD, FACEP, FAEMS
Team Lead, COVID-19 EMS/Prehospital Team
Director, Office of EMS
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Douglas F. Kupas, MD, EMT-P, FAEMS, FACEP
Medical Director, NAEMT
Medical Director, Geisinger EMS

Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT
Chief Strategic Integration Officer
MedStar Mobile Integrated Healthcare

Bryan R. Wilson, MD, NRP, FAAEM
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
St. Luke’s University Health Network
Medical Director, City of Bethlehem EMS

Robert McClintock
Director of Fire & EMS Operations
Technical Assistance and Information Resources
International Association of Fire Fighters

Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN
Chair – EMS Section Board – International Association of Fire Chiefs
EMS Coordinator – Saratoga County, New York
Chief Medical Officer – West Crescent Fire Department
Professional Development Coordinator – Clifton Park & Halfmoon EMS
Cardiovascular ICU Nurse Clinician – Albany Medical Center

Register Now (Free)

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

From NEMSIS on May 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

Salt Lake City, Utah, May 11, 2021 – The National Emergency Medical Services Information System Technical
Assistance Center (NEMSIS TAC) today announced the availability of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset,
the largest publicly available dataset of emergency medical service activations in the United States. With this
release, NEMSIS aims to improve understanding of, confidence in, and support for EMS data collection and
analysis that will lead to data being utilized more effectively to improve patient care.

“The 2020 dataset is a powerful asset for researchers looking into all manner of conditions that affect different
aspects of EMS service.,” said Dr. N. Clay Mann, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of
Utah School of Medicine and Principal Investigator for the NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center. “Hopefully, the
information gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic will help give EMS agencies valuable insight on their work
improving EMS services under all sorts of conditions.”

The 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset is a subset of the National EMS Database that is the repository for
EMS data collected from U.S. States and Territories. NEMSIS maintains the national standard for how patient
care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is collected. The dataset includes
43,488,767 EMS activations submitted by 12,319 EMS agencies servicing 50 states and territories.

Those interested in requesting a copy of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset can contact the NEMSIS TAC
and fill out a request form at their website https://nemsis.org/using-ems-data/request-research-data. A
password-protected USB drive containing the dataset, the 2020 NEMSIS Data User Manual, NEMSIS Data
Dictionary v3.4.0, Extended Data Definitions v3.4.0, and sample SAS code file will be sent via postal service.

ABOUT NEMSIS

The National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) is the national health information
exchange and database used to collect and store EMS data from states and territories. NEMSIS is a universal
standard for how patient care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is
collected. It is a collaborative system to improve patient care through the standardization, aggregation, and
utilization of point-of-care EMS data at a local, state, and national level.
NEMSIS is a program of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and is hosted at the University of Utah.

HealthAffairs | Boston OHCA Outcomes During the Pandemic

From HealthAffairs

Worse Cardiac Arrest Outcomes During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Boston Can Be Attributed To Patient Reluctance To Seek Care

Abstract

Delays in seeking emergency care stemming from patient reluctance may explain the rise in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and associated poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study we used emergency medical services (EMS) call data from the Boston, Massachusetts, area to describe the association between patients’ reluctance to call EMS for cardiac-related care and both excess out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and related outcomes during the pandemic. During the initial COVID-19 wave, cardiac-related EMS calls decreased (−27.2 percent), calls with hospital transportation refusal increased (+32.5 percent), and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence increased (+35.5 percent) compared with historical baselines. After the initial wave, although cardiac-related calls remained lower (−17.2 percent), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence remained elevated (+24.8 percent) despite fewer COVID-19 infections and relaxed public health advisories. Throughout Boston’s fourteen neighborhoods, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence was significantly associated with decreased cardiac-related calls, but not with COVID-19 infection rates. These findings suggest that patients were reluctant to obtain emergency care. Efforts are needed to ensure that patients seek timely care both during and after the pandemic to reduce potentially avoidable excess cardiovascular disease deaths.

