Author: AAA Staff

Survey of COVID-19 Impact on EMS Staffing

The American Ambulance Association has partnered with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to create a workforce survey assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on staffing levels at fire and EMS agencies.

Please take a few minutes of your time to complete this brief survey, which will help inform our federal partners of the impact that the Public Health Emergency has had on our industry’s staffing.

You can view real time survey results on our public dashboard► 

Take Survey Here

WaPo | Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point’

From the Washington Post by William Wan on December 3, 2020

Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point,’ ambulance operators say
Surging demand, financial strain are leaving ambulance teams exhausted and running out of funds

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed America’s 911 system and emergency responders to a “breaking point,” with ambulance operators exhausted and their services financially strained, according to the group that represents them.

The situation since the novel coronavirus struck last winter has grown so dire that the American Ambulance Association recently begged the Department of Health and Human Services for $2.6 billion in emergency funding.

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Ambulance Cost Collection DELAYED

Due to the Public Health Emergency declared for the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS issued a blanket waiver in May 2020 to delay the data collection and reporting for those ground ambulance organizations selected to report in year 1 by one year. They were concerned that the unpredictability of the winter influenza season when combined with the COVID-19 pandemic would further strain the capacity of ground ambulance organizations in 2021.

As a result, CMS hissued a revised blanket waiver yesterday to delay the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System. Please see page 31 of this document.

CMS is delaying the data collection and reporting period for ground ambulance organizations selected to participate in year 1 for two years and for one year for ground ambulance organizations selected to participate in year 2. With this modification, the data collection period for year 1 and year 2 selected ground ambulance organizations will begin between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022.

AAA will send out a more detailed member advisory to assess the impact of the delay on the other requirements imposed in the legislation that mandated cost data collection for ambulance services.

CNN | 911 emergency medical system in US ‘at a breaking point’

From CNN Health by Shelby Lin Erdman on December 2, 2020

(CNN)With the Covid-19 surge straining America’s health care system, the 911 emergency call system has been stretched to “the breaking point,” the American Ambulance Association says.

Ambulance services are critical in getting sick patients to hospitals for care, and the American Ambulance Association, which represents all of the nation’s ambulance services, said they are struggling to stay together.
Hospitalizations have reached an all-time high with more than 100,200 admissions, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And more than 3,100 deaths were reported Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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The Hill | 911 system at ‘breaking point,’ AAA Says

From The Hill by Zack Budryk on December 3, 2020

911 system at ‘breaking point,’ American Ambulance Association says

The American Ambulance Association has warned that the emergency response system has reached a “breaking point” as the coronavirus rages across the country in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The 911 emergency medical system throughout the United States is at a breaking point,” Aarron Reinert, the president of the American Ambulance Association, said in the Nov. 25 letter, obtained by The Hill. “Without additional relief, it seems likely to break, even as we enter the third surge of the virus in the Mid-West and West.”

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NBC | Ambulance companies at ‘a breaking point’ after receiving little Covid aid

From NBC News by Phil McCausland on December 1, 2020

Stefan Hofer’s ambulance company, West Traill EMS, in Mayville, North Dakota, has received only one or two calls that weren’t related to Covid-19 over the past two months. But he said the case count has ballooned by 20 to 30 percent because of the pandemic. At the same time, the company’s expenses have mounted, its revenue has cratered and its workforce is being decimated by the virus.

The company — which is private and supported by volunteers, a few employees and four trucks — covers more than 1,500 miles of North Dakota prairie and serves about 10,000 people on the far east side of the state.

Private EMS services, both in urban and rural centers across the country, collectively received $350 million in Covid-19 relief funds in April, but those companies said that money ran out within weeks. Months later, the need remains great as they face another coronavirus surge.

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NYT | Family Decontamination Station

From the New York Times

Their Pandemic Safety Plan Starts With a ‘Decontamination Station’
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the lives of many American families. Follow this weekly feature called “Family, Interrupted” to find out how.

