CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum scheduled for Thursday, August 18

CMS Open Door Forum
The next CMS Ambulance Open Door Forum scheduled for:

Date:  Thursday, August 18, 2022

Start Time:  2:00pm-3:00pm PM Eastern Time (ET);

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

Conference Leaders: Jill Darling, Maria Durham

**This Agenda is Subject to Change**

  1. Opening Remarks

Chair- Maria Durham, Director, Division of Data Analysis and Market Based Pricing

Moderator – Jill Darling (Office of Communications)

  1. Announcements & Updates
  1. Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System: Proposed Changes in the CY 2023 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Proposed Rule

Slide presentation is available at: https://www.cms.gov/Center/Provider-Type/Ambulances-Services-Center, under Spotlights, Upcoming Events

2. CY 2023 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical  Center (ASC) Payment System Proposed Rule: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/07/26/2022-15372/medicare-program-hospital-outpatient-prospective-payment-and-ambulatory-surgical-center-payment

Proposals Regarding Rural Emergency Hospitals Ambulance Services

III. Open Q&A

**DATE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE**

Next Ambulance Open Door Forum: TBA

ODF email: AMBULANCEODF@cms.hhs.gov

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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: 5109694

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- 866-469-7806; Conference Passcode: No Passcode needed

Instant Replay is an audio recording of this call that can be accessed by dialing 1-866-469-7806 and entering the Conference Passcode beginning 1 hours after the call has ended. The recording is available until August 20, 2022, 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. The audio and transcript will be 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.

International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine (IRCP)

The International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine (IRCP) has returned and will be from September 15th – 17th in Orlando, FL.

The event will be a series of discussions, meetings and research focused on designing systems that will ensure patients’ needs continue to be met in environments and circumstances where health services are less available and the provision of care is increasingly challenging.

Book by August 18th for early bird pricing on the event and a discounted group rate on hotel rooms where the