Author: AAA Staff

Savvik: Save on Vehicles, Supplies, and More!

Did you know that your service may be overpaying for everything from new ambulances to computers to staplers?
If you are not already purchasing necessities through the American Ambulance Association’s partnership with Savvik Buying Group, you’re missing out on deeply discounted group purchasing savings.

Watch our video below to learn more from Savvik President and AAA Treasurer Aarron Reinert.


[styled_box title=”Get Started With Savvik” footer=”” icon=”” class=”panel-default”]AAA members, start saving now!

Not yet a member of the AAA? Join today and start saving tomorrow.[/styled_box]

ACA Filing Deadline Extension

In Fall 2015, we alerted you to a deadline for a new employer filings under the Affordable Care Act.  On December 28, 2015 the IRS extended the deadline to furnish and file the required forms for all required filers. The new deadlines are:

  • March 31, 2016, to deliver the 2015 Forms 1095-C to affected employees;
  • May 31, 2016, to manually file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS — for employers who’re eligible for paper filing; and
  • June 30, 2016, to electronically file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS.

According to the IRS this is a one-time filing extension and will not be further extended.   This will give employers and payroll companies additional time to prepare for this new requirement.  If you fail to make the required filings by these extended deadlines, you will be subject to penalties.  If you have not yet determined how you will prepare for this deadline, you should be contacting your payroll service or benefits broker for assistance.

As always, the American Ambulance Association can assist you with any ACA questions.

Ambulance Ride-Along Toolkit

AAA ambulance emt member legislation

2017 Kit Coming Soon!

Educating your members of Congress about ambulance industry issues makes them much more likely to support your efforts.  An easy and effective way to educate them is to invite them to participate in a local Ambulance Ride-Along!

Congress is scheduled to adjourn on July 15 for their August congressional recess with members of Congress returning home to their districts and states.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to educate your members of Congress about those issues, in particular Medicare ambulance relief and reform, which are important to your operation.  The most effective way to deliver these key messages is to host your member of Congress or their staff on a tour of your operation and an ambulance ride-along.  If you cannot host a tour and ride-along, we strongly encourage you to arrange local meetings with your members of Congress during August.  The AAA has made the process of arranging a ride-long or scheduling a meeting easy for you with our 2016 Congressional Ride-Along Toolkit.

While the current temporary Medicare ambulance relief increases don’t expire unit December 31, 2017, meet with your members of Congress now to gain their support for making the relief permanent.  Also, there is a potential opportunity this year to make progress on provisions to change our status from “suppliers” to “providers” of health care services and to direct CMS to collect ambulance cost data.  Enactment of these two provisions is necessary to set the stage for future reform of the Medicare fee schedule and reimbursement for services other than a transport.  During the tours or meetings, please therefore request your members of Congress to cosponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Relief Act (S. 377, H.R. 745) and support moving the provider status and cost data provisions of the bill this year.

Everything you need to arrange the ride-along or schedule a meeting is included in the Toolkit. Act now and invite your elected officials to join you on an Ambulance Ride-Along!

Other Important Resources:

2016 AAA Legislative Overview and Priorities

Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief Leave Behind – For Congressional Staffers

Talking Points for Permanent Medicare Relief

Advocacy Handbook

Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief

Ambulance services are an essential piece of our local and national health care and emergency response systems. The majority of ambulance services are small businesses that provide jobs and support to their local communities.  Unfortunately, services throughout the country are facing serious financial crisis due to below-cost Medicare Reimbursement.  In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report which clearly showed that, in the absence of temporary Medicare relief, Medicare reimburses ambulance service providers below cost.

You can support the efforts of the AAA and push for permanent Medicare ambulance relief by contacting your members of Congress.  We urge you to use the AAA’s online writing tool to write your members of Congress in less than 2 minutes.

Ask your members of Congress to Co-sponsor S. 377 and H.R. 745!

