Author: AAA Staff

Ambulance Decontamination White Paper

Published by Demers-Braun-Crestline
866-636-0415 (US)
866-667-0856 (CA)
514-971-4509 (Intl)

COVID-19 is the present-day challenge facing our first responders, but infectious diseases have always posed a threat to EMS personnel and their patients. Developed with insights and internal testing from engineering resources at Demers-Braun-Crestline, the white paper aims to identify verified solutions to reducing the spread of infectious diseases inside an ambulance. Highlighted are five key areas of focus; each is discussed in-depth to help identify why it is important and what proven options are available to implement inside an ambulance.

The white paper includes a detailed overview of each of these, helping to educate readers on ambulance options and features that assist in limiting the spread of viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. From plexiglass dividers to HEPA filters, chemical fogging systems to self-disinfecting surfaces, and everything in-between, this white paper outlines a variety of solutions that every emergency response organization should consider for protecting patients and personnel from infectious diseases.

Download the White Paper online for free

 

10/22 CMS Ambulance ODF Updated Agenda

From CMS on October 20, 2020

Open Door Forum Dial-In

October 22, 2020 at 1:00–2:30pm ET
Dial: 1-888-455-1397
Conference Passcode: 9375124

The next CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum scheduled for:

Date:  Thursday October 22, 2020

Start Time:  1:00pm-2:30pm PM Eastern Time (ET);

Please dial-in at least 15 minutes before call start time.

Conference Leaders: Jill Darling, Susanne Seagrave

**This Agenda is Subject to Change**

1. Opening Remarks

  • Acting Chair- Susanne Seagrave, Acting Director, Division of Data Analysis and Market-Based Pricing (Center for Medicare)
  • Moderator – Jill Darling (Office of Communications)

2. Announcements & Updates

  • Repetitive, Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transport (RSNAT) Prior Authorization Model Update

– https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-expand-successful-ambulance-program-integrity-payment-model-nationwide

  • ET3 Overview and Update

– ET3Model@cms.hhs.gov for inquiries

– ET3 Model Listserv for Model updates:            https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCMS/subscriber/new?topic_id=USCMS_12521

– COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee For Service (FFS) Billing document is available at: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/03092020-covid-19-faqs-508.pdf.  Ambulance services FAQs begins on page 41.

-CMS is using its statutory authority under section 1135(b)(5) of the Act to modify the data collection and reporting period for ground ambulance organizations that were selected to report in year 1 of the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System. This modification has been issued on page 30 in the following document: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/summary-covid-19-emergency-declaration-waivers.pdf

3. Open Q&A

**DATE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE**

Next Ambulance Open Door Forum: TBA

ODF email: AMBULANCEODF@cms.hhs.gov

———————————————————————

This Open Door Forum is open to everyone, but if you are a member of the Press, you may listen in but please refrain from asking questions during the Q & A portion of the call. If you have inquiries, please contact CMS at Press@cms.hhs.gov. Thank you.

 

Open Door Participation Instructions:

This call will be Conference Call Only.

To participate by phone:

Dial: 1-888-455-1397 & Reference Conference Passcode: 9375124

Persons participating by phone do not need to RSVP. TTY Communications Relay Services are available for the Hearing Impaired.  For TTY services dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-855-2880. A Relay Communications Assistant will help.

Instant Replay: 1-866-448-2572; Conference Passcode: No Passcode needed

Instant Replay is an audio recording of this call that can be accessed by dialing 1-866-448-2572 and entering the Conference Passcode beginning 1 hours after the call has ended. The recording is available until October 24, 11:59PM ET.

For ODF schedule updates and E-Mailing List registration, visit our website at http://www.cms.gov/OpenDoorForums/.

Were you unable to attend the recent Ambulance ODF call? We encourage you to visit our CMS Podcasts and Transcript webpage where you can listen and view the most recent Ambulance ODF call. Please allow up to three weeks to get both the audio and transcript posted to: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts.html.

CMS provides free auxiliary aids and services including information in accessible formats. Click here for more information. This will point partners to our CMS.gov version of the “Accessibility & Nondiscrimination notice” page. Thank you.

KFF 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey

From the Kaiser Family Foundation on October 8

This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. The 2020 survey included 1,765 interviews with non-federal public and private firms.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,588 toward the cost of their coverage. The average deductible among covered workers in a plan with a general annual deductible is $1,644 for single coverage. Fifty-five percent of small firms and 99% of large firms offer health benefits to at least some of their workers, with an overall offer rate of 56%.

