Author: AAA Staff

Benefit | Credit Card Fee Class Action Settlement

Dear AAA Members:

As you may know, there is a class action lawsuit pending in the U.S. alleging Visa, MasterCard and their member banks engaged in anticompetitive practices. The case, Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement, alleges activity that includes collusion which artificially inflated the interchange fee that all AAA members paid to accept Visa and MasterCard branded credit cards. The proposed settlement provides that any merchant that accepted Visa and MasterCard credit cards at any time between January 1, 2004 and January 25, 2019 will be entitled to participate in the $5.54 billion-dollar settlement

Sign Up Now

Class Action Refund has over 17 years of experience in managing complex claims and is an innovator of a niche service that specializes in the recovery of antitrust settlements for businesses, which includes large organizations like the AAA. Class Action Refund can ease the burden of self-filing. The life cycle of a claim can take several years to settle and may require various types of documentation and correspondence with the claims administrator in order to substantiate the claim. Class Action Refund will manage the entire filing process and inform you of milestones as necessary, so that you may stay focused on your core business. Additionally, there are NO OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS TO AAA MEMBERS. Class Action Refund will reduce its normal 33% contingency fee of funds recovered to 25% for AAA members.  If no recovery is made, then no fee is charged.

Any member interested in availing themselves of Class Action Refund’s recovery management services, for the Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement can quickly and easily sign up below!

Sign Up Now

Questions? Contact:

Joe Grande
Senior Account Manager
914.630.5112
jgrande@classactionrefund.com

Sign Up Now

Disclaimer: No claim forms are available at this time, and no claim-filing deadline exists. No-cost assistance will be available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during any claims-filing period. No one is required to sign up with any third-party service in order to participate in any settlement. For additional information regarding the status of the litigation, interested persons may visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com, the Court-approved website for this case.

National EMS Weekend of Honor 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media inquiries and interview requests, contact:
Tammy Chatman, Public Affairs
414-791-6655

National EMS Weekend of Honor 2021

New dates and location announced

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2021) – The National EMS Memorial Bike Ride (NEMSMBR), the National EMS Memorial Foundation (NEMSMF) and the National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS) announce that the 2021 National EMS Memorial Service and Weekend of Honor, originally scheduled for May has been moved to July 23-25, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, Arlington, VA. The goal for the reschedule was to balance our commitment to provide a safe and healing environment for all attendees while providing special recognition for the many participants who remain on the front-line of the COVID-19 response. The ceremonies will pay tribute to the past two year’s honorees-2019-2020-due to the cancellation of the 2020 events in response to the pandemic.

For those attending the Weekend of Honor and staying overnight, we ask that you please use the link below when booking your hotel rooms. The health and well-being of all who attend are of the upmost importance to our organizations and the hosting facility. Use of the link is critical as it allows our organizations and the hotel to better meet CDC guidelines for safe in-person gatherings over the three days.

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/WASRC/G-A8DT

*For any issues please contact the hotel at 877-803-7534

The Weekend includes a series of events to honor all air and ground Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers who serve in the US, while focusing on those who become ill or injured related to their duty. It culminates with a formal Service to specifically honor those who have died in the line-of-duty.

Brian Shaw, NEMSMBR president states “For the past 20 years the National EMS Memorial Service and Weekend of Honor begin with the arrival of our cyclist and support personnel meeting the honoree families. With that tradition in mind, and in addition to the five nationwide bike rides we have planned for September of this year, we are actively preparing a one-day ride into this year’s Weekend of Honor befitting our honorees. We will continue to shine a light on the sacrifices those in EMS make. More details will be posted on our website www.nemsmbr.org as they become available.”

This year’s National EMS Memorial Service will pay tribute to over one hundred EMS providers who died in the line-of-duty in the largest service we have ever performed.  It will include numerous historical honorees as well a number of recipients directly related to the pandemic.  Jana Williams, NEMSMS president conveyed, “I reaffirm there has never been a more defining time to honor the service and sacrifice of those in EMS as there remains right now. Despite persistent challenges, we remain committed that the fallen will not be forgotten.  We appreciate the continued support to ensure they receive the full national recognition they deserve.”  The list of honorees and information on the weekend’s events including the National EMS Moment of Silence will be posted to the NEMSMS website at www.national-ems-memorial.org in the coming weeks.