Currently, as part of temporary Medicare relief, ambulance services receive a 2% urban, 3% rural or super rural add-on payment for each transport. The 2012 GAO report found that ambulance service providers are reimbursed 1% below cost when temporary Medicare relief is not taken into account.  The GAO report likely underestimates the financial difficulties facing ambulance service providers as the report did not take into account many other factors such as the expiration of a temporary GPCI add-on, productivity adjustments, a new fractional mileage policy, or increased fuel costs.

For these reasons, the American Ambulance Association is working tirelessly to win permanent Medicare relief for ambulance service providers.  Even with the current 33-month extension of ambulance Medicare relief, it is extremely difficult for ambulance services to budget and prepare for the uncertainties of the future.

Permanent Medicare Relief Bill

Early last year, the American Ambulance Association was successful in getting the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act of 2015 (S. 377, H.R. 745) introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  This critical legislation would help the ambulance industry move into the future by doing the following:

– Provides Medicare ambulance relief by permanently incorporating the current temporary 2% urban, 3% rural, and super rural bonus payments into the Medicare ambulance fee schedule rates.

– Requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to submit a report to Congress detailing the features of a reformed payment system for ambulance services under the Medicare program.

– Modifies the process for the transport of dialysis patients by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a process for the prior authorization of coverage for patients.

– Defines all who provide ambulance services as “providers” under Medicare.

– Specifies CMS to work with stakeholders in the development of a data collection system for ambulance providers that defines the various types of ambulance entities as well as the relevant cost and data elements required for submission.

What You Can Do to Help

As is customary, Congress is scheduled to take an extended recess at the beginning of August through Labor Day in September.  That means that most Members of Congress will be spending a large portion of time in their states and districts.  This presents a great opportunity for members of the AAA and all ambulance service providers to meet with their legislators.

The AAA asks that you invite your members of Congress to participate in an Ambulance Ride-Along during the months of July, August and September.  Conducting a ride-along with legislators is one of the most effective ways to showcase all that you do for the community and what your legislator can do for you.  The American Ambulance Association recently released the 2015 version of the Ambulance Ride-Along toolkit to guide you through the process.

Permanent Medicare relief and the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act of 2015 will be critical for ambulance services moving into the future.  We invite you to join our push for permanent Medicare relief.

Active Shooter/Violence Resources for EMS

Updated December 22, 2015

In the sad wake of many recent mass shooting incidents, the AAA wants to ensure you and your team have all of the best information possible about handling these scenarios.

Are there other resources you use with your team to prepare for active shooters? Please share with us in the comments and we will augment this list. Thank you, and stay safe!

Preventing and Surviving Violence

Recovering from Active Shooter Incidents


Special thanks to Scott Moore of EMS Resource Advisors, Steve Delahousey of AMR, Aarron Reinert of Lakes Region EMS, John Peterson of Sunstar Paramedics, and Christopher Eisenhardt of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team for their assistance.

Spotlight: John Peterson

John Peterson
Chief Administrative Officer
Sunstar/Paramedics Plus
Largo, FL

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. I attended college in Chicago where I met my wife, Sarah. She is also a native Minnesotan. In 2003 we made the move to Florida for warmer weather. We enjoy Florida living, including kayaking and spending time at the beach. We are avid NFL football fans and are season ticket holders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, our Minnesota Vikings purple pride still remains. One thing that some people don’t know about me is that besides being a paramedic, I am also a board certified Occupational Therapist.

How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?

My first experience in EMS came when I injured my back playing football in high school. This became my first ambulance ride and was an experience I’ll never forget. After graduating from college I had a friend who was working for a private ambulance service. He told me that the company he worked for was paying for people to go to EMT school and then providing them with full time employment. I jumped at this opportunity and never looked back. I fell in love with EMS and became a paramedic as soon as I could after EMT school. I worked as a paid on-call firefighter/EMT and as a paramedic/firefighter in Illinois before moving to Florida. I have gradually worked my way up through the ranks at Paramedics Plus and now have the opportunity to be the CAO for Sunstar.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is the chance to make a positive change that improves the work life for our employees and provides the highest possible quality of service to our community.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

I think my biggest professional challenge currently is recruitment and retention of paramedics. The EMS industry appears to be seeing a reduction in interest from younger people in the workforce. This is at least in part due to wages and work schedules that struggle to compete with other healthcare industries.