More At HealthAffairs

Study | Rural hospital closures strain community ambulance services

Research Brief From the University of Michigan on May 25

Rural hospital closures force patients in affected communities to travel longer distances for specialized or emergency care. A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health shows that such closures place similar strain on emergency medical service (EMS) providers trying to get patients to the hospital or another facility as quickly as possible.

The study was led by Associate Professor Sayeh Nikpay and recently published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

The study found:

  • The average length of ambulance trips for municipal EMS agencies went up 22% in locations of recent rural hospital closures.

  • The average length of ambulance trips for private EMS agencies increased 10% in those areas.

  • Interfacility transfers and non-emergency EMS trips fell by 31% for all agencies.

  • The total number of trips did not change, likely because many agencies are already operating at full capacity and must prioritize emergency calls over transfers and non-emergency transportation after hospitals close.

Read Full Research Brief

EMS1 Survey | How is fatigue impacting EMS providers?

Complete Fatigue Survey

To better understand EMS provider and leadership perceptions on the impact of fatigue on the EMS workforce, EMS1 and the American Ambulance Association are surveying EMS providers, supervisors and senior leadership about fatigue symptoms, sleep disorders and mitigation strategies. Please take a few moments to complete the survey below and pass it along to your colleagues. We will share the results and discuss in a future webinar. Thank you for your participation.

CNN | Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers

From CNN on May 22, 2021

Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers. In some places, the fallout could be nobody responding to a 911 call

America’s rural ambulance services, often sustained by volunteers, are fighting for their survival — a crisis hastened by the impact of Covid-19.

More than one-third of all rural EMS are in danger of closing, according to Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “The pandemic has further stretched the resources of our nation’s rural EMS.”

Read Full Article

ABC | Global microchip shortage impacting ambulance supply

May 21, 2021 | By Mina Kaji and Amanda Maile | Read Full Story

“Without those chassis, the production of ambulances essentially slows down dramatically,” American Ambulance Association Spokesman Mark Van Arnam said. “So that becomes a public safety issue.”

Chassis inventories were already at “historically low levels” due to coronavirus shutting down manufacturing plants, Van Arnam explained.

In order to make an ambulance, manufacturers need to first construct a chassis, or frame, to build it on.

“An ambulance chassis contains dozens and dozens of microchips — more microchips than the average F-150,” Van Arnam said.

Read Full Story

CMS | Medicare COVID-19 Data Snapshot

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released our monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population. The updated data show over 4.1 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and over 1.1 million COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The updated snapshot covers the period from January 1, 2020 to March 20, 2021. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by April 16, 2021.

View the Updated Snapshot

Rescue, Inc. | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Rescue, Inc.
Brattleboro, Vermont
Facebook

Rescue Inc is a private non-profit service in Southern Vermont. Founded in 1966 as a volunteer organization responding to local emergency calls, Rescue today is mission-driven; providing emergency medical treatment and transportation, specialized rescue services, community education, and transportation of critical patients between area hospitals. Out of two stations, and with a fleet of 9 ambulances and 3 response vehicles, we provide timely and efficient service in our five hundred square mile coverage area in Southern Vermont and Southwestern New Hampshire.

“EMS week gives us the chance to celebrate and spotlight the care, compassion, and skill our providers tirelessly demonstrate. Through long nights, bad weather, and now pandemics, our health care providers continue to inspire. On behalf of grateful patients and families, I thank you!”
– Drew Hazelton, Chief

2020 has brought the challenges of COVID-19 and supply line shortages, but also the development of new programs including EMS ultrasound, EMT hybrid courses, and a mobile vaccination program to our community.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Rescue Inc stepped in with resources to engage in critical work for public health. In collaboration with the health department, Rescue Inc provided expanded transport capabilities; transporting COVID positive persons to isolation facilities for recovery. Our crew of medical providers staffed pop-up testing sites and have screened thousands. As a way to limit exposure, our providers were called upon to facilitate mobile testing and would travel to test a single person or a whole family in their own homes. Once the vaccine became available, Rescue Inc designed a mobile vaccine trailer and worked with the Vermont Department of Health to facilitate clinics all over the state. In the spirit of our mission, we continue to bring healthcare on the road. We have vaccinated thousands – at schools, restaurants, race tracks, and more.