Katie Orsino, NEMSMF executive director shared “We support our partners at the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride and the National EMS Memorial Service as they prepare modified events this year to honor our EMS colleagues. What our first responders have demonstrated especially over the last year has been extraordinary. It reinforces our resolve to bring a permanent EMS memorial to the nation’s capital to honor their commitment, service, and sacrifice. We will not waiver in our efforts to ensure it becomes reality.” Updates on the progress of this effort can be found on at www.emsmemorial.org.

The Weekend of Honor is organized and hosted by the following volunteer-staffed organizations: National EMS Memorial Bike RideNational EMS Memorial, and the National EMS Memorial Foundation. See http://www.national-ems-memorial.org/ for more information on the specific updates as they become available.

2019 National EMS Scope of Practice Model, Change Notices

Download Change Notice

Date:               March 29, 2021

To:                  State EMS Directors

From:              Jon R. Krohmer, M.D., FACEP, Director, Office of Emergency Medical Services

RE:                  2019 National EMS Scope of Practice Model, Change Notices

The National EMS Scope of Practice Model (model) was first published in February 2007 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Office of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The most recent version of the model was published by NHTSA in February 2019. The model was developed by the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) with funding provided by NHTSA and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Over the past 14 years, the model has provided guidance for States in developing their EMS Scope of Practice legislation, rules, and regulation. While the model provides national guidance, each State maintains the authority to regulate EMS within its border, and determine the scope of practice of State-licensed EMS clinicians.

Recognizing that the model may impact States’ ability to urgently update their Scope of Practice rules, in 2016 the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) recommended that NHTSA develop a standardized urgent update process for the model. The Rapid Process for Emergent Changes to the National EMS Scope of Practice Model (rapid process) was developed by NASEMSO and published by NHTSA in September 2018.

Using the rapid process, in March 2021 NHTSA convened a subject matter expert panel (panel) to respond to the following questions: 1) Should immunizations via the intramuscular (IM) route be added to the emergency medical responder (EMR) and emergency medical technician (EMT) scope of practice levels?; 2) Should monoclonal antibody (MCA) infusion be added to the advanced EMT (AEMT) and paramedic scope of practice levels?; and 3) Should specimen collection via nasal swabbing be added to the EMR, EMT, AEMT, and paramedic scope of practice levels?

The panel considered the ability of EMRs and EMTs to perform the psychomotor skill of medication administration via the IM route and recommended that IM medication administration be added only to the EMT scope of practice as part of their common daily practice.

The panel considered the ability of EMRs and EMTs to administer medical director approved immunizations and recommended that immunizations during a public health emergency be added only to the EMT scope of practice.

The panel considered the ability of EMRs, EMTs, AEMTs, and Paramedics to perform the psychomotor skill of specimen collection via nasal swab and recommended that specimen collection via nasal swab be added only to the EMT, AEMT, and Paramedic scopes of practice as part of their common daily practice.

The panel did not issue a recommendation on MCA infusion.

Based on the panel’s recommendations NHTSA used the rapid process to develop the two attached change notices on IM medication administration, vaccinations during a public health emergency, and specimen collection via nasal swab.

It should be noted that, although the recommendations address the psychomotor skills associated with these specific activities, the assumption of the panel in making the recommendations was that all associated educational activities, knowledge of indications and potential contraindications, other potential skills (e.g.: drawing the appropriate dose of medication up from an ampule or vial [single or multi-dose], supervised assessment of skill competency, and quality improvement activities) would be components of the entire program.

I hope you find these change notices useful to you in meeting the urgent needs of your patients and the practitioners you regulate. In the very near future we will publish a revised version of the model which incorporates these change notices. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Download Change Notice

EMS Mental Health Study

“Dynamic psychosocial risk and protective factors associated with mental health in Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel”

Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders

Highlighted Findings

  • Emergency medical service personnel have a heightened risk for PTSD and depression relative to other occupational populations.
  • Dynamic psychosocial factors contribute to this elevated risk.
  • Daily occupational stressors predicted elevated PTSD symptom severity.
  • Daily social conflicts predicted elevated depression symptom severity.
  • The meaning made from the day’s challenges and recovery activities predicted lower depression symptom severity.