Quentin and Stacy Blakley opened the “decontamination station” in their home garage as the coronavirus pandemic took root in Georgia in March and have never shut it down. Mr. Blakley, 45, an Atlanta firefighter based at the city’s international airport, uses it to protect his family from a job that exposes him to strangers daily. At the end of each 24-hour shift attending to aircraft emergencies and medical calls, he returns to his South Fulton, Ga., home and removes his uniform in the garage. No exceptions. He showers away from Stacy, 45, and their four sons — ages 14, 12 and a set of 9-year-old twins — then dumps his clothing in a bag to be washed. Finally, Mr. Blakley walks into his house.

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NYT | The Long Darkness Before Dawn

From the New York Times

The Long Darkness Before Dawn

With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.”

The nation now must endure a critical period of transition, one that threatens to last far too long, as we set aside justifiable optimism about next spring and confront the dark winter ahead. Some epidemiologists predict that the death toll by March could be close to twice the 250,000 figure that the nation surpassed only last week.

“The next three months are going to be just horrible,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health and one of two dozen experts interviewed by The New York Times about the near future.

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NPR | COVID-19 In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known

From NPR

Coronavirus Was In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known, Study Says

The coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, and before cases in China were publicly identified, according to a new government study published Monday.

The virus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but it wasn’t until Jan. 19 that the first confirmed COVID-19 case, from a traveler returning from China, was found in the U.S.

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Massachusetts | Stress On EMTs Increases During Pandemic

From CBS Boston

‘You’re Always Thinking About COVID,’ Stress On EMTs Increases During Pandemic

MEDFORD (CBS) – Frontline workers are now in their ninth month battling the COVID-19 pandemic. For Emergency Medical Technicians coronavirus has introduced a new kind of uncertainty to their jobs.

“You’re always thinking about COVID,” paramedic Victor Markaze told WBZ-TV. “You don’t know who’s sick and who’s not sick anymore, so now everyone is being treated as sick.”

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JEMS | Ambulance Market Growth

From JEMS

Ambulance Services Market to Grow by $7.77 Billion amid COVID-19 Spread

Market research firm Technavio says the ambulance services market is poised to grow by $7.77 billion during 2020-2024. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current market scenario, latest trends and drivers and the overall market environment.

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, however, the immediate impact of the outbreak is varied. While a few industries will register a drop in demand, numerous others will continue to remain unscathed and show promising growth opportunities. COVID-19 will have a low impact on the ambulance services market. The market growth in 2020 is likely to increase compared to the market growth in 2019.

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Webinar Dec 3 | Patient-Centered QI and System Design

From Firstwatch, Prodigy EMS, and the Center for Patient Safety

Conversations that Matter:
Patient-Centered QI and System Design
December 3, 2020 | Noon ET | Learn More & Register►

Most EMS systems claim to put the patient first, yet they still work 24-hour shifts, drive ambulances designed so that patients face the rear, and have QI systems that are not connected to the rest of the healthcare system.

Join us for this installment of Conversations that Matter, when facilitator Mike Taigman will explore how to create a more patient- and people-centered EMS organization with Jeff Jarvis, MD, MS, EMT-P, medical director for Williamson County EMS and Marble Falls Area EMS; former paramedic and hospital executive Bill Atkinson, PhD, EMT-P; and Brian LaCroix, EMS coordinator with the Center for Patient Safety. This session is sure to expand your knowledge and may just challenge your beliefs in the process.

Register on Prodigy EMS

Host – Mike Taigman, MA

Mike Taigman 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.

Jeff Jarvis, MD, MS, EMT-P

Jeff Jarvis, MD, MS, EMT-P, is the medical director for Williamson County EMS and Marble Falls Area EMS. He is a practicing emergency physician at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Round Rock, Texas. His experience in EMS and the broader health care field spans over 30 years, beginning as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He has served as a paramedic in three states, the Texas State EMS training coordinator and department chair of EMS Technology at Temple College. Dr. Jarvis served as a member of the EMS Agenda 2050 Technical Expert Panel and represents the American College of Emergency Physicians on the National EMS Quality Alliance Steering Committee.

