COVID-19 Testing for First Responders

From the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force’s EMS / Prehospital Team on July  2. COVID-19 Testing for First Responders Product (EMS42) Purpose This document provides a brief overview of COVID-19 testing to inform decision-making for first responders including emergency medical service (EMS), Fire & Rescue, Law Enforcement and 911 telecommunicators. Developed By The Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force (HRTF) is leading the development of a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. healthcare system to facilitate resiliency and responsiveness to the threats posed by COVID-19. The Task Force’s EMS/Pre-Hospital Team is comprised of public and private-sector EMS and 911 experts from a wide variety of agencies and focuses on responding to the needs of the pre-hospital community. This team is composed of subject matter experts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), National 911 Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and non-federal partners representing stakeholder groups. Through collaboration with experts in related fields, the team develops practical resources for field providers, supervisors, administrators, medical directors, and associations to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (more…)

Happy Independence Day

As we celebrate our freedoms this weekend, AAA would like to take a moment to thank the extraordinary Americans who serve their communities with round-the-clock on-demand mobile healthcare. Happy Independence Day to EMS! Share on Social Media As we celebrate our freedoms this weekend, AAA would like to take a moment to thank the extraordinary Americans who serve their communities with round-the-clock on-demand #mobilehealthcare. Happy #IndependenceDay to #EMS! #4thofJuly #AlwaysOpen #NotJustaRide #SupportEMS #Ready pic.twitter.com/rG6FQigWa1 — AmericanAmbulanceAsc (@amerambassoc) July 3, 2020

House Passes PPP Extension

On July 1, The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to extend the deadline to apply for forgivable small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The legislation was previously passed by the Senate and President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill extends the deadline to request Paycheck Protection Program loans to August 8 from June 30. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which oversees the program with the Treasury Department, stopped accepting loan applications at midnight Tuesday. The extension is intended to provide more time for small businesses to apply for the approximately $129 billion in PPP funding remaining. The program provides forgivable loans that small businesses and other qualifying entities can use to cover payroll and other select costs. The AAA will continue to press the Congress and federal agencies for help to ensure ambulance service organizations and our paramedics and EMTs serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic have the necessary resources and financial assistance to serve their communities....

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The AAA Public Relations Campaign Continues

AAA has once again teamed up with Mercury Public Affairs to run a public affairs campaign to ensure that Emergency First Responders are not forgotten by Congress. For this campaign, our key message is as follows: America’s front-line first responders, including paramedics, EMTs, and critical care nurses, are the very first medical professionals seen by all citizens that access healthcare using the 9-1-1 system.  Surpisingly, Washington has forgotten all about them as the virus spreads, and our emergency response providers are being infected with COVID-19. Ambulance services are the public health and safety net for our country, but they have only gotten one tenth of the relief they are owed. Some are even being forced to shut down operations in communities across our country.  Ambulance services have also been treating more and more patients at home for ailments like diabetes and asthma because emergency rooms are full. They have not been reimbursed for these critical services. To take action and participate in this campaign, please visit the American Ambulance Association Action page. Public Affairs Campaign We have worked with our government relations team to identify the following Senators as the focus of our campaign: Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Chuck Grassley (more…)

Government Affairs Update: What We’re Working On

With the U.S. Senate on track to consider a fourth economic stimulus package before their August recess, the AAA is working hard to promote legislative language that positively impact the EMS industry and ambulance services across the country. Here is a snapshot of those current efforts. Ambulance Funding in Response to COVID-19 As the Senate develops its next economic stimulus legislation to address the impact of COVID-19, the AAA has met with leaders and staff on Capitol Hill to increase the percentage of the general allocation of funds under the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) for ground ambulance services providers and suppliers to equal a total of $2.89 billion in funds for our industry. The $2.89 billion reflects $48,000 per ambulance with an estimated 60,000 registered vehicles. We greatly appreciate the recent payments under the Fund which will help with our current situation. However, the ground ambulance services industry is only 0.90% of Medicare fee-for-service annual outlays which resulted in $270 million for our industry in round one of PHSSEF payments. This figure is disproportional to the large role of ground ambulance service providers and suppliers in responding to COVID-19 and our increased costs and reduced revenues...