Full Study

EMS Week 2021 Announcement

CONTACT
Tracy Hilsabeck
760-815-8432
thilsabeck@redflashgroup.com

For Immediate Release

“THIS IS EMS: CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITIES” CAMPAIGN TO HONOR EMS PROFESSIONALS DURING ANNUAL EMS WEEK

ACEP and NAEMT campaign celebrates emergency medical services professionals May 16-21, 2021

March 26, 2021—WASHINGTON, DC—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), is proud to announce the EMS Week 2021 theme: THIS IS EMS: CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITIES. The annual campaign recognizes the heroes who provide emergency medical services in communities across the country and takes place May 16th -21st this year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to test EMS professionals like never before,” said Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president of ACEP. “EMTs, paramedics and other frontline workers are rising to the challenge and each has a crucial role in responding to the public health crisis of our lifetime. National EMS Week is a time to recognize and honor EMS professionals for their tireless dedication to their communities—not just during this pandemic but every day.”

Under the “EMS Strong” banner, the campaign supports and strengthens the EMS community by honoring accomplishments and increasing awareness of the critical role of EMS in communities across the country. Inspiring stories about EMS practitioners can be found on www.EMSSTRONG.org along with the annual EMS Week Planning Guide, a resource for the EMS community and stakeholders to help celebrate EMS Week and promote the value of emergency medical services.

“Throughout the pandemic, EMS has been on the frontlines, caring for the sickest COVID-19 patients, while also staffing COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics,” said Chief Bruce Evans, CFO, SPO, NRP, MPA, president of NAEMT. “EMS Week is a chance for communities to come together and express their gratitude for EMS practitioners. Our nation’s paramedics and EMTs, as well as their families, have been through so much. Recognizing their service and sacrifices is an important step in healing and recovery from the stress and intensity of the past year.”

EMS Week dedicates five days to specific themes, and first responders are encouraged to plan activities and events around these themes in their communities.

  • Monday, May 17: EMS Education Day
  • Tuesday, May 18: EMS Safety Day
  • Wednesday, May 19: EMS for Children Day
  • Thursday, May 20: Save-A-Life Day (CPR & National Stop the Bleed Day)
  • Friday, May 21: EMS Recognition Day

Integral to the campaign’s success is the involvement and support from the corporate sponsors, strategic association partners and strategic media partners.

Corporate Supporters: FirstNet Built with AT&T, Genentech, T-Mobile for Government, American Red Cross, NHTSA/Office of EMS, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), AdvancedCPR Solutions, Boundtree Medical, Laerdal Medical, McKesson Medical-Surgical and North American Rescue.

Strategic Association Partners: American Ambulance Association, Association of Air Medical Services, Commission on Accreditation for Prehospital Continuing Education, Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Flight and Critical Care Paramedics, International Public Safety Association, National Association of EMS Educators, National Association of EMS Physicians, National Association of State EMS Officials, National EMS Management Association, National Fire Protection Association, National Registry of EMTs and National Volunteer Fire Council.

Strategic Media Partners: EMS1.com, EMS World and JEMS/EMS Today. Visit www.EMSSTRONG.org for more information about 2021 EMS Week.

###

About ACEP

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org.

About NAEMT

Formed in 1975 and more than 72,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians is the only national association representing the professional interests of all emergency and mobile healthcare practitioners, including emergency medical technicians, advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical responders, paramedics, advanced practice paramedics, critical care paramedics, flight paramedics, community paramedics and mobile integrated healthcare practitioners. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government agencies, fire departments, hospital- based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings and in the military. For more information, visit www.naemt.org.

Press Release | EMERGICON Garners Two Awards for Fast-Growing, Private Companies

From Emergicon Public Relations

Contact:

Chris Kelley

chris@mpdventures.com

214.457.5266

 

EMERGICON Garners Two Awards for Fast-Growing, Private Companies 

Dallas 100 and Inc. 5000 Texas recognize premier ambulance billing service provider 

 

(TERRELL, TX – March 31, 2021) – EMERGICON, Texas’ largest ambulance billing provider, has been named to two award lists that recognize the fastest-growing, privately held organizations. The company placed:

 

The company growth was further evident in Fall 2020 with EMERGICON’s relocation and expansion of its headquarters to Terrell, Texas. The 15,000-sf facility now houses some 85+ employees.