What is your typical day like?

My typical day starts with 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. Once at the office, I try to get through as many emails as I can before the meetings of the day start. I spend a lot of time leading and attending meetings as we work to improve efficiency and provide the highest quality of service possible. The email and phone communications last all day. It’s hard to ignore those smart phones.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

One of the things I appreciate most about the AAA is the opportunity for EMS organizations from around the country to work together on projects that have positive industry-wide impact. It think is important that the AAA promotes a one team, one mission approach that puts aside agency competition for the betterment of the industry as a whole. The annual conference provides excellent educational and networking benefits and the daily digest emails help keep me informed of what is happening in the industry. I am looking forward to furthering my involvement with the AAA.

Palmetto Announces Prior Authorization Workshops

Palmetto GBA asked AAA to share the following announcement with our members.


Repetitive Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transportation Documentation Requirements—North Carolina

Palmetto GBA will hold Repetitive Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transportation Prior Authorization Demonstration face-to-face workshops in North Carolina for ambulance providers providing repetitive scheduled non-emergent transports to familiarize them with The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration currently going on in South Carolina.

These workshops are designed to familiarize providers, whose ambulances are garaged in potential demonstration expansion states, with demonstration requirements including the process of submitting a prior authorization request, billing for repetitive scheduled non-emergent ambulance transports under the repetitive scheduled non-emergent transportation demonstration, as well as common errors identified during the demonstration in South Carolina. Each event will include a question and answer period at the end of the formal presentation.

Background Information

The purpose of the current prior authorization demonstration is to ensure that beneficiaries continue to receive medically necessary care while reducing expenditures and minimizing the risk of improper payments to protect the Medicare Trust Fund by granting provisional affirmation for a service prior to submission of the claim. Prior authorization allows providers and suppliers to address issues with claims prior to rendering services and to avoid the appeal process.

Prior authorization will not create new clinical documentation requirements. Instead, it will require the same information necessary to support Medicare payment, just earlier in the process.

Workshop Topics:

  • Repetitive Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transportation Demonstration Expansion Regulations
  • Documentation Requirements
  • Proper Claim Submission
  • Q & A


  • These workshops will provide insight for new, intermediate or advanced staff; however, we suggest that providers who are new to Medicare or have new staff attend online learning courses for beginners on the Palmetto GBA website. Basic billing and other online educational resources can be found in the Self-Paced Learning section under the Learning and Education link on the left navigation.
  • CMS requires that Medicare contractors track all educational activities, which consists of capturing the provider’s six-digit Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN) and National Provider Identifier (NPI). Please bring this information when attending the workshop.

North Carolina
Ambulance Prior Authorization Workshop: Repetitive Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transports
Audience: Part B Ambulance providers of repetitive scheduled non-emergent ambulance transports
Event Type: In Person Seminar

How to Register

The schedule of workshops and registration information is listed below. To reserve your seat or find out more about the workshops in your area, please make sure you:

  1. Create a profile at the new Event Registration Portal to create an account. Your existing Workshops database profile is not linked to the new portal as the profile creation process is different.
  2. Log in your Event Registration Portal account and you will be able to register yourself or other people for any workshops hosted in the portal before registration closes. Each workshop will have a separate registration link. For the workshops that Palmetto GBA sponsors, Palmetto GBA’s registration page will be displayed. If the state Association is sponsoring the workshop, the link will take you directly to the Association’s registration page.