“EMS providers are educated members of your community that provide prehospital care that saves lives every day. When the tone drops they set aside everything and put themselves into emergency situations to care for those that they value; their community.”
~Lee Bookwalter, EMT

This year our community is feeding us for EMS Week! Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for our duty crews are being provided by area restaurants for each day of this special week! Our vaccine trailer will be on the road all week, celebrating EMS by supporting the mission of health and wellness for our community.

“When we are called to a scene, whether it be an MVA, a stroke, or an anxiety attack, we legitimately just want to be there for someone during their time of need. Sometimes that means medical intervention, and sometimes just lending a hand to hold. Long story short, we just have love for people!”
~Zach Gilbeau, EMT

“I believe EMS is important because we are always there. No matter what day of the week, time of day, or what your emergency is, we will show up and take care of you.”
~Emily Wilson, Paramedic/Captain

Webinar | Who Was Jack Stout and Why Do His Ideas Still Resonate?

From AIMHI, FirstWatch, and the National EMS Museum | Hosted on Prodigy EMS

Who Was Jack Stout and Why Do His Ideas Still Resonate?

Thursday, June 24th | 9:00am PT (12:00pm ET)
Followed by a 30 minute session for remaining Q&A and practical tips for FirstWatch customers and interested Public Safety agencies
The late Jack Stout, an economist by training, is considered the father of high performance EMS. His public utility model, implemented in a half a dozen spots in the 70’s and 80s, transformed how communities thought about the relationship between efficiency, policy, and patient centric care in their EMS systems. Almost every EMS system in America includes elements of his design. He captured his ideas in more than a 100 articles and columns in JEMS, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, in the 1980’s.
The National EMS Museum just announced the formation of the Jack Stout Archive, where his legacy in writing will live on. The archive received the financial support of FirstWatch and the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI.)
In this highly interactive CTM, facilitators Mike Taigman and Rob Lawrence will be joined by Kristy Van Hoven, the Museum’s director, Todd Stout, Jack’s son and president of FirstWatch, Keith Griffiths, the founding editor of JEMS, and Jon Washko, a “Stoutian” disciple and highly respected consultant and EMS system expert. They’ll discuss the Archive and its mission. They will explore with you why Jack’s ideas are vital for today’s EMS leader and key for the design of EMS systems in the future.
Speakers:
Kristy Van Hoven
Kristy Van Hoven joined The National EMS Museum team in late 2018 and is currently serving as the Director of The National EMS Museum (NEMSM). In partnership with the Museum’s Board of Directors, she is leading the charge for NEMSM to grow into the national museum dedicated to preserving the legacy and stories of early pre-hospital care while inspiring a future generation of EMS professionals through engaging exhibitions, research, and programs. Concurrently, Kristy is pursuing a doctoral degree in which she is studying the effect museum programs and collections have on the health and wellbeing of those suffering brain trauma and how partnerships between medical professionals and museums can create a network of care for patients and practitioners beyond the clinical walls.
Todd Stout
Todd Stout, President of FirstWatch and the recipient of a JEMS EMS 10 Innovator Award, a Pinnacle Leadership Award, and the Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award has extensive experience in multiple aspects of EMS, including in the field, dispatch, management and public safety communications software. He began his career as an EMS Stock boy and has spent the last two decades focusing on helping public safety and health agencies improve operational performance, clinical care and situational awareness.
Keith Griffiths
Keith Griffiths is the founding partner of the RedFlash Group, an award-winning communications and marketing firm serving the public safety market. He was the founding editor JEMS, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, where he worked with the late Jim Page to build Jems Communications, which included the EMS Today trade show, a book division, newsletters and other periodicals. He worked as Jack Stout’s editor for nearly 10 years during the 1980’s.
Jonathan Wahsko
Jonathan Washko, MBA, FACPE, NRP, AEMD has been involved in the EMS industry for over 30 years and has held progressive leadership positions with small, medium and large EMS systems and has worked with or for government, private, for-profit and not-for-profit entities. Mr. Washko is considered the leading industry expert on EMS system design, High Performance EMS concepts, Industry Best Practices, EMS Deployment, Lean Business Processes, System Status Management, Use of Technology, IP Development, EMS Economics and EMS Finance and is often called upon by EMS systems in crisis as well as those considered at the top of their game, in order to help transform these organizations to become the best they can be. Mr. Washko frequently speaks at national conferences, is a JEMS EMS10 Innovator award recipient, sits on various industry boards and advises EMS agencies and governments on an international basis on EMS Systems improvement.
Facilitators:
Mike Taigman, MA
Mike uses more than four decades of experience to help EMS leaders and field personnel improve the care and service they provide to patients and their communities. Mike is the improvement guide for FirstWatch and a nationally recognized author and speaker. He was the facilitator for the national EMS Agenda 2050 project and teaches improvement science in the Master’s in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership program at the University of California San Francisco. He will serve as host and facilitator for Conversations that Matter.
Rob Lawrence, MCMI
Rob has part-time roles as Director of Strategic Implementation for Pro EMS of Cambridge, Mass. and the Executive Director of the California Ambulance Association. Rob is also the Principal of Robert Lawrence Consulting. Rob served as the California COO with Paramedics Plus after nine years as the COO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. Prior to that, he was the COO for Suffolk as part of the East of England Ambulance Service. He is a graduate of the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, serving for 23 years as a Medical Support Officer. Rob is the Communications Committee Chair of the American Ambulance Association, a member of the EMS World Advisory Board, and an accomplished writer, broadcaster and international speaker.