 

“It’s an honor to be recognized for our fast growth by two well-respected award programs in Texas in the same year,” says EMERGICON’s Founder and CEO Christopher Turner, MHA. “More so, the awards mean that we are being effective in helping EMS providers and Fire Departments in Texas improve their emergency medical billing process and increase their patient reimbursements.”

 

Turner continues, “We’re fanatical about building a great culture and serving Texas EMS providers’ greater mission. The entire team at EMERGICON shares the belief that service comes first, as we support the first responders who save lives and the patients who needed that help in an emergency.”

 

The Dallas 100 awards, presented by the SMU Cox Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, ranks the top 100 fastest-growing, privately owned businesses in the DFW Metroplex. The 2020 award ranking was based on company revenues over the three-year period from 2017 to 2019.

 

The Inc. 5000 Regional awards, presented by Inc. Magazine, rank the top 250 fastest-growing private companies in Texas from 2017-2019. Over that period, EMERGICON experienced a 50% growth rate. The company was previously recognized on the Inc. 5000 national lists in 2020 and 2019.

 

ABOUT EMERGICON 

As the largest Texas-owned and Texas-based emergency medical services billing company, EMERGICON provides a better solution for processing ambulance billing claims. The company provides a human-based approach to claims management which results in better cash collections and fewer patient complaints than automated services. Founded in 2006, its team is dedicated to compliance, provider reimbursement, and customer service. Learn more at www.emergicon.com or visit its sister company EMERGIFIRE at www.emergifire.com.

CMS | Repayment of COVID-19 Accelerated & Advance Payments Began 3/30

Repayment of COVID-19 Accelerated and Advance Payments Began on March 30, 2021

CMS issued information about repayment of COVID-19 accelerated and advance payments. If you requested these payments, learn how and when we’ll recoup them:

  • Identify payments we recovered
  • Prepare your billing staff

More Information:

NAEMT Survey | Impact of COVID-19

A year has passed since NAEMT released a national survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 survey captured real time data on how EMS agencies and fire departments were being affected by the pandemic. It allowed NAEMT to share with elected officials the story of EMS, serving on the frontlines of this public health crisis. This data motivated Congress, state legislatures, and government agencies to take action to support EMS.

We believe that EMS agency and fire department leaders should be surveyed again to collect data on how the last twelve months of the pandemic have affected their workforce, finances, operations, equipment and supplies.

We kindly ask for less than 10 minutes of your time to respond to this survey to help us provide a clear picture for federal and state leaders on the areas of greatest concern that need to be addressed.

Take NAEMT Survey

To collect and analyze the data in a timely fashion, we ask that you complete this short survey by Monday, April 19. Please be sure that only one leader from your agency completes the survey.

Thank you for your continued dedication to advancing EMS.

Sincerely,

Bruce Evans, MPA, NRP, CFO, SPO

President, NAEMT

CMS | Sequestration Update | Temporary Claims Hold

From CMS on March 30, 2021

Temporary Claims Hold Pending Congressional Action to Extend 2% Sequester Reduction Suspension

In anticipation of possible Congressional action to extend the 2% sequester reduction suspension, we instructed the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to hold all claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2021, for a short period without affecting providers’ cash flow. This will minimize the volume of claims the MACs must reprocess if Congress extends the suspension; the MACs will automatically reprocess any claims paid with the reduction applied if necessary.

CAAS | Standards v4.0 First Draft Available for Public Comment

The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) is pleased to announce the first public comment period on the first draft of the CAAS Accreditation Standards document version 4.0. All materially affected parties including members of the EMS community, EMS groups and associations, affiliated healthcare groups and associations, members of other public health and safety communities, and the general public are encouraged to review and comment on these proposed standards.

The revision of the CAAS Accreditation Standards was an extensive process conducted by the Standards Review Committee, a diverse and comprehensive team of EMS, Fire, and healthcare professionals that has dedicated over 250 work hours and engaged with subject matter experts and materially impacted stakeholders across EMS and healthcare to create this first draft of the v4.0 CAAS Accreditation Standards.

These standards were developed in accordance with the standard establishing policies set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI.) CAAS is an ANSI Standards Developing Organization (SDO) committed to the development of Ambulance Accreditation Standards in a fair, balanced, accessible, and responsive manner.