**As a reminder, providers are encouraged to telephone the Provider Contact Center (PCC) at 855-696-0705 with any claim specific questions they may have as these will not be able to be addressed at the workshop.


MedStar PR Guru’s 5 Best Practices for Media Appearances

If you attended AAA’s 2015 Annual Conference & Tradeshow, there is a good chance you participated in our Becoming Irreplaceable Community and Media Relations Boot Camp. This session, presented by MedStar Mobile Healthcare’s Matt Zavadsky, covered proven strategies to become a partner in your community. Today, Matt put pen to paper over at EMS1 and shared 5 best practices for media appearances by EMS chiefs and field personnel.

Reporters will LOVE you if you incorporate their question into your answer. This allows them to take the sound bite they are looking for without having to dub in their question to make it understandable for the viewer or listener.

Read the full article at EMS1!

2016 EMS Leadership Academy, Including a NEW Executive Level Retreat!

SafeTech Solutions’ Leadership and Supervisor Academies are featuring several courses in 2016 designed to encourage and develop leadership and management among the EMS community. Please join your peers at the following stimulating programs:

EMS Leadership Academy [quote_right]”I had the opportunity to participate in Level I and Level II thus far, and without a doubt this was the best leadership training and education I have ever received in my over 25 years of participating in professional development seminars. I cannot wait to participate in Level III and IV in 2016.”           — Maria Bianchi                             Executive Vice President, AAA [/quote_right]

A dynamic four-level, 60-hour educational program designed for current & future leaders, focusing on developing leadership skills, creating vision, getting people to follow you & managing organizational & cultural change.

EMS Supervisor Academy

An intense, three-level, 60-hour immersive experiential education program to develop frontline EMS supervisors who are key facilitators of high employee engagement & operational success.

Executive-Level Retreat (New for 2016!)

The practice of leadership never stops. Great leaders continue to take time for their growth and development. This two-day retreat is an opportunity to meet with other Leadership Academy graduates from across the country & support your practice of leadership.

View the course schedule and to register!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Spotlight: Patrick Hatch

Patrick Hatch
Life EMS
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Grand Rapids has always been my home. This city has transformed itself in the last 30 years, I love it here! I have a strong passion for music, specifically classic rock era, and I play guitar and perform in a cover band.

How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?

I became a paramedic in 1984 with the intention of becoming certified in criminal justice.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I still like the high priority patients. I like to mentor and practice with particular attention to detail!

What is your biggest professional challenge?

I would like to see a structured tier of paramedics where the medic provider can obtain higher training in areas such as RSI; non-urgent cases such minor suture repair and pain management; and greater responsibility.

What is your typical day like?

It can vary from multiple back to back high acuity patients to relatively easy transports and encounters!

2015 AAA Board of Directors Election Results

The winners of the 2015 AAA Board of Directors election are listed below. Please join us in thanking all candidates for their service to the American Ambulance Association.

Region I


James “Jim” McPartlon
Mohawk Ambulance Service

Alternate Director

Jonathan Washko
Assistant Vice President
North Shore – LIJ Center for EMS


Region II


Josef “Joe” Penner
Executive Director, Mecklenburg EMS


Alternate Director

Larry Wiersch
Chief Executive Officer
Cetronia Ambulance Corps


Region III


Wayne Jurecki
Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
Bell Ambulance, Inc.

Alternate Director

Kimberly Godden
Vice President, Legal and Corporate Compliance
Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service, Inc.


Region IV


Douglas Hooten
Executive Director
Medstar Mobile Healthcare


Alternate Director

Daniel Gillespie
Vice President
Allegiance Ambulance


Region V


Shawn Baird
Co-Owner/Chief Operating Officer
Woodburn Ambulance Service, Inc.

Alternate Director

Chris Archuleta
Superior Ambulance Service, Inc.


Lee Ann Pond, Rob Lawrence

Podcast: Word on the Street Previews AAA 2015

This week, Word on the Street podcaster Rob Lawrence previews the American Ambulance Association Annual Conference & Tradeshow over at EMS World.

