Author: AAA Staff

EMS Trend Report Survey Extended Through Feb. 21

From Fitch & Associates on February 17

EMS Trend Report Survey Extended!

Share your impression on key industry topics and receive a Pinnacle discount as well as a chance to win an Amazon gift card

With the challenges those in EMS have faced this past year and continue to confront, it is as important as ever that we harness the data and information we have to prepare for the future. The EMS Trend Report, now in its sixth year, provides essential information for us to understand the impact of these challenges and continue to improve the health of our organizations. Your input is vital to this effort.

We encourage all members of the EMS community to weigh in on the EMS Trend Report survey with their perceptions, attitudes, and practices. The questionnaire will only take about 10 minutes to complete online, and you won’t need to review or access detailed data from your agency to complete it.

To show our appreciation for your participation, you will be automatically entered into our drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. In addition, you can take advantage of a $50 discount on the 2021 Pinnacle main conference being held August 9-13, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona (the discount code can be found upon completing the survey.) The survey closes Feb 21.

Take the Survey

New E-Books Free to Members!


Did you know? All American Ambulance Association PDF E-Books are now free to members! This $1000+ value is yet another way that AAA is delivering value through membership.

New releases include the 2021 Medicare Reference Manual, 2021 HIPAA Manual, and 2021 Human Resources Toolkit!

Download E-Books Now!

Please note that you must be logged in using your member account in order to see the $0.00 member e-book pricing. The link to download your e-book will be delivered in your email order confirmation.
Not yet a member? Join today to gain access!

2021 Stars of Life Postponed

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the AAA Board of Directors recently voted to postpone the 2021 Stars of Life event originally scheduled for May. This decision was made regretfully and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our Stars, hosts, and guests. We are truly sorry for this disappointing change of plan. Please stay tuned for additional updates about the program in the coming weeks as we research the feasibility of a hybrid Stars of Life-2021 Annual Conference & Trade Show in Texas in November.

The American Ambulance Association deeply appreciates your continued support and participation, as well as your flexibility as we adapt our programs for the COVID-19 era.

EMS.gov | Response to Incidents w Electric / Hybrid Vehicles

From NHTSA’s EMS.gov on February 11

New Report Highlights Potential Risks While Responding to Incidents Involving Electric or Hybrid Vehicles

Responders urged to review NHTSA guidance for vehicles equipped with high-voltage batteries

A new National Transportation Safety Board report offers safety recommendations for emergency response involving electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) equipped with high-voltage batteries.

NTSB investigations into four electric vehicle fires identified two major safety issues:

  • The inadequacy of vehicle manufacturers’ emergency response guides.
  • The gaps in safety standards and research related to high-voltage lithium-ion batteries involved in high-speed, high-severity crashes.

EMS, fire and law enforcement personnel are encouraged to review the report to stay up to date on the latest safety advisories for responding to vehicle crashes of this nature. In addition, NHTSA’s guidance for responding to emergency incidents involving these types of vehicles provides important information for all first responders and can be accessed on NHTSA.gov.

To access the full report, read the official NTSB announcement.

VeryWell Health | How Non-Emergency Ambulances Work

From VeryWell Health on February 7 

We all know that ambulances respond to 911 calls, rushing down the street with sirens wailing and lights flashing. The paramedics are on the way to save lives. When they arrive at the scene, they’ll take control of the situation and find the solution to the problems. The patient will be stabilized and transported to an emergency department for definitive care.

Continue Reading►

EMS.gov | Training Resources for Vaccination Programs Using EMTs

From EMS.gov on February 10

These resources can serve as just in time training for vaccination programs utilizing emergency medical technicians:

Training video on COVID-19 intramuscular vaccine administration
This video created by the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) can be used to provide EMTs with didactic knowledge to administer IM injections. With the exception of the MIEMSS link referenced in the video, it can be used by EMTs in any state or territory. It should be accompanied by a skills assessment, which is discussed below.

Intramuscular Injection Skill Checklist
A clinical skills assessment checklist for EMTs preparing to administer IM injections.

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Training for EMTs
A written description of the skills required of EMTs to administer the vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine Comparison
A simple side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer and Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccines

Vaccine Update Video
In this presentation from late January 2021, Florida State EMS Medical Director Kenneth Scheppke, MD, provides an overview of the latest science related to COVID vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination Training Programs and Reference Materials for Healthcare Professionals
CDC recommended resources to prepare healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

EMS Vaccine Administration Program Manual
This guide from the State of Indiana can serve as a resource to help state and local officials and EMS organizations with the creation and implementation of EMS vaccination programs.