This is the first public comment period, and we encourage you to review and provide your feedback to the CAAS Standards Review Committee using this online form. This public comment period will be open from March 26, 2021 until May 25, 2021.

CAAS v4.0 Accreditation Standards – First Draft and Public Comment Form

We ask that you submit one form for each standard comment you have – please do not comment on multiple standards in one form. We want to be able to review the feedback in an organized manner.

If you have any questions on the proposed standards or the standard-setting process, please contact us at caas-staff@tcag.com. We look forward to your feedback.

GAO | Appointments to State All Payer Claims Databases Advisory Committee

From the General Accountability Office

WASHINGTON, DC (March 29, 2021) – Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of six members to the newly created State All Payer Claims Databases Advisory Committee (SAPCDAC).

“At almost $4 trillion dollars annually and growing, health care spending poses significant challenges for both the economy as a whole as well as federal and state budgets. State All Payer Claims Databases can assist a wide variety of stakeholders—policymakers, consumers, providers, and payers—in monitoring health care costs, access, and quality,” Dodaro said. “We had a number of exceptional candidates interested in serving on the committee, and the experiences and perspectives of today’s appointees should greatly benefit SAPCDAC as it advises the Secretary of Labor on data standards for voluntary reporting to State All Payer Claims Databases.”

The newly appointed members are Niall Brennan, Cheryl Damberg, Emma Hoo, Frederick Isasi, Mike Kapsa, and Josephine Porter.

Congress established the committee in December 2020 to make recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on the standardized format and associated guidance for the voluntary reporting by group health plans to State All Payer Claims Databases. The Comptroller General is responsible for naming six committee members. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor has responsibility for appointing nine committee members representing various agencies within the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, as well as one chair and one representative of a State All Payer Claims Database.

The No Surprises Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, requires the committee to provide recommendations to the Secretary of Labor within 180 days.

For more information, please visit the SAPCDAC website, or email the Department of Labor at SAPCDAC@dol.gov. Other calls should be directed to Chuck Young in GAO’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800.

Brief biographies of the new committee members follow:

Niall J. Brennan, MPP, is the President and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute in Washington, DC, where he leads one of the largest multi-payer claims databases in the country, with 100 million covered lives across the commercial and Medicare sectors. Prior to that role, he held numerous positions involving health care data analytics, including as Chief Data Office at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and as a Senior Analyst at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Mr. Brennan advises Congressional staff and other key health system stakeholders on important health policy and transparency topics, and he has testified before Congress on these issues. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Health Data Organizations and was a cofounder and member of the All Payer Claims Database Council. Mr. Brennan received his MPP from Georgetown University.

Cheryl L. Damberg, PhD, is a Principal Senior Economist and Distinguished Chair in Healthcare Payment Policy at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. She is also Professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She leads health economic and health services research studies focused on health system performance, alternative payment models, price transparency, and the use of incentives to drive system improvement. Before joining RAND, Dr. Damberg held numerous positions, including Director of Research and Quality at the Pacific Business Group on Health. She is an international expert on health system redesign and has advised Congress, federal agencies, and the governments of Great Britain, Germany, and South Korea on the use of incentives and ways to measure provider performance. Dr. Damberg was appointed by California’s governor Newsom as Vice-Chair of the California Healthcare Payments Database (HPD) Review Committee to establish a plan for California’s all payer claims database. She now serves as a member of the HPD Advisory Committee that is guiding the implementation of the California APCD. Dr. Damberg received her PhD in Public Policy from RAND.

Emma Hoo is the Director of Pay-for-Value at the Purchaser Business Group on Health in San Francisco, CA. In that role, she works closely with employer and purchaser groups as well as health plan, provider, and consumer stakeholders to advance health care data availability and transparency. Her focus areas include advancing common Accountable Care Organization quality and efficiency measures, measurement-based behavioral health care, and adoption of patient-reported outcomes measures. She has managed data analytics and evaluation for several pilot programs to test payment reform and health delivery redesign, including an Intensive Outpatient Care Program under a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Award. She also supported the Better Quality Information initiative that aggregated Medicare and commercial claims data to assess the quality of care at various levels of the delivery system. Previously, Ms. Hoo was the Director of Operation at Baycare Medical Group, Inc., where she managed overall operations and management information systems for a 200-member primary care group. She also serves on numerous committees, including the California Healthcare Payments Data Review Committee, which supports the planning and development of a statewide all payer claims database. Ms. Hoo received her BA cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University.