Thanks to Rob for the great discussion featuring AAA’s senior vice president of government affairs, Tristan North, Lee Ann Pond, chief administrative officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), and Dan Fellows, RAA fleet manager.

Listen to Podcast

Already registered for #ambucon15? Don’t miss Lee Ann’s session, Staff Retention and Leadership Development, onsite at AAA 2015!

Not yet signed up? It’s not too late to join us at Annual November 1–3 in Las Vegas. Learn more.


AAA 2015: Afterburner CEO, Survivor Contestant to Keynote

AAA is delighted to announce that one of our Annual Conference & Tradeshow keynotes will be James “Murph” Murphy, Founder & CEO of Afterburner. Murph will be joined by Terry “TD” Deitz, contestant on this season’s Survivor!

James “Murph” Murphy

James “Murph” Murphy, the Founder & CEO of Afterburner, Inc., has a unique and powerful mix of leadership skills in both the military and business worlds. Murph joined the U.S. Air Force where he learned to fly the F-15. He logged over 1,200 hours as an instructor pilot in the F-15 and accumulated over 3,200 hours of flight time in other high-performance aircraft.

As the 116th Fighter Wing’s Chief of Training for the Georgia Air National Guard, Murph’s job was to keep 42 combat-trained fighter pilots ready to deploy worldwide within 72 hours. As a flight leader, he flew missions to Central America, Asia, Central Europe and the Middle East.

Prior to his service in the U.S. Air Force, Murph had a successful career in imaging equipment sales, where he helped increase his company’s sales by 500%. Years later, he became Director of Sales for a small paint company. The concepts he developed and utilized in business and the U.S. Air Force would become known as Flawless Execution®. Applying Flawless Execution’s continuous cycle of planning, briefing, executing, and debriefing, he increased his new employer’s sales from $5 million to $52 million per year. Realizing that all companies and organizations could benefit from these same concepts, Murph started Afterburner Incorporated in early 1996.

Through his leadership, Afterburner landed on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 500 List” twice. Murph has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Inc. Magazine, Newsweek, Meetings & Conventions Magazine and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and Bloomberg News. He was also named as one of Atlanta’s top 50 entrepreneurs by Catalyst Magazine. To date, the Afterburner team of elite military professionals has led over 1 million executives, sales professionals, and business people from every industry through Afterburner’s Flawless Execution ModelSM, and its unique, high-energy programs.

Murph and the Afterburner team have shared the podium with notable speakers like Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Marcus Buckingham, Colin Powell, J.W. Marriott Sr. and Terry Bradshaw. Murph serves as a panel member of the League of Extraordinary Minds with business and self-improvement gurus such as Tony Robbins and Stephen Covey. He is the author of the six groundbreaking books, including Flawless Execution (2005), Down Range (2013), and Courage to Execute (2014) through Harper Collins publishing, and has spoken at many of the world’s most notable business schools to include Harvard, Wharton, Cornell, Emory, Duke and Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Terry “TD” Deitz

Fighter pilot, Business Owner, T.V. Host, Airline Captain, Coach, Motivational Speaker, Inventor, Philanthropist and one of our most Dynamic Speakers, Terry “TD” Deitz is an expert at finding the time to constantly pursue Flawless Execution in everything he does.TD has hosted, produced and appeared on television shows on CBS’s, SURVIVOR, the History Channel’s, Modern Marvels, and the Discovery Channel’s, Great Planes, and as one of Afterburners Main Speakers has worked with hundreds of outstanding companies and organizations. As a retired Navy Fighter Pilot, TD brings the right perspective of how a company can leverage Flawless Execution in every facet of their operation and execution. “There is not a more powerful model out there then the Flawless Execution Cycle, it will propel your business at mach speed to the top of your business space, and….keep it there!” His favorite part of the model, the Debrief.