CDC | National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine

Download CDC Fact Sheet

In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation.

The Forum will facilitate information exchange on the most effective strategies to:

  • Build trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines
  • Use data to drive vaccine implementation
  • Provide practical information for optimizing and maximizing equitable vaccine access

Practitioners include representatives of organizations focused on vaccine implementation in communities from:

  • State, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments
  • Healthcare system providers and administrators and their national affiliate organizations
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical and public health academic institutions
  • Community-based health service organizations

Dates and Deadlines:

  • February 9: Registration opens: www.cdc.gov/covidvaccineforum
  • February 16: Last day to register
  • February 22: Building Trust and Vaccine Confidence
  • February 23: Data to Drive Vaccine Implementation
  • February 24: Optimize and Maximize Equitable Access

Download CDC Fact Sheet

AHA Pre-Hospital News & Resources

From the American Heart Association on February 10

Dear Pre-hospital Emergency Colleagues,

The American Heart Association®’s Quality, Outcomes Research and Analytics team is excited to launch the Pre-hospital News and Resources newsletter for prehospital emergency care providers. In this issue you will find information on 2021 Mission: Lifeline Recognition information, conferences and webinars, prehospital resources, American Heart Association guidelines and statement, prehospital articles, and 2020 Mission: Lifeline recognized agencies.

2021 MISSION: LIFELINE® EMS RECOGNITION

The 2021 Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition updates are now available. The Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition is a program designed to showcase emergency prehospital care organizations across the nation for excellent care based on American Heart Association guidelines.

Process

For agencies that applied for 2020 recognition. An email fromAHASurveys@surveys.heart.org was sent on December 17, 2020 to the primary contacts from last year that will include a recognition application link, unique to the applicant agency. ACTION: If you applied last year and have not received your application link, please let your regional quality director know immediately.

For new applicants or agencies that did not apply in 2020.  ACTION: Please complete the 2021 New Mission: Lifeline EMS Application Request form. Upon completion of this form an application link will be sent via email within 2-business days.

Recognition Measures

For the 2021 recognition year (based on 2020 calendar year data) the required achievement measures will remain the same as those required for 2020 recognition, below.

Due to COVID-19, updates to the required achievement measures to include the two new stroke measures is being delayed until 2022.  On a related note, the National EMS Quality Alliance approved 11 measures in August 2019 including  “Stroke-01 Suspected Stroke Receiving Prehospital Stroke Assessment” which is one of the Mission: Lifeline EMS stroke recognition measures planned for 2022.

Data Submission

The data submission portal is open and will remain open and accessible through the application deadline, April 30, 2021.

Recognition Resources

To assist agencies, there are resources on the website including; Application Overview VideoRecognition CriteriaRecognition FAQApplication Category, and Webinars

Recognition Questions or Assistances

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to your regional Mission: Lifeline EMS contact below.

Eastern region (CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV)
Rob Horton – rob.horton@heart.org
Midwest region (IA, IN, IL, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
Alex Kuhn – alexander.kuhn@heart.org
Southeast region (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, PR, SC, TN)
Lori Hollowell – lori.hollowell@heart.org
Southwest region (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX, WY)
Loni Denne – loni.denne@heart.org
Western region (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA)
Paula Hudson – paula.hudson@heart.org

CONFERENCES AND WEBINARS

February 11, 2021 from 11am – 12pm CST
Resuscitation Education in the Real World: How the Columbus Fire Department transformed the way they practice High-Quality CPRFebruary 18, 2021 from 9am – 12pm CST
Innov8te NRP:  Introduction to the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, 8th Education

February 23, 2021 from 12pm-1pm CST
Getting to the Heart of the Issue: Rural Stroke and Cardiac System of Care Trends, Inequities and Opportunities

March 11, 2021 from 1pm-2pm CST 
Pre-Hospital Quality Roundtable Webinar

March 17-19, 2021
International Stroke ConferenceMarch 31, 2021 9am-4pm CST 
Strive to Revive Resuscitation Virtual Conference 
Agenda and registration coming soon. 