 

Harris County Emergency Corps | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Harris County Emergency Corps
Houston, Texas
Facebook

Committed to preserving lives through clinical excellence, progressive medicine, and professional service, Harris County Emergency Corps (HCEC) is a premier EMS agency and the only Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services accredited agency with headquarters in Houston. HCEC was the first EMS agency formed in the state of Texas. Serving approximately 400,000 citizens, HECE provides 911 EMS operations in north Houston for Harris County Emergency Services District No. 1. HCEC also provides event medical coverage across Texas, trains clinicians with highly specialized classes, communicates with 11 other agencies through our innovative dispatch center and leads Houston’s first Community Health Paramedic Program.

Our organization changed, I believe, for the better. We overcame obstacles, and our remarkable team worked together like never before. I would like to thank each person involved for your commitment to our organization and the community we serve. I appreciate the work you do each and every day. — Jeremy Hyde, CEO

COVID-19 Response

Year 2020 was a year like no other. The COVID-19 Pandemic affected every person globally, and we are still living in a world of mask-wearing and sanitizing stations.

Our 9-1-1 call volumes were drastically reduced for the first few months of 2020. Almost immediately, PPE was on a national shortage. HCEC preserved resources and did not suffer any PPE shortage. Employees were never in jeopardy for not having protective equipment. Then COVID infection rates started increasing, which increased our 9-1-1 call volume to exceed any previous record in history.

During the time of significant volume increases, employees got the virus. Other staff stepped up to fill needed roles. Event staff helped fill in additional ambulances for COVID response. Field staff took a place in dispatch to help screen calls. The Dispatch Center and field staff worked together to ensure the calls were made appropriately with the right precautions.

EMS Week Celebrations

HCEC is hosting a reunion with a Pediatric CPR family, celebrating service awards, hosting a crawfish boil and hosting a blood drive.

“EMS continues to evolve beyond traditional ambulance transport. Not only do we serve as the community’s medical safety net, but we have also begun the transition to true mobile integrated health care. Progressive EMS agencies across the country are now involved with trauma and disease prevention, implementing community paramedic programs, and reducing preventable hospital admissions. EMS is a critical part of our health care system overhaul. We should be proud of where we are and where we are going!
-Corey Naranjo BSN, RN, LP, CP-C

“EMS is often the link between poor health and a healthy outcome. It can also quite literally be the difference between death and life of a person.” – Steven Nelson MHA, LP, In-Charge Paramedic,

“EMS is a vital corner of the first responder triangle. As EMS personnel we not only increase the survivability of major incidents, but we also bring knowledge to the public to help all in need.” -Blake King EMT-P, FTO-1, In-Charge Paramedic