TD, attended United States Naval Academy from ’78-’82, honing his leadership skills on and off the baseball diamond. His Academy experience culminated in a “Sweet Sixteen” baseball appearance and a degree in Meteorology.

Prior to flight school, TD qualified as Officer of the Deck, on the world’s longest Nuclear Aircraft Carrier, ths USS Enterprise (CVN-65), one of the youngest officers ever to do so. In 1984, he accepted orders to Navy Flight School and follow on assignment to fly the F-14 Tomcat, made famous in the movie, TopGun. He spent 3 years of his life deployed on aircraft carriers around the world. “I had the honor of operating with some of the world’s best leaders, mentors, and fighter pilots, who had a large part in defining how I conduct my life and business affairs.”

TD has been a valued member of the Afterburner team since 2007 and is busy working initiatives involving University level education, Debriefs, and the utilization of the Flawless Execution Model in College Athletics. “Good leadership in the boardroom, in planning sessions, and out in the field, requires consistency and good habits. Flawless Execution will equip your organization with the tools and processes needed to be both consistent and forward leaning, and at the top of whatever space you are operating in!”


See Afterburner at AAA Annual Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, November 1–3!

2015 AAA Award Winners Announced

Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference and Tradeshow Awards Reception on Monday, November 2, 2015. Please join us in congratulating the winners.

J. Walter Schaefer Award

Ron Thackery, American Medical Response

The J. Walter Schaefer Award is given to someone who has positively advanced the industry as a whole. Ron exemplifies this through his tireless efforts to improve the safety of employees and patients, including work on compliance, OSHA, vehicle safety, proper use of personal protective equipment, and ambulance standards.

Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award

Jerry Zapolnik, Formerly of Huron Valley Ambulance

The Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of the first Executive Director of the American Ambulance Association. It recognizes a volunteer leader who has made tremendous long-term impact on the association. Over the course of Jerry’s volunteer tenure with the AAA, he has chaired numerous committees including Education and Data. Most recently, he sat on the AAA Board of Directors as a Region III representative.

President’s Award

Russell Honeycutt, Central EMS

This award is given by the President to an individual volunteer leader who has shown commitment to the advancement of the AAA above and beyond the call of duty. Russell’s work on membership recruitment and outreach in 2015 perfectly exemplifies a volunteer leader championing the great work of the association to both current and prospective members.

Distinguished Service Award

J.D. Fuiten, Metro West Ambulance

This is only the second time that the association has given a distinguished service award. J.D. has given innumerable volunteer hours to the AAA. His financial support of AAA programs and events has no equal, and his outreach to his Members of Congress has helped the AAA gain temporary Medicare relief for the industry.

Partner of the Year Award

National Rural Health Association

The National Rural Health Association is receiving the Partner of the Year Award for its ongoing support of both temporary and permanent Medicare Relief for ambulance services, including Senate 377 and House 745.

AMBY Awards

Industry and Stakeholder Education

WinnerMedStar Mobile Healthcare – MIH Book and Education

Public Relations

WinnerSunstar/Paramedics Plus – Stay Alert-Stay Alive

Employee Program

WinnerMuskogee County EMS – COACHES Team
Honorable MentionAMR – LODD Program


WinnerAMR – Tuberculosis Program
Honorable MentionMetro West – Just Culture Program

Community Impact

WinnerLifeNet Inc. – Hannah’s Light
Honorable MentionProEMS – Overdose Sentinel Program

Older adults’ frailty varies by region, racial background

“A large-scale survey of older Americans living at home or in assisted living settings found that 15 percent are frail, a diminished state that makes people more vulnerable to falls, chronic disease and disability, while another 45 percent are considered pre-frail, or at heightened risk of becoming physically diminished… Older people in central southern states more than three times as likely to be frail than those in the western states. The researchers also found significant racial differences, with blacks and Hispanics nearly twice as likely to be frail as whites.”

Read the full Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

LifeWorks: Helping AAA Member Employees Make Life Work Better

Enhance employee health and engagement by making sure your workforce is aware of the LifeWorks Employee Assistance and Wellness Program. The LifeWorks program is centered around helping your employees achieve work-life balance, improving their productivity and well-being.

We all face challenges in life. From finding answers to parenting questions or managing personal finances, to getting help with a relationship or taking care of health issues, LifeWorks offers around the clock fast, free, confidential help.

AAA understands that your people are your most valuable asset. Make sure your employees are aware of this resource for fast, confidential help with family, work, money, health and work-life balance issues. Share AAA’s EAP with your team.

Spotlight: Macara Trusty

Macara Trusty
Clinical Education & QA/QI Manager/Professional Development Manager
MedStar Mobile Healthcare
Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up on a cattle ranch in a small Texas town, called Farmersville, about 50 miles northeast of Dallas. I spent my free time herding cattle and hauling hay. I have been married for 17 years and have two teenage daughters. We spend our family time camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and watching movies.

How did you come to work in EMS?

I came to work in EMS after a car accident in 1989 that almost killed my grandfather and resulted in my having a broken back and many other internal injuries. The small town in which I lived had only one ambulance, staffed by volunteers. There were a total of seven critical patients (including myself) on the scene, and we had to wait up to 30 minutes for the next ambulance to arrive. Having been raised in a family of public servants, I had previously considered becoming a nurse like my grandmother, but quickly changed my plan after the accident.

In 1994, I enrolled in the local EMT program. I had every intention of working in the town to give back for what the town and its people had done for us. However, I also quickly realized that working in such a small town, where everyone knew everyone else, may not be such a good idea. I began working in Dallas instead, then joined MedStar in 1997. I have been involved in EMS for 21 years now. Although I can’t honestly say I’ve loved every minute of it, I can say that this job has taught me so much and made me a better person. I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The best part of my job is helping people accomplish goals they have set for themselves! As a Paramedic, I would say “I love helping patients”. In my current role, I help EMTs and Paramedics become better EMTs and Paramedics. I help civilians accomplish the goal of becoming an EMT or First Responder. I help our leadership team become better leaders. I’m still helping people, but the reach seems greater in this position. It’s NOT “one patient at a time”. I work with an awesome team and it’s heartwarming to see everyone pull together to accomplish a goal, or to help others accomplish their goals.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

My biggest professional challenge is balancing the needs of the entire organization with training and education and encouraging others to explore alternative delivery methods for the education they want to provide, without having a traditional classroom session. Convincing some that it’s okay to embrace technology, provide education and convenience for your employees (and you too!), and show the “millennial employees” that you can understand their communication style can be quite a challenge some times.

What is your typical day like?

What is a typical day? Do those even exist? My typical day starts with the end of the day before. I look to see what classes we have scheduled for the following day, to see if we need to reconfigure classrooms, rearrange table & chairs, etc. When I arrive, I meet briefly with my team to find out what everyone has planned for the day, what challenges we may encounter, what meetings are on the agenda, and to get feedback from other meetings. Every day is different, so some days I will teach, other days are full of meetings with various departments, and some days I spend catching up on emails, building classes, etc.

How has participation in AAA helped your organization?

The education and thought sharing is extremely helpful. The ideas shared by the visionaries involved in AAA help make our profession stronger, both locally and nationally.

Afterburner: The Relentless Pursuit of Flawless Execution

We are so excited to have a representative from Afterburner—a consulting company comprised of elite military professionals turned executive consultants—deliver the keynote address on Monday, November 2nd at the AAA Annual Conference & Tradeshow.

For nearly two decades, the Afterburner team of current and former fighter pilots, Navy SEALs, and other special operators have fueled organizational motivation in thousands of businesses by demonstrating the power of a revolutionary continuous improvement framework called Flawless Execution.