Bill Atkinson, PhD, EMT-P

Bill Atkinson, PhD, EMT-P, is president of Guidon Healthcare Consulting in Raleigh, North Carolina. He began his career in healthcare leadership as one of the first EMTs and then paramedics in the state of North Carolina. Dr. Atkinson went on to a lengthy career in healthcare management, running hospitals in South Carolina, Texas and Colorado before returning home to serve as president and CEO of New Hanover Regional Medical Center and, from 2003 until his retirement in 2013, WakeMed Health and Hospitals.

Brian LaCroix

Brian LaCroix serves as EMS coordinator with the Center for Patient Safety. He recently retired as president and EMS chief of Allina Health EMS in St. Paul, Minnesota, where had started as a field provider in 1997. LaCroix also served as the president of the National EMS Management Association, is a fellow in the American College of Paramedic Executives and holds a paramedic degree and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. HE also consults with organizations to recruit senior EMS leaders, develop individuals and grow leadership teams and has worked on extended international EMS projects in Nicaragua, France and Croatia.

Center for Patient Safety

The Center for Patient Safety (CPS) provides expert support and resources across the healthcare continuum in our mission to reduce preventable harm.

For paramedicine providers CPS helps agencies cultivate a Culture of Patient Safety, manages a robust Patient Safety Organization for providers, offers education and support of mental and well-being of providers.

The Center is honored to be supporting the important dialogue of “Conversations that Matter!”

Webinar Dec 2 | CAD Data, AI, & Tech for EMS

Using the Power of CAD Data, Artificial Intelligence and Technology to Deliver High Performance, High Value EMS

Regular Price: $99.00
Member Price: $0.00

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | 2:00pm Eastern
FREE for AAA Members | $99.00 for Non-Members
Sponsored by Logis

Register

Technology transformation in EMS is hard (and scary!). Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems are the backbone of effective EMS performance, data analytics, expanded services, and personnel satisfaction. Fort Worth’s MedStar revolutionized their dispatch operations to power not only more efficient and effective operations, but revolutionize their system away from being address-centric, to patient-centric. Learn how this high-performance system uses automation, machine learning and decision support technology to improve deployment, balance system efficiency with crew satisfaction, and provide enhanced services that would not be possible with ‘traditional’ CAD systems.

Joining us to provide insight into these issues from a variety of perspectives will be…

  • Elizabeth Roden has been a MedStar field provider for 6 years, and a AAA Star of Life in 2017.
  • Raylon Bryant is a dispatch supervisor in MedStar’s 9-1-1 communication center. Raylon originally joined MedStar in 2003 and was a field provider prior to joining the communications team.
  • Ken Simpson has been MedStar’s Chief Operations Officer since 2017.  Prior to joining MedStar, Ken led numerous high-performance EMS operations in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.
  • Matt Zavadsky is MedStar’s Chief Strategic Integration Officer.  He has helped lead the development and implementation of MedStar’s MIH programs since 2009.

Learn insights directly from the users of the technology, communications center and field personnel, as well as agency leaders about their experiences with MedStar’s CAD transformation from today’s technology, to the technology of tomorrow!

Register

Webinar | EMS Performance: NEMSQA Quality Measures

EMS Performance: NEMSQA Quality Measures Webinar
December 3, 2020 | 15:00 ET | Register Now►

Performance measures drive practice, protocols, spending, and behaviors across healthcare. The National EMS Quality Alliance (NEMSQA) is leading the charge in development, refinement and dissemination of quality and performance measures for EMS. Working with EMS organizations, stakeholders, partners from government and industry, NEMSQA updated the EMS Compass measures to ensure their evidence-basis and make them readily deployable across the EMS community to drive quality and improvement in patient care. This program will inform you about the work of NEMSQA, how the NEMSQA measures are being implemented already, and how you can employ NEMSQA measures to improve performance in your EMS service or region.

Register Now

NEMSQA Mission Statement
NEMSQA will develop and endorse evidence-based quality measures for EMS and healthcare partners that improve the experience and outcomes of patients and care providers.

NEMSQA Vision Statement
Improving patient outcomes through the collaborative development of quality measures for EMS and health systems of care.