Waterbury Ambulance | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Waterbury Ambulance
Waterbury, Vermont
Facebook

Waterbury Ambulance Service was founded in 1971, since then, we’ve grown significantly, but at our core we are still a group of highly skilled, committed volunteers and staff, ready at a moment’s notice to save a life, or just lend a helping hand. We provide 911 coverage to the towns of Waterbury, Duxbury and parts of Moretown, Vermont as well as mutual aid to our neighboring communities. Waterbury Ambulance provide interfacility transfers when we have the staff available. We have two ambulances, 15 advanced EMTs, 19 Emergency Medical Technicians, and four drivers. We also provide CPR, First Aid, Car Seat Fitting and Stop the Bleed Trainings.

Waterbury Ambulance also supports The Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team which was founded in 2002, in order to lead the search and rescue of patients injured or lost in areas of Vermont where an ambulance is not able to readily access. Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team is composed of a specially trained crew of rescuers and EMTs, who locate, extricate, and field treat patients, bringing them to an area which can be accessed by ambulance.

“This year has been a remarkable one. I am inspired by the way Waterbury Ambulance’s Team has stepped up in uncertain times to ensure the safety of themselves and our community”
–Mark Podgwaite, Executive Director

Covid-19 impacted Waterbury Ambulance by initially creating additional training and safety requirements. The team responded quickly ensuring that we provide the best possible care to our community during a scary time. The State of Vermont reached out to Waterbury Ambulance asking if we could support the state in Covid-19 testing. Waterbury Ambulance rose to the occasion by teaming up with two other ambulance services and a local ski patrol to provide testing 7 days a week at three different locations throughout our region. To date Waterbury Ambulance has provided tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests to the community. Waterbury Ambulance then hit the road providing vaccines to home-bound Vermonters. We have also helped the State of Vermont staff vaccine clinics and National Guard Clinics.

“EMS is so vitally important because we provide frontline medical care for our communities of neighbors, family, friends, colleagues and even those we haven’t met yet. We do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Whether it’s a car crash with injuries, heart attack, overdose, or a pandemic, our communities depend on us to jump in and give the best care possible at any moment’s notice.” -Kristen Hamel, AEMT

“I believe that EMS is vital because we all need someone in our times of need to be that outside person to be kind, caring, and compassionate to our personal emergencies. Someone to validate our physical & emotional pain/suffering/ distress. Someone who you can trust with your life to get you the care you need, advocative for you, and ease your worries.” -Vicki Fielding, AEMT

Waterbury Ambulance is celebrating EMS week by supporting and providing Vaccination clinics around the state, covering 911 calls and providing 7-day a week Covid testing.

“EMS plays a key role into the prevention of death and disease processes in a community. The stronger the EMS organization, the better the community can grow and flourish” -Tom Leeman, AEMT

“EMS is important to me because we as ems providers are a small light at the beginning of a very dark tunnel for some people” -Kayla Reed, Driver/Future EMT

 

Microchip Shortage to Affect Ambulance Supply

From the American Ambulance Association & The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) Ground Vehicle Standards

By Mark Van Arnam, Administrator, CAAS GVS

A global semiconductor shortage is crippling the production of motor vehicles both in the US and worldwide.  Ford Motor Company, which supplies approximately 70% of the ambulance chassis used in the US, shut down production at various plants that produce the E series, T series, and F series ambulance chassis in mid-April.  These scheduled shutdowns continue and are already approaching the 6 to 7-week mark.  The end is not yet in sight, with the shortage of the critical microchips predicted to run into 2022. Ford currently predicts an overall production loss of over 1.1 million units in 2021.

These production shutdowns by Ford and other chassis manufacturers have created a major supply chain interruption of chassis needed to produce ambulances in North America. Many Final Stage Ambulance Manufacturers (FSAMs) and Remounters are reporting chassis shortages that are worse than those experienced in the 2020 pandemic period when those OEM truck plants shut down for COVID reasons.

Both Ford and GM report that the duration and extent of the semiconductor shortage and resulting production shutdowns are not yet known and “the situation changes daily”.  As of mid-May, many FSAMs are reporting significant ambulance production slowdowns due to chassis shortages, with complete shutdowns of some ambulance assembly lines highly likely in the near future.

East Baton Rouge EMS | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

East Baton Rouge EMS
Baton Rouge, Lousiana
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About East Baton Rouge EMS

East Baton Rouge EMS is a municipal service that originated on August 6th, 1982. The Department is funded by a property tax and insurance billing. EBREMS is the primary ALS provider for the parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Unlike most systems, all 911 calls in the parish are first answered by EBREMS Medics. East Baton Rouge Parish is 456sq/mi and is comprised of the City of Baton Rouge and the towns of Zachary, Baker and Central. With a total population +440,000, East Baton Rouge is the Capitol of the State of Louisiana and is the home of two major Universities.

EBREMS operates 11 EMS stations with 24 ambulances, 20 sprint vehicles, 1 mass casualty unit and 3 ASAP carts. There are 138 Field Medics, 9 Shift supervisors, Division managers, and 32 communications officers. EBREMS responds to approximately 64,000 calls per year. In addition to responding to 911 calls, EBREMS also offers Telemedicine, Event coverage, HAZ-MAT, CISM, Bicycle, and Special Response Teams. A new Bariatric unit has just been purchased along with 16 new ambulances. The new fleet will go into operation in July.

Our COVID-19 Response

A response plan to COVID was discussed in March 2020. The first order was to acquire enough PPE for our medics in the field. PPE included P-100 masks, goggles, and isolation kits. Two ambulances were converted into “COVID units” by using plastic sheeting to block the walk-through access of the units and the ALS cabinet. The units were stocked with an abundance of disinfectant and PPE. 12 medics volunteered to work on these units and only respond to COVID-related calls. The intention was to isolate the cab of the truck from the patient compartment, and limit exposure to the rest of the field by only using the assigned medics for these types of calls. 911 Operators began asking COVID screening questions, and would relay the information to the responding unit. Every patient was provided a surgical mask and the use of nebulizers was banned due to the aerosolization.

The Mayor declared a local public health emergency on March 13th. Schools, restaurants, bars, and non-essential businesses were closed and a “stay at home order” was implemented. 911 Operators began to see a surge in calls from the public asking COVID-related questions. This overwhelming number of non-emergent calls led to a Public Service campaign to inform the public not to call 911 for COVID questions. A new 211 number was utilized for these types of calls. Several testing sites opened throughout the parish, including one at the EBREMS Headquarters. Despite a large number of tests given, the percentage of positive tests was only about 7%.

East Baton Rouge lifted the Emergency Declaration in May 2020. Schools remained closed for a while, but offered virtual learning. Restaurants, Bars, Churches and non-essential businesses opened with limited capacity and mandated face mask requirements. Today EBR parish is 100% open, and EMS operation is back to pre-COVID status with the exception of continued use of face masks on every response.

“It is my belief that Baton Rouge EMS has some of the finest medics in the country and you would be hard pressed to find a better group of people to work with. Their dedication and professionalism through this last year’s pandemic has been nothing short of impressive. They care for their patients and their fellow first responders and treat them like family. It is an honor to work with all the medics here in Baton Rouge, and they deserve recognitions for the hard job that they do.”
-Chad Guillot
EMS Director
East Baton Rouge Parish EMS

How We Celebrate EMS Week

Every year our Public Information Officers work hard to promote the Department by doing interviews on Morning News shows, Submitting stories to the newspaper, and posting on Social Media. Our Paramedic Association purchases EMS Week gifts for the employees and also funds the annual Award Ceremony that is always held during EMS Week. The Administration Department provides lunch to the crews on each shift, and local hospitals also provide snacks and food at their hospitals for the field medics.

“We are a family-oriented department, and we treat the community like our own”
-Hillary Duncan, Paramedic

“We strive to meet the goals of our mission statement and continually adapt to fulfill the needs of our community”
-Otha Henry, Training Officer

“As EMS providers we value our community”
-Kerri Avara, Unit Commander