Survey results are released in several formats, including a full report with downloadable tables on a variety of topics, a summary of findings, and an article published in the journal Health Affairs.

Legislative Update: EMS Counts Act

While negotiations for a fourth Stimulus package to address the impacts of the coronavirus remain at an impasse, the AAA continues to monitor Congressional activity for other legislation which impacts ambulance service providers and suppliers:

H.R. 8592 – EMS Counts Act of 2020

Introduced on October 13, 2020, by Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA-07) H.R. 8592 requires the Secretary of Labor to revise the Standard Occupational Classification System to accurately count the number of emergency medical services practitioners in the United States.

The Standard Occupational Classification system is a statistical standard used by federal agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 867 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition.

H.R. 8592 has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor for consideration.

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.

If you have any questions about the AAA’s advocacy efforts, please do not hesitate to contact us at Info@Ambulance.org.

CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum Oct 22

From CMS on October 16

Open Door Participation Instructions:

October 22, 1:00–2:30 on ET

This call will be Conference Call Only.

To participate by phone:

Dial: 1-888-455-1397 & Reference Conference Passcode: 9375124

Persons participating by phone do not need to RSVP. TTY Communications Relay Services are available for the Hearing Impaired.  For TTY services dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-855-2880. A Relay Communications Assistant will help.

Instant Replay: 1-866-448-2572; Conference Passcode: No Passcode needed

Instant Replay is an audio recording of this call that can be accessed by dialing 1-866-448-2572 and entering the Conference Passcode beginning 1 hours after the call has ended. The recording is available until October 24, 11:59PM ET.

The next CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum is scheduled for:

Date:  Thursday October 22, 2020

Start Time:  1:00pm-2:30pm PM Eastern Time (ET);

Please dial-in at least 15 minutes before call start time.

Conference Leaders: Jill Darling, Susanne Seagrave

**This Agenda is Subject to Change**

1. Opening Remarks

  • Acting Chair- Susanne Seagrave, Acting Director, Division of Data Analysis and Market-Based Pricing (Center for Medicare)
  • Moderator – Jill Darling (Office of Communications)

2. Announcements & Updates

3. Open Q&A

**DATE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE**

Next Ambulance Open Door Forum: TBA

ODF email: AMBULANCEODF@cms.hhs.gov

———————————————————————

This Open Door Forum is open to everyone, but if you are a member of the Press, you may listen in but please refrain from asking questions during the Q & A portion of the call. If you have inquiries, please contact CMS at Press@cms.hhs.gov. Thank you.

 

For ODF schedule updates and E-Mailing List registration, visit our website at http://www.cms.gov/OpenDoorForums/.

Were you unable to attend the recent Ambulance ODF call? We encourage you to visit our CMS Podcasts and Transcript webpage where you can listen and view the most recent Ambulance ODF call. Please allow up to three weeks to get both the audio and transcript posted to: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts.html.

CMS provides free auxiliary aids and services including information in accessible formats. Click here for more information. This will point partners to our CMS.gov version of the “Accessibility & Nondiscrimination notice” page. Thank you.

 

NHTSA Office of EMS Annual Update

From the NHTSA Office of EMS

Find out more about what’s been accomplished in 2020 and how you can get involved in national efforts to improve EMS

This year has been like no other for each of you, and the same is true at the NHTSA Office of EMS. Since COVID-19 first hit the United States, we’ve been busy working with our partners at the federal, state and local levels to support EMS clinicians serving on the front lines of our healthcare system.

At the same time, our other important work to advance EMS systems nationwide has continued, from updating the National EMS Education Standards to developing evidence-based guidelines, and so much more. Many of you have continued to contribute to these efforts by serving on expert panels, attending virtual meetings and providing critical feedback. Thank you for these efforts to achieve the vision put forth in EMS Agenda 2050 even as you confront one of the most challenging years we have faced, professionally and personally.

Click here to read our annual summary of what has been accomplished in the last year and what projects are ongoing. You’ll also find links so you can learn more and find ways to participate.

REMSA’s Tiered System Featured on Aging & Awesome

Recently, Reno’s REMSA launched a tiered response model. The news segment from Aging and Awesome featured below offers a clear explanation about how using a variety of healthcare provider levels for an out-of-hospital medical response is an effective and safe way to help patients access the healthcare they need – which can range from an urgent ambulance transport to the emergency room or access to a telehealth provider.

October 16 is World Restart a Heart Day

From the Citizen CPR Foundation

The Citizen CPR Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Committee have combined talents and resources to produce a video featuring sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survivors under 40 years of age. The video highlights the fact that sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at any age, at any time – and that it should not be confused with a heart attack.

“There are too many people outside of our field who don’t understand the difference between a heart attack and a sudden cardiac arrest. Sadly, this also means they probably don’t know how to respond when it happens right in front of them – often to someone they know or love dearly,” says Stu Berger, MD, Foundation President and Division Head, Cardiology, at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“One of the first issues the 40 Under 40 committee decided to work on after being formed in 2020 is sudden cardiac arrest awareness. This video was created to educate the public on cardiac arrest and inspire them to act if/when the time comes. I was 26 years old when I suffered my cardiac arrest. I was saved by my wife and a fellow police officer who both did incredible CPR until Fire/EMS could arrive and successfully resuscitate me. I am alive today earning my second chance at life because my wife and the responding officer did not hesitate to act” says Officer Brandon Griffith, 40 under 40 committee member, SCA survivor, and project lead on the video production.

Griffith continues, “We feature actual out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest survivors under the age of 40 to not only tackle stigmas of SCA but to highlight that it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. With cardiac arrest, every second counts. Knowing how to recognize SCA and properly react can significantly increase survival outcomes.”

The video stresses and plays out the chain of survival steps necessary to save the life of someone suffering SCA: call 911, start compressions hard and fast in the center of the chest, use an AED if available, and don’t stop until first responders arrive and take over medical care. In other words, “Don’t wait, ACT!” as the video highlights.

View the video here:  https://citizencpr.org/actnow/

The launch coincides with World Restart a Heart day, a worldwide call to action on October 16th that is issued by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation.

The Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Program is supported in part by its Partner Council, a collaboration of committed, mission-aligned businesses and non-profits. It includes the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, with support from industry including AED Superstore, Laerdal Medical, MD Solutions International, Nasco Healthcare, Prestan Products, Save Station, WorldPoint and ZOLL.

About Citizen CPR Foundation 

Founded in 1987, the mission of Citizen CPR Foundation is to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest by stimulating effective community, professional and citizen action. Every two years, the foundation holds its international Cardiac Arrest Survival Summit, formerly the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update (ECCU), which features the latest information and trends in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They will host their first ever Virtual Summit December 8 & 9, 2020. Register here: https://www.wregistration.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=579171& Contact Jennifer Crocker at 816-916-6843 or jcrocker@wellingtonexperience.com for more information.

 

Savvik: New Programs and Deals

Savvik has awarded several new contracts recently that can assist AAA members in purchasing the supplies they need for operations. With hundreds of core vendors, Savvik Buying Group serves over 12,000 agencies in the United States and has outstanding contracts with reputable vendors. Savvik is dedicated to improving the general well-being of the public safety industry as a whole while providing Savvik members with quality products and services at the industry’s best prices. Several of these vendors are Covid-related and have products in stock, ready to ship.

New products include: 

  Prevent Active-Defense Cleaner

  • PREVNT™ cleans and prepares the surface for the application of our EPA registered disinfectant FRESCH™
  • Designed to continually clean for up to 90 days through photocatalysis.
  • Long-lasting, active cleaning without published negative repercussions of Quaternary Ammonium products.
  • Titanium dioxide (TiO₂) nanotechnology is an active naturally occurring oxide and is the key ingredient in PREVNT™. It has a wide range of applications, including as a paint pigment, sunscreen ingredient, and food additive.
  • Water-based formula, transparent and designed for a wide variety of everyday surfaces.

 

Savvik Deals:

The Savvik Perks merchant network offers organizations a powerful way to make an impact with their customers and members. It combines the power of over 900 world-class brands with the relevance of local merchants from every community in America.

Savvik’s collection of over 700,000 in-store locations offers unparalleled value of 10-50% in savings at the places consumers shop every day, in categories like:

  • Dining & Food
  • Apparel
  • Electronics
  • Hotel & Travel
  • Car Rental
  • Movie Tickets
  • Theme Parks
  • Sporting Events
  • Auto Care
  • And more…

View Savvik Deals

Registration Code: SavvikPerks

 

 

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in EMS

From JEMS on October 9, 2020

Recognizing and Supporting EMS Providers with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

By Meredith M. O’Neal, MA; Simone Joannou, MA; and James Langabeer, PhD, EMT

About 30 percent of first responders develop mental health disorders, including depression, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as compared with 20 percent in the general population.3 Another common occupational risk factor includes acute and chronic exposure to both primary and secondary trauma, the latter referring to the phenomenon of emotional and moral attachment to the experience of the individuals they rescue.

These overwhelming demands from first responders can lead to compassion fatigue, a depleted capacity for empathy that results in various behavioral issues including depression and anxiety. Burnout is a similar phenomenon of exhaustion resulting from occupational strain such as overwork and lack of support from leadership. These conditions have been found to directly contribute to the more than doubled suicide rates among medics than other professionals.

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EMS Sleep Health Study—Agencies Wanted

From the National Association of State EMS Officials

OMB Control Number: 2127-0742
ICR Reference Number: 201811-2127-003
Expiration Date: 08/31/2022

Who?

Daniel Patterson, PhD, NRP from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine is leading a research study that seeks to examine the impact of a sleep health and fatigue education and training program tailored to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) clinicians. This research study has financial support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO). The University of Pittsburgh has partnered with the NASEMSO as a sub-contractor for purposes of conducting this research study.

What?

This research study is an experiment that will test the impact of a new sleep health and fatigue training education program. The program is designed to improve the individual EMS clinician’s sleep health and reduce work-related fatigue through education and training. The program will be administered entirely online (via the internet) and will be accessible to EMS clinicians located at the EMS agencies that agree to participate in this research study.

When?

The study team will begin recruiting EMS agencies to participate in this study in late January 2020. Each agency will be asked to participate for a total of 24 weeks. Participation is voluntary.

How?

Researchers will ask EMS agency administrators to help recruit individual EMS clinicians at their agency to participate in this research study. Participation will be completely voluntary and confidential. The study team will mostly use data collection tools available via the Internet. Some data collection will involve mobile phone text messages. The research study’s website will be secure and require a unique login (username and password) from each individual EMS clinician. Some EMS clinicians may be asked to wear a wrist actigraph to measure sleep and complete a reaction time test at the start and end of a few scheduled work shifts during the study period.

Who is Eligible?

The study team is seeking participation from EMS agencies located in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). Criteria for eligibility include: [1] The EMS agency provides EMS services (including 911 response and transport). [2] The EMS agency provides ground-based EMS services 24-hours a day. Agencies limited to air-medical services only are not eligible. [3] The EMS agency employs between 50 and 300 EMS paid full-time and part-time clinicians/personnel. Agencies that use an all-volunteer staffing model are not eligible. [4] Agencies restrict their EMS clinicians to use their personal mobile phones/smartphones during shifts are not eligible. [5] Operations that provide both fire suppression and EMS 911 response and transport are eligible and encouraged to participate.

Remuneration

Those who qualify for the study and choose to participate will receive remuneration worth approximately $35 U.S. dollars. All individual participants will receive remuneration in the form of a gift card totaling approximately $35 in value. A $5 gift card will be distributed at the beginning, when the individual enrolls, every month the individual is involved in the study, and at the end of the study (month 6). All gift cards will be distributed via U.S. Mail directly to individual participants.

Interested?

If you are the administrator/manager of an EMS agency that is eligible to participate, and wish to participate or wish to know more about this study, please contact the study principal investigator (Daniel Patterson, PhD, NRP) at: pdp3@pitt.edu or 412-864-3830.

FEMA Grants for Public & Non-Profit EMS Providers

From EMS.gov on October 9, 2020

American Ambulance Association members are advised that these grants are regrettably open ONLY to public and non-profit non-hospital-based EMS providers.

FEMA Accepts New Applications for COVID-19 Assistance to Firefighters Grant

FEMA is providing an additional chance for volunteer and combination fire departments to apply for funding under this year’s Assistance to Firefighters COVID-19 Supplemental grant.

FEMA made $100 million available in funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies. This includes reimbursement for expenditures made since Jan. 1, 2020.

Volunteer and combination fire departments are eligible to apply in this round even if they had a successful application in the first round earlier this year. Departments that applied in the first round but were unsuccessful must reapply to be considered for funding in this round. Applications from the first round will not automatically carry over to this round for consideration.

FEMA will host live webinars on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 15, demonstrating the application process and walking through the questions. Access the full training schedule and information on how to login to the webinars here.

FEMA will accept applications until 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 13. More information on eligibility requirements and how to apply is available on the FEMA website.

Learn More

CMS Announces New AAP Repayment Terms

CMS Announces New Repayment Terms for Medicare Loans made to Providers during COVID-19

New recoupment terms allow providers and suppliers one additional year to start loan payments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program as required by recent action by President Trump and Congress.  This Medicare loan program allows CMS to make advance payments to providers and are typically used in emergency situations.  Under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act repayment will now begin one year from the issuance date of each provider or supplier’s accelerated or advance payment.  CMS issued $106 billion in payments to providers and suppliers in order to alleviate the financial burden healthcare providers faced while experiencing cash flow issues in the early stages of combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (PHE).

“In the throes of an unprecedented pandemic, providers and suppliers on the frontlines needed a lifeline to help keep them afloat,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  “CMS’ advanced payments were loans given to providers and suppliers to avoid having to close their doors and potentially causing a disruption in service for seniors.  While we are seeing patients return to hospitals and doctors providing care we are not yet back to normal,” she added.

CMS expanded the AAP Program on March 28, 2020 and gave these loans to healthcare providers and suppliers in order to combat the financial burden of the pandemic.  CMS successfully paid more than 22,000 Part A providers, totaling more than $98 billion in accelerated payments.  This included payments to Part A providers for Part B items and services they furnished.  In addition, more than 28,000 Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) suppliers, received advance payments totaling more than $8.5 billion.

Providers were required to make payments starting in August of this year, but with this action, repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued.  After that first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25 percent of Medicare payments otherwise owed to the provider or supplier for eleven months.  At the end of the eleven-month period, recoupment will increase to 50 percent for another six months.  If the provider or supplier is unable to repay the total amount of the AAP during this time-period (a total of 29 months), CMS will issue letters requiring repayment of any outstanding balance, subject to an interest rate of four percent.

The letter also provides guidance on how to request an Extended Repayment Schedule (ERS) for providers and suppliers who are experiencing financial hardships.  An ERS is a debt installment payment plan that allows a provider or supplier to pay debts over the course of three years, or, up to five years in the case of extreme hardship.  Providers and suppliers are encouraged to contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for information on how to request an ERS.  To allow even more flexibility in paying back the loans, the $175 billion issued in Provider Relief funds can be used towards repayment of these Medicare loans.  CMS will be communicating with each provider and supplier in the coming weeks as to the repayment terms and amounts owed as applicable for any accelerated or advance payment issued.

Free MossAdams Webinar | Health Care Accounting & Auditing

Health Care Accounting and Auditing: Fall 2020 Update from MossAdams

October 13, 2020 1:00 PM ET

Join us for a webcast covering the most critical developments in auditing and accounting standards that impact health care organizations, including the following:

  • Accounting implications of the ongoing pandemic and economic environment
  • Emerging reporting and audit requirements for provider relief funds
  • New and updated generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) standards for private, not-for-profit, and government health care entities

Register Free

EMS.gov | Public Comment for EMS Controlled Substances Rule

From EMS.gov

Public Comment Period for Proposed Rule on EMS and Controlled Substances

As part of the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017, which was passed 3 years ago, the DEA was required to establish regulations associated with the use of controlled substances by EMS agencies. The DEA has now published in the Federal Register proposed rules to implement the law. Comments on the proposed rules can be submitted electronically or by mail on or before December 4, 2020. Individuals, agencies and organizations may submit comments.

Learn More

Rural Healthcare Grants from HRSA FORH

From the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has released the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach) (HRSA-21-027).  HRSA plans to award 60 grants to rural communities as part of this funding opportunity.

Review the Funding Opportunity

The Outreach Program administered by HRSA’s FORHP focuses on expanding the delivery of health care services to include new and enhanced services exclusively in rural communities. Applicants are required to deliver health care services through a consortium of at least three health care provider organizations, use an evidence-based or promising practice model to inform their approach, and demonstrate health outcomes and sustainability by the end of the four-year performance period.

In addition to funding Outreach programs through the regular Outreach track, in FY 21, FORHP will also afford applicants a unique opportunity to take part in a national effort that targets rural health disparities through a second track called the “Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative.” This initiative was created through the HHS Rural Task Force and driven by findings from a report published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that noted that the number of preventable death from the five leading cause of death in rural areas was higher than those in urban areas. Unfortunately, these findings echo earlier CDC research on the rural disparities in avoidable or excess death in 2017.

The Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative (HRHI) is an effort that seeks to address the underlying factors that are driving growing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of avoidable death (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury/substance use, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke). The goal of the HRHI track is to demonstrate the collective impact of projects that better manage conditions, address risk factors and focus on prevention that relate to the leading causes of death in rural communities. This track should be a good fit for applicants who want to identify and bridge the gap between the social determinants of health and other systemic issues that contribute to achieving health equity with regards to excess death in rural communities. Furthermore, this is a rural-specific and community-based approach to addressing these disparities and represents a new and more targeted strategy given the enduring health gaps between rural and urban populations.

Of the successful 60 award recipients, HRSA aims to award approximately 45 to regular Outreach track applicants and at least 15 to HRHI applicants for a ceiling amount of up to $200,000 (Regular Outreach) or $250,000 (HRHI) total cost (includes both direct and indirect, facilities and administrative costs) per year (and final numbers will be subject to how applicants score). 

The HRHI is part of an ongoing multi-year effort by FORHP to highlight how rural community health efforts can improve health at the local level. We are encouraging rural health stakeholders to join us in this broader effort while also taking on the challenge of addressing these long-standing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of death.    

NOTE: The eligibility criteria for this program has changed and now includes all domestic public and private, nonprofit and for-profit entities with demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations. Urban-based organizations applying as the lead applicant should ensure there is a high degree of rural control in the project. The applicant organization must represent a network that includes at least three or more health care provider organizations and, at least 66% (or two-thirds) of consortium members must be located in a HRSA-designated rural area.

Please review the guidance in its entirety for more information about eligibility criteria and specific program requirements. Visit www.grants.gov to review the Outreach NOFO and apply. Learn about the Outreach Program.

A webinar for applicants is scheduled on Tuesday October 13, from 3-4:30 p.m., EST. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend.

For more information about this funding opportunity, contact the Program Coordinator, Alexa Ofori, at RuralOutreachProgram@hrsa.gov.

CMS Updates Medicare COVID-19 Snapshot

From CMS on October 2, 2020

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 1 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and over 284,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Other key findings:

  • The rate of COVID-19 cases among Medicare beneficiaries grew 30% since the August release to 1,562 cases per 100,000 beneficiaries.
  • Similarly, the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries grew 32% since the August release to 444 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries.
  • The rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations grew the most among rural beneficiaries, Hispanic beneficiaries, and Medicare-only beneficiaries (those who are not dually eligible for Medicaid).
  • Medicare Fee-for-Service (Original Medicare) spending associated with COVID-19 hospitalizations grew to $4.4 billion or just under $25,000 per hospitalization.
  • Data on discharge status and length of stay for COVID-19 hospitalizations remained similar to previously reported figures in the August release. 31% of beneficiaries went home at the end of their hospital stay and 22% died. Nearly half of the hospitalizations lasted 7 days or less while 5% lasted more than 31 days.

The updated data on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries covers the period from January 1 to August 15, 2020. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by September 11, 2020.

HHS Funding Portal Open for Tranche 3

The online portal for ambulance service providers and suppliers to submit applications for additional funding under the HHS Provider Relief Fund is now open.

Access Portal Now

Apply Soon for Funds!

While providers and suppliers have until November 6 to apply for funding, we strongly recommend that AAA members submit applications as soon as you are prepared as funding is on a first-come, first-served basis. HHS allocated a total of $20 billion for this round of funding.

Attend Today’s AAA Funding Webinar

The AAA will be hosting a webinar today, Monday, October 5, at 11:00 am (eastern), on how to apply for the funds and what information you will need in applying.

Register for the Webinar

Thank You AAA Members!

As reported by the AAA on October 1, the additional funds are a direct result of the efforts of the AAA and our members and we thank all of you who reached out to the White House or your members of Congress advocating for the funds.

 

 

 

JEMS | How Empress EMS (NY) Responded to COVID-19 in the Pandemic’s Epicenter

From JEMS on October 2, 2020 | By Hanan Cohen

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created extraordinary new challenges for the emergency medical services (EMS) industry. Frequently shifting state and federal guidance and emerging information about the novel virus has required EMS agencies to be even more nimble in delivering care.

This is true for Empress EMS, a PatientCare EMS Solutions company, which serves New Rochelle, New York – the first epicenter of America’s COVID-19 pandemic. Empress first began monitoring for COVID-19 on February 15, 2020, as it recognized the New York City area’s high risk for the virus.

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