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Study | Nationwide EMS Calls Have Dropped 26%, Attended Deaths Doubled

From the University at Buffalo News Center Since early March and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., 911 calls for emergency medical services have dropped by 26.1 % compared to the past two years, a new study led by a University at Buffalo researcher has found. But the study also found that EMS-attended deaths have doubled, indicating that when EMS calls were made, they often involved a far more serious emergency. Study Details Effect of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19) Pandemic on the United States Emergency Medical Services System: A Preliminary Report E. Brooke Lerner PhD Craig D. Newgard MD, MPH N. Clay Mann PhD, MS, MBA

Always In Our Hearts

Please join the American Ambulance Association in honoring those who have fallen serving their communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. What does it mean to be a hero? Paramedics, EMTs, nurses, and firefighters risk their lives every day to serve on the… Posted by American Ambulance Association on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 #EMS providers risk their lives every day to serve on the front lines of #COVID19. Tragically, this means that some don’t make it home to their families. It is our responsibility to honor their memories and support their loved ones. #SupportEMS #PSOB #NotJustaRide #alwaysopen pic.twitter.com/vv7XF7mCH6 — AmericanAmbulanceAsc (@amerambassoc) June 30, 2020

6/25 | CMS Open Door Forum | Documentation Requirement Lookup Service

From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Special Open Door Forum:  Medicare Documentation Requirement Lookup Service Thursday, June 25, 2020 | 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time Conference Call Only The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Program Integrity will host a series of Special Open Door Forum (SODF) calls to educate the public about a new initiative underway to develop a Medicare Fee for Service (FFS) Documentation Requirement Lookup Service prototype. Also, to allow physicians, suppliers, IT and Electronic Health Record (EHR) Developers and Vendors, and/or all other interested parties to provide feedback to CMS and inform how interested parties can get involved or track the progress of this initiative. CMS is collaborating with ongoing industry efforts to streamline workflow access to coverage requirements, starting with developing a prototype Medicare FFS Documentation Requirement Lookup Service and is participating in two workgroups to promote development of standards that will support the Lookup Service. One workgroup is a private sector initiative hosted by Health Level Seven (HL7), the Da Vinci project. The second workgroup is The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) at Scale Taskforce (FAST). By working with HL7, ONC, (more…)

CISA: Emergency Services Sector Active Shooter Guide

The FBI designated 28 shootings in 2019 as active shooter incidents. The 28 incidents resulted in 247 casualties, 97 people killed, and 150 people wounded, excluding the shooters. No community appears immune from these potential incidents; therefore, it is important for every community to develop an Active Shooter Program. The purpose of this guide is to provide emergency services personnel with the basic building blocks for developing an Active Shooter Program with communities. This guide highlights resources and planning considerations, which will enhance emergency services organizations’ ability to develop or improve community planning and preparedness for active shooter incidents. For more information, email the Emergency Services Sector-Specific Agency at essteam@cisa.dhs.gov....

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Software Enables EMS Agency Collaboration Despite COVID-19

Contact: Holly Taylor, Co-Owner / Client Services June 22, 2020 Phone: 888-364-9995 Email: holly@ninthbrain.com, info@ninthbrain.com   SOFTWARE ENABLES EMS AGENCY COLLABORATION DESPITE COVID-19 Frankenmuth, MI – Ninth Brain Suite, LLC, has launched two new communication tools within their Management Software focused on connecting first responders and healthcare leaders both globally and locally. As a response to COVID-19, the demand for communication software within the EMS industry is high. This current landscape has challenged the way first responders work and communicate, which drove Ninth Brain to develop two new innovative, adaptable solutions. “In talking with clients and being involved with the associations of EMS, we realized there wasn’t a great way to share experiences and important information collaboratively. We wanted to help bring EMS Agencies together. Ninth Brain is all about providing tools to streamline operations to help these heroes do their job.” said Holly Taylor, a co-owner of Ninth Brain. NBS COMMUNITY Ninth Brain’s new NBS Community tool is exclusive to healthcare leaders and allows for open dialogue between Ninth Brain’s 200+ clients in the healthcare space. Ninth Brain has a large base of U.S. clients, but also services clients as far away as Australia. First responders can connect to (more…)