Recorded Webinars 

Outcomes of Targeted Temperature Management Webinar

RQI Pre-hospital and Public Safety Programs – RQI Telecommunicator Webinar

PREHOSPITAL RESOURCES 

Mission: Lifeline Stroke  is excited to announce the release of the Severity-based Stroke Triage Algorithm for EMS and a one-page document explaining the algorithm.

The AHA Lifelong Learning Pre-Hospital Stroke Rapid Response(on demand) course is designed to assist pre-hospital and hospital personnel in the education of EMS providers in their communities. Approved for 0.75 CAPCE Advanced CEHs.

Nominate a Heartsaver Hero.  The award is our way of saying thank you for performing the heroic act of CPR, a critical link in our chain of survival.

Check out the American Heart Association’s Don’t Die of Doubt campaign for useful information and tools to educate your community on the importance of calling 911 during an emergency.

The American Heart Association has teamed up with RapidSOS to create the world’s first emergency response data platform that securely links life-saving data from connected devices or profiles to 911 and first responders in an emergency.

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION GUIDELINES AND STATEMENTS

Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2021 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association

2020 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC (GuidelinesInstructor UpdatesDigital Content Highlights)

Telecommunicator Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association

PREHOSPITAL ARTICLES OF INTEREST

STEMI
Catheterization Laboratory Activation Time in Patients Transferred With ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction: Insights From the Mission: Lifeline STEMI Accelerator-2 Project

Prehospital Activation of Hospital Resources (PreAct) ST‐Segment–Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI): A Standardized Approach to Prehospital Activation and Direct to the Catheterization Laboratory for STEMI Recommendations From the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Program

Stroke
A Community-Engaged Stroke Preparedness Intervention in Chicago

Emergency Medical Services Utilization for Acute Stroke Care: Analysis of the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program, 2014-2019

Cardiac Arrest
Detailed post-resuscitation debrief reports: A novel example from a large EMS system

Delay to Initiation of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest EMS Treatments

Association of Intra-arrest Transport vs Continued On-Scene Resuscitation With Survival to Hospital Discharge Among Patients With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Outcomes for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Other articles of interests
Firefighting as an Independent Risk Factor for Atrial Fibrillation

PREHOSPITAL AGENCY MISSION: LIFELINE RECOGNITION

In 2020, more than 600 prehospital agencies were recognized for the quality of care provided for STEMI patients.

A special recognition goes out to the following 33 agencies that have been recognized every year.
Agency City State
Los Angeles County EMS Agency Santa Fe Springs CA
Oceanside Fire Department Oceanside CA
Ventura County EMS Oxnard CA
Western Connecticut Health Network Affiliates – EMS Danbury CT
Okaloosa County Department of Public Safety – EMS Division Niceville FL
MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service Marietta GA
Ada County Paramedics Boise ID
MidMichigan Health EMS Midland MI
Warren Fire Department Warren MI
Cabarrus EMS Concord NC
Rowan County Emergency Services – EMS Division Salisbury NC
NHRMC AirLink/VitaLink Critical Care Transport Wilmington NC
Mecklenburg EMS Agency Charlotte NC
Pender EMS & Fire Rocky Point NC
New Hanover Regional EMS Wilmington NC
Cumberland County EMS Fayetteville NC
F-M Ambulance Service Fargo ND
University Hospital EMS Newark NJ
Empress EMS Yonkers NY
Strongsville Fire Department Strongsville OH
EMSTAT Norman OK
Macungie Ambulance Corps Macungie PA
Riddle EMS Media PA
Western Berks Ambulance Association West Lawn PA
Lexington County EMS Lexington SC
Greenville County EMS Greenville SC
Charleston County EMS North Charleston SC
Grand Prairie Fire Department Grand Prairie TX
Williamson County EMS Georgetown TX
San Antonio Fire Department San Antonio TX
Garland Fire Department Garland TX
Austin Travis County EMS Austin TX
Alexandria Fire Department Alexandria VA

Rural Policy Research Institute EMS Study

From RUPRI in January 2021

Characteristics and Challenges of Rural Ambulance Agencies – A Brief Review and Policy Considerations

Rural ambulance agencies, a fundamental component of the rural emergency medical services (EMS) system, are challenged by the following issues:

  • long distances and challenging terrain that prolong emergency response and transport times,
  • insufficient payment by insurers to cover standby and fixed costs,
  • a changing workforce that has historically relied on volunteers but increasingly must include paid personnel,
  • a lack of regional EMS plans to coordinate services, and
  • insufficient State and Federal policy coordination across oversight agencies.