Frederick Isasi, JD, MPH, is the Executive Director of Families USA in Washington, DC. In that role he directs national, state, and local initiatives to ensure accessible and affordable health care for all consumers. He has testified before congressional committees on the importance of establishing a national all payer claims database to improve the quality of health care, reduce costs, and provide transparency for consumers, policy makers, and other stakeholders. Prior to joining Families USA, Mr. Isasi held various leadership positions involving health care research and state multi-payer claims databases, including as Health Division Director at the National Governors Association and Vice President of Health Policy at The Advisory Board Company. Mr. Isasi received his JD from Duke University in Durham, NC, and his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael J. KapsaPhD, is the Chief Financial Officer of SolidaritUS Health Inc. in Washington, DC, working with local exchanges that share claims databases to develop cost-effective primary care programs for employer and labor union employees. Dr. Kapsa is also Chief Economist for America’s Agenda, a national alliance of international labor unions and employers, where he helps develop federal and state health policy and primary care delivery models aimed at reducing costs and improving health care quality and outcomes. His prior experience includes leadership positions negotiating health and other benefits for various labor union employees, including the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, the Service Employees International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Dr. Kapsa received his PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Josephine Porter, MPH, is the Director of the Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, overseeing academic health care research and serving as Principal Investigator on a number of research projects. In addition, she is the Co-Chair of All Payer Claims Database (APCD) Council, a partnership with the National Association of Health Data Organizations, which serves as a national learning network for APCDs. In this role, she serves as a national authority on APCD issues, presenting on state and national panels with a focus on the use of APCDs to promote healthcare transparency. She was the lead author on an APCD Development Manual and has been actively involved in the development of a data submission standard to help bring data submission in line across the states. Prior to that, she held a variety of leadership positions in the private and public sectors. Ms. Porter received her MPH from Boston University.

New Benefit | Credit Card Fee Class Action Settlement

Dear AAA Members:

As you may know, there is a class action lawsuit pending in the U.S. alleging Visa, MasterCard and their member banks engaged in anticompetitive practices. The case, Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement, alleges activity that includes collusion which artificially inflated the interchange fee that all AAA members paid to accept Visa and MasterCard branded credit cards. The proposed settlement provides that any merchant that accepted Visa and MasterCard credit cards at any time between January 1, 2004 and January 25, 2019 will be entitled to participate in the $5.54 billion-dollar settlement

Sign Up Now

Class Action Refund has over 17 years of experience in managing complex claims and is an innovator of a niche service that specializes in the recovery of antitrust settlements for businesses, which includes large organizations like the AAA. Class Action Refund can ease the burden of self-filing. The life cycle of a claim can take several years to settle and may require various types of documentation and correspondence with the claims administrator in order to substantiate the claim. Class Action Refund will manage the entire filing process and inform you of milestones as necessary, so that you may stay focused on your core business. Additionally, there are NO OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS TO AAA MEMBERS. Class Action Refund will reduce its normal 33% contingency fee of funds recovered to 25% for AAA members.  If no recovery is made, then no fee is charged.

Any member interested in availing themselves of Class Action Refund’s recovery management services, for the Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement can quickly and easily sign up below!

Sign Up Now

Mr. Hugh Bellingreri, Senior Account Manager, is the contact person for members. Please call Hugh directly at 914-630-5116, or you can reach him by email at hbellingreri@classactionrefund.com with any questions. 

Sign Up Now

Disclaimer: No claim forms are available at this time, and no claim-filing deadline exists. No-cost assistance will be available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during any claims-filing period. No one is required to sign up with any third-party service in order to participate in any settlement. For additional information regarding the status of the litigation, interested persons may visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com, the Court-approved website for this case.

CMS COVID-19 Snapshot March 24

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 2.7 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and nearly 700,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.  This update includes new data on COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates by race/ethnicity.

The updated snapshot covers the period from January 1 to December 26, 2020. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by January 22, 2021.