Afterburner believes that “Flawless Execution isn’t about perfection, it’s about the relentless pursuit of flawless outcomes.” They use a simple, scalable methodology to harness the power of complexity. This high-energy presentation is designed with specific application to our industry’s day-to-day challenges and promises to motivate all of us to increase agility and accelerate performance at the individual, team, and organizational levels.

Learn more about how AAA 2015 Annual Conference & Tradeshow can help you take your ambulance service to the next level.

See Dr. Zubin Damania, AKA ZDoggMD, at Annual Conference

The AAA is honored to have Dr. Zubin Damania – Physician, Entrepeneur, Stand Up Comic – Deliver the Opening Keynote at the Annual Conference

Who better to kick off our annual conference than Dr. Zubin Damania? Dr. Damania is the Director of Healthcare Development for Downtown Project Las Vegas, an ambitious urban revitalization movement spearheaded by CEO Tony Hsieh.

In addtion, Dr. Damania writes and performs comedic raps under the pseudonym ZDoggMD.  He’s an internet celebrity known for his music videos, parodies, and comedy sketches that educate patients and providers while mercilessly satirizing our dysfunctional healthcare system.

Through his work with the Downtown Project, Dr. Damania is making the leap from satire to actionable change by developing an innovative model of healthcare delivery that promotes wellness at both the individual and community level.

Before moving to Las Vegas, Dr. Damania was a practicing hospitalist at Stanford University for 10 years where received the Russell Lee Award for Clinical Teaching.

We hope you’ll join us and welcome Dr. Damania at AAA’s signature event which attracts over 700 senior level executives and key influencers from across the country:  November 1-3 at the iconic Casears Palace Hotel in Las Vegas.

Check out Dr. Damania’s TEDMED talk!

Register for the AAA’s 2015 Annual Conference and Tradeshow today!

Tribute to Melissa Hudson, EMT, EMD, EMD-Q

HudsonA long-time member of the EMS community died on Sunday, September 6. Melissa J. Hudson, EMT, EMD, EMD-Q, won widespread respect and well-deserved recognition during her 23 years of service at the Emergency Medical Services Authority in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was 52 years old.

Melissa started her career at EMSA on June 1, 1992. As an EMT, she was a strong patient advocate and was promoted to a preceptor role. Later, Melissa uncovered her life’s calling in the communications center. Melissa had an innate skill to calm callers and manage resources in a high-volume system. Her multitasking skills and ability to keep tracks of trucks in her head were legendary. It is no exaggeration to say that Melissa answered tens of thousands of emergency calls during her career. As a communications supervisor, Melissa set very high standards for herself and her crew, yet she also displayed great patience with and compassion toward her peers. She was a loyal friend, a dependable leader and a true force to be reckoned with.

In 2010, Melissa was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She chose and was able to work full-time, almost to the end of her life, while undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Melissa was named the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technician’s Communications Specialist of the Year in 2011. In 2013, she was commended by the Tulsa City Council for helping rescue a premature infant born in the midst of a violent domestic dispute. Melissa talked the mother through the birth, persuaded an irate man at the scene not to harm the mother or child, and provided CPR instruction to a police officer who arrived at the scene just minutes after the baby’s birth. In 2014, Melissa was nominated by her peers and selected to receive the EMS industry’s most prestigious honor, the American Ambulance Association Star of Life award.

Melissa spent quality time with friends and loved ones during the last five years of her life. On November 4, 2014, Melissa and her longtime love, Pamela Kritikos, were married. The two traveled to Europe, took a cruise with dear friends, and loved spending time with their furry companions, Dexter and Tugger.

Melissa is survived by her wife, Pamela Kritikos, her sisters Cheryl Hudson and Linda Lane, brother Ed Evans, and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Verl and Esther Hudson, and her twin sister, Patricia Hudson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider a donation to a cause that was close to Melissa’s heart: ovarian cancer research, the American Cancer Society or the Tulsa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.