Specific public policies to address rural ambulance agency challenges could include the following:

  • Increase ambulance payment to adequately cover reasonable standby and fixed costs.
  • Consider EMS an essential service, the same as firefighting and law enforcement.
  • Collect rural ambulance agency workforce data to better understand workforce needs.
  • Expand the scope and authority of the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS to address rural ambulance agency payment and workforce challenges.

Download PDF Report

EMS1 & FirstWatch Webinar | Public Sector EMS Grants

Grant me the Money!

Finding, completing, and winning grant funding in the public sector
Thursday, February 25th, 2021 | 10:30am PT
Followed by a 30 minute session on practical tools for FirstWatch customers and interested Public Safety agencies

More than $600 billion in nationwide grants is available to public safety agencies and local government each year—
but it can be difficult to navigate through the grant process. Few agencies have grants experts on staff, or the time to research opportunities and develop grant applications.

February’s “Conversations That Matter” will consult the professionals on where grant sources are, the methodology for completing applications, the key elements and evidence needed to write a successful grant, and the timetable for grant production.

Hosts Mike Taigman and Rob Lawrence will be joined by grants experts from Lexipol, the company behind EMS1, FireRescue1 and Police1. They have been helping public safety find and secure grants for more than 20 years.

In true CTM style, we’re sure our attendees will have tips to contribute as well.

Register Free on Prodigy

Deadline | Michael Bay’s Action-Thriller ‘Ambulance’ Adds Five To Cast

From Deadline on February 4

Grammy nominated recording artist Wale FolarinCedric SandersJackson WhiteColin Woodell and Olivia Stambouliah are joining Michael Bay’s Endeavor Content-Universal action thriller Ambulancewe have learned.

The five join the growing cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza Gonzalez, Garret DillahuntA Martinez, Keir O’Donnell and Moses Ingram.

Tthe pic is based off the original Danish Film Ambulancen and in the spirit of such 1990s action pics as Speed and Bad Boys. Chris Fedak wrote the original script. Bay, Bradley Fischer of New Republic Pictures, James Vanderbilt, Will Sherak and Ian Bryce are producing. Michael Kase and Mark Moran are EPs.

Continue Reading►

Senators Cortez Masto and Cassidy Introduce Bill on Ambulance Treatment in Place

Yesterday, Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D- NV) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) introduced legislation (S. 149) to allow for Medicare reimbursement under certain circumstances of treatment in place by ground ambulance service organizations during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The AAA applauds the efforts of Senators Cortez Masto and Bill Cassidy as well as the Senate Finance Committee and Leadership.

S. 149 would provide the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with the authority to waive the requirement that a patient be transported to a medical facility in order for the ground ambulance service provider or supplier to receive Medicare reimbursement. The waiver would apply to 9-1-1 emergency ambulance services in which the transport did not occur as a result of “community-wide EMS protocols” due to the public health emergency. While the bill would not apply to situations in which a patient declines transport due to COVID-19 exposure concerns as advocated by the AAA, S. 149 is a significant step in the right direction to recognize ground ambulance services not being reimbursed during the pandemic.

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) have spearheaded efforts for the Congress to provide CMS with waiver authority for treatment in place. We will be pushing to include the language of S. 149 in the COVID-19 stimulus package currently being negotiated between the White House and the Congress.

For the official statement of the AAA on the introduction of S. 149, please click here.

S.149 Treatment In Place

The American Ambulance Association Urges Immediate Passage of  S. 149 to Allow CMS to Support Local Ground Ambulance Service Responses to the Public Health Emergency

Treatment in Place Supports Patients and Sustains 9-1-1 EMS Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC, February 2, 2021 – The American Ambulance Association (AAA), our nation’s voice for ground ambulance service organizations commends Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) for the introduction of S. 149 and urges its immediate passage. This legislation would remove a statutory barrier that has stopped ground ambulance service organizations from being reimbursed for health care services they provide consistent with local emergency medical service (EMS) protocols.

“S. 149 will empower ground ambulance service organizations to better meet the emergency medical needs of their communities, which are struggling during the pandemic,” stated AAA President Shawn Baird. “I applaud Senators Cortez Masto and Cassidy for their leadership on introducing this vital piece of legislation, as well as the Senate Finance Committee and Leadership for their support of these efforts.”

Under S. 149, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would have the authority to waive the requirement that a patient must be transported to a medical facility in order for a ground ambulance service organization responding to a 9-1-1 emergency call to be reimbursed by Medicare when there is a community-wide EMS protocol restricting the transport of the patient.  “Ground ambulance service organizations whose paramedics and EMTs are on the frontlines of this pandemic are struggling financially due to the reduction in ambulance transports and higher costs such associated with responding to medical emergencies that cannot be reimbursed because of this transportation requirement,” said Baird. “This bill would greatly help address part of that problem and recognizes the critical role that ground ambulance service organizations are playing in controlling hospital surges and reducing the spread of COVID-19 .”

The legislation would benefit patients by reducing their risk of exposure to the virus, which is often the focus of the local protocols requiring them to remain at home. It would also help hospitals experiencing surges during the pandemic by allowing hospital beds to be reserved for higher acuity patients.

The AAA will help push for swift passage of the bill. President Baird called on the Congress to address the legislation as part of negotiations on a new COVID-19 economic relief package. “The American Ambulance Association fully endorses S. 149 and we ask for all members of Congress to help their ground ambulance service organizations, their patients, and the communities they serve by supporting passage of this bill.”

About the American Ambulance Association

The American Ambulance Association safeguards the future of mobile healthcare through advocacy, thought leadership, and education. AAA advances sustainable EMS policy, empowering our members to serve their communities with high-quality on-demand healthcare. For more than 40 years, we have proudly represented those who care for people first. For more information about the AAA visit our website at www.ambulance.org.

1-800-Flowers Celebrates Pafford Stars of Life

Don’t miss this 1-800-Flowers feature on Pafford EMS Stars of Life Lori and David Richardson! Fun fact: the author is Joanne Camas, mother of former American Ambulance Association staffer Aidan Camas.

Like many married couples, Brandon and Lori Richardson plan to celebrate their relationship and shared passions on Valentine’s Day. They might play board games as they did on their early dates, hang out with their dogs, or enjoy a romantic dinner.

But there’s a chance they’ll instead be stabilizing a broken leg, responding to a heart attack, or transporting a COVID-19 patient to the hospital. The Richardsons, it turns out, love not only each other but also the community they serve as emergency medical technicians.

The couple grew up, met, and put down roots in the small town of Marianna, Arkansas (pop. 4,115), about an hour southwest of Memphis. There, they work together in their ambulance and oversee two bases of EMTs who cover their region of Arkansas.

Continue Reading

When we met 2018 #StarsofLife Lori Richardson and David Richardson of Pafford Medical Services, it was immediately…

Posted by American Ambulance Association on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

CMS | COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

As COVID-19 vaccines begin rolling out across the country CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers and keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 resources from HHS, CDC and CMS.

With information coming from many different sources, CMS has compiled resources and materials to help you share important and relevant information on the COVID- 19 vaccine with the people that you serve. You can find these and more resources on the COVID-19 Partner Resources Page and the HHS COVID Education Campaign page. We look forward to partnering with you to promote vaccine safety and encourage our beneficiaries to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity.

If you are a healthcare provider:

Both the CDC and CMS have useful resources for your practice. Look to CDC for the latest science, vaccine administration information and patient-focused resources.

You can find additional resources on the CDC Resources for Health Care Providers Page.

CMS released aCOVID-19 Provider Toolkit to ensure health care providers have the necessary tools to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The toolkit includes information on:

You can also review the set of COVID-19 FAQs, which has information specific to health care providers who bill Medicare for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine, so there will be no cost to your patients with Medicare.  Medicare will reimburse you for administering the vaccine.
  • State governments are handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state and local officials as more doses of the vaccine become available for additional priority groups.
  • People without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can also get COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.  Providers administering the vaccine to people without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can request reimbursement for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund.
  • Most professional associations have pages devoted to COVID-19 vaccination.  Your association may have advice tailored to your discipline, specialty and/or location.

How can you help educate your patients?

  • You are a trusted source…encourage your patients to get the vaccine when it is available to them.
  • Let them know the vaccine is no cost and will help keep them from getting COVID-19. Learn more about the benefits of the vaccine.
  • Let them know the vaccine is safe and that safety is a top priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Remind them to continue practicing the 3Ws (Wear a Mask, Watch your distance, Wash your hands).

Questions? Please e-mail us: Partnership@cms.hhs.gov

E&C Health Subcommittee Announces Hearing on COVID-19

E&C Health Subcommittee Announces Hearing on COVID-19 Vaccines, Testing, and the Medical Supply Chain

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) announced that the Health Subcommittee will hold a fully remote hearing on Wednesday, February 3, at 11 a.m. (EST) on federal COVID-19 response efforts related to vaccines, testing, and medical supply chain. The hearing is entitled, “Road to Recovery: Ramping Up COVID-19 Vaccines, Testing, and Medical Supply Chain.”

“Congress took bipartisan action last year to combat the coronavirus, but it was a down payment on the substantial aid and assistance necessary to crush the pandemic and rebuild our economy,” Pallone and Eshoo said. “The health and well-being of the American people depend on us coming together to execute a comprehensive federal strategy and expand access to vaccines, tests, and critical medical supplies. Next week, we will hear from public health experts about what led to ongoing supply, distribution, and access concerns, what actions are being taken to successfully address those issues, and what more needs to be done as we chart a unified path out of this public health crisis.”

This hearing will be conducted remotely via Cisco Webex video conferencing. Members of the public may view the hearing via live webcast accessible on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website. Please note the webcast will not be available until the hearing begins.

Information for this hearing, including the Committee Memorandum, witness list, testimony and a live webcast will be posted here as they become available.

US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus

U.S. Department of Labor | January 29, 2021

US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus
New OSHA guidance seeks to mitigate, prevent viral spread in the workplace

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus protection program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

“Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible,” said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”

Implementing a coronavirus protection program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

“OSHA is updating its guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus and improve worker protections so businesses can operate safely and employees can stay safe and working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

OSHA will update today’s guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Biden Administration Executive Orders Related to COVID-19

As the Biden Administration unveils their plans for the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic we will continue to update this post with any documents that may be of interest to our membership and industry.

January 28, 2021 | Week 2

U.S. House and Senate Notification

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Re: HHS Announces Marketplace Special Enrollment Period for COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

 In accordance with the Executive Order issued today by President Biden, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for individuals and families for Marketplace coverage in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This SEP will allow individuals and families in states with Marketplaces served by the HealthCare.gov platform to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage.

Beginning February 15, 2021 and through May 15, 2021, these Marketplaces will operationalize functionality to make this SEP available to all Marketplace-eligible consumers who are submitting a new application or updating an existing application. State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) operating their own platform have the opportunity to take similar action within their states.  Starting February 15, consumers seeking to take advantage of the new SEP can find out if they are eligible by visiting HealthCare.gov. Consumers can find local help at Localhelp.healthcare.gov or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

To view a press release about this announcement, visit:  https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/01/28/hhs-announces-marketplace-special-enrollment-period-for-covid-19-public-health-emergency.html

To view a fact sheet about this announcement, visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-special-enrollment-period-response-covid-19-emergency

Memo from AAA lobbyist, Kathy Lester, on why these executive orders are important to AAA members. 

January 20-27, 2021 | Week 1

 

 

Feb 2 Webinar | Free: Best Practices in EMS Transformation During the Pandemic

Best Practices in EMS Transformation During the Pandemic
Co-Hosted by NASEMSO, NAEMSP, and AIMHI
Tuesday, February 2 | Noon ET
Register Free

Many EMS agencies have dramatically transformed their clinical and operational and approach for care delivery, as well as enhancing their role in the community, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. EMS regulators have had to navigate the regulatory environment to change rules that facilitate the changes necessary for EMS agencies to effectively serve their communities. Implementing transformational change requires strong clinical leadership, responsive operational acumen, and in many cases, changes in the regulatory environment. Successful transformation takes close collaboration with medical direction, operations and regulatory oversight.

Join panelists from the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration, the National Association of EMS Physicians, and the National Association of State EMS Officials as they highlight examples and best practices for navigating the clinical, operational and regulatory maze to facilitate transforming the role of EMS.

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CDC | Essential Workers Vaccine Communication Toolkit

CDC has designed a COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.

Access Toolkit

The toolkit contains a variety of resources including:

  • key messages,
  • an educational slide deck,
  • FAQs,
  • posters/flyers,
  • newsletter content,
  • a plain language vaccine factsheet (available in several different languages),
  • a template letter for employees,
  • social media content, and
  • vaccination sticker templates.

This toolkit will help your organization educate employees about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.
Access Toolkit