View the Updated Snapshot

Texas A&M Study | Anonymous Survey for EMS

Dr. Joyce Hnatek, Timothy Fan, and Logan DuBose from the Texas A&M College of Medicine are conducting a research study to assess the awareness of an often overlooked patients’ right – the right to not be hospitalized/transported against one’s will. You were selected to receive this invitation because you may provide healthcare to patients with decreased ability to communicate.
We respectfully request that you complete this brief anonymous survey. It should take < 5 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your time and support. The informed consent is included in the survey link (https://tamu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6LvpSzXslKzRz1z)
Sincerely,

Timothy (fan@tamu.edu) and Logan (logandubose960@tamu.edu)

NBC | Covid package, federal program offer lifeline and herald change for ambulances services

March 18, 2021, 3:54 PM EDT

Features Empress EMS and REMSA!

By Phil McCausland
During the height of the pandemic, a quiet financial crisis was brewing for ambulance companies.

As hospitals became overwhelmed and patients begged not to be taken to crowded emergency rooms for fear of potential infection, paramedics and emergency medical technicians began treating patients where they met them — outside homes, alongside roadways, in parking lots.

The trouble is that ambulance companies are only paid to transport people, not for treating them.

Now, an aid package in the American Rescue Plan and a new federal health care program could provide a financial lifeline for ambulance companies and herald a permanent shift in emergency medicine as a whole.

The attempt to reimburse ambulance companies began with a bill introduced by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., but the legislation was ultimately rolled into the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill. Cortez Masto voted for the plan, and Cassidy did not.

“Our first responders have gone above and beyond in caring for patients during the pandemic, and it’s just wrong that ambulance companies weren’t getting paid unless they took patients to the hospital,” Cortez Masto said.

Continue Reading

Joint Letter on Sequestration Delay

On March 15, the AAA, IAFC, IAFF, NFVC, NAEMT, and the Congressional Fire Services Institute sent a letter to congressional leaders in support of legislation (H.R. 1868) to extend the current moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequestration cut. The moratorium is currently scheduled to expire on March 31 and H.R. 1868 would extend the moratorium until December 31. Below is a copy of the letter.

This week, the House passed House Resolution 233 with the rules for debate and consideration of H.R. 1868. Congressmen Schneider (D-IL) and McKinley (R-WV) introduced H.R. 315 and Senators Sheehan (D-NH) and Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 748 which would extend the moratorium through the end of the public health emergency.

March 16, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader McCarthy:

Thank you for your continued support of front-line medical workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters, as well as the organizations that they serve, take on substantial risk every day to treat, transport and test potential COVID-19 patients. We write today to express our deep concern with the impending 2% Medicare sequestration cut scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2021.

The American Ambulance Association (AAA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) along with the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) represent the providers of vital emergency and non-emergency ground ambulance services and the paramedics, EMTs and firefighters who deliver the direct medical care and transport for every community across the United States. We have all experienced the strain on our services, and need financial assistance and support as we remain the frontline responders to our nation’s coronavirus patients. The sequestered cuts, if implemented, would further strain the provision of these critical services.

Our costs of operating have increased exponentially in response to COVID-19, as we maintain full readiness to combat the pandemic and continue to provide 24-hour vital non-COVID-19- related services. Our costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), overtime pay, and other expenses directly related to COVID-19 remain high. At a time when we are facing considerable economic strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we respectfully urge Congress take action before April 1, 2021 to extend the 2% Medicare sequestration moratorium. We would like to voice our strong support for bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1868, to prevent the 2% sequester cut.

Our organizations greatly appreciate both the financial support provided through congressionally enacted COVID-19 relief legislation, as well as the recognition of the dangers of providing these critical services on a daily basis. However, the impact of the pandemic on our resources and services remains and the implementation of additional Medicare cuts at this time would be harmful to our members.

We thank you in advance for your consideration and helping ensure that EMS agencies and personnel have the resources they need to continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the funding to maintain the short and long-term viability of our operations.

Sincerely,

American Ambulance Association

Congressional Fire Services Institute

International Association of Fire Chiefs

International Association of Fire Fighters

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

National Volunteer Fire Council

AIMHI Webinar 3/23 | Developing and Implementing Evidence-Based Protocols

From the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration

Free Webinar | March 23 | Noon ET | Register Now►

EMS delivers medical care, first and foremost. The most crucial role of an EMS Medical Director is to develop, implement and quality assure protocols used in the delivery of medical care by EMS personnel, including Emergency Medical Dispatchers. This webinar will share the ways that Medical Directors of some of the most innovative EMS systems determine what medical treatments are included in protocols for EMS personnel, both in the ‘traditional’ role of EMS care delivery, but also enhanced protocols for things like Mobile Integrated Healthcare and alternate disposition models of care. Some of the topics discussed will be:

  • How do you determine an evidence-base for protocols?
  • How often should protocols be updated?
  • How do you balance clinical efficacy with operational realities?
  • What are some best practices in provider credentialing?

 

Register Now►

Speakers

Brian Miller, MD, FACEP, FAEMS is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and EMS division faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. He is the Associate System Medical Director with the Office of the Medical Director for the MAEMSA/MedStar Mobile Healthcare system in Fort Worth, TX. He also serves as the Deputy Medical Director for Dallas Fire-Rescue and 11 other surrounding suburbs making up the UTSW/Parkland BioTel EMS System. He graduated from Emergency Medicine residency at Indiana University and completed his EMS fellowship at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Doug Munkley started his career in 1980 as an Emergency Medicine Physician for Niagara Health where he practiced until 2016. During this time, he became actively involved in the early development of emergency prehospital care in Ontario and has worked as Medical Director for the Niagara Paramedic Program (1986-2020) as well as for the Niagara EMS Ambulance Communications Services from 2004 to present.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Munkley has been an integral part in EMS research including co-author of the Ontario Pre-hospital Advanced Life Support (OPALS) Project as well as the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC) as a Site Investigator. Most recently, as Medical Director for Niagara EMS’s Accredited Centre of Excellence (MPDS and ECNS), Dr. Munkley has helped develop an evidence-based, clinical-outcome response plan based on a Mobile Integrated Health model of service delivery.

Dr. Munkley spends his free time as an avid cyclist, skier, old house restorer, gardener and beekeeper with hopes to resume travelling once his COVID antibodies are up.

Register Now►

CMS | Increased Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

From CMS on March 15

Biden-Harris Administration Increases Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

On March 15, CMS increased the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. This new and higher payment rate will support important actions taken by providers that are designed to increase the number of vaccines they can furnish each day, including establishing new or growing existing vaccination sites, conducting patient outreach and education, and hiring additional staff. At a time when vaccine supply is growing, CMS is supporting provider efforts to expand capacity and ensure that all Americans can be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Effective for COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, 2021, the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and many other immunizers will be $40 to administer each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment rate for administration of each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will depend on the type of entity that furnishes the service and will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.

These updates to the Medicare payment rate for COVID-19 vaccine administration reflect new information about the costs involved in administering the vaccine for different types of providers and suppliers, and the additional resources necessary to ensure the vaccine is administered safely and appropriately.

CMS is updating the set of toolkits for providers, states, and insurers to help the health care system swiftly administer the vaccine with these new Medicare payment rates. These resources are designed to increase the number of providers that can administer the vaccine, ensure adequate payment for administering the vaccine to Medicare beneficiaries, and make it clear that no beneficiary, whether covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, should pay cost-sharing for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines:

As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers are prohibited from charging patients any amount for administration of the vaccine. To ensure broad and consistent coverage across programs and payers, the toolkits have specific information for several programs, including:

Medicare: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible.

Medicare Advantage (MA): For calendar years 2020 and 2021, Medicare will pay providers directly for the COVID-19 vaccine (if they do not receive it for free) and its administration for beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans. MA plans are not responsible for paying providers to administer the vaccine to MA enrollees during this time. Like beneficiaries in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage enrollees also pay no cost-sharing for COVID-19 vaccines.

Medicaid: State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program agencies must provide vaccine administration with no cost sharing for nearly all beneficiaries during the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and at least one year after it ends. Through the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the COVID vaccine administration will be fully federally funded. The law also provides an expansion of individuals eligible for vaccine administration coverage. There will be more information provided in upcoming updates to the Medicaid toolkit.

Private Plans: CMS, along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, is requiring that most private health plans and issuers cover the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration, both in-network and out-of-network, with no cost sharing during the PHE. Current regulations provide that out-of-network rates must be reasonable, as compared to prevailing market rates, and reference the Medicare reimbursement rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies. In light of CMS’s increased Medicare payment rates, CMS will expect commercial carriers to continue to ensure that their rates are reasonable in comparison to prevailing market rates.

Uninsured: 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 the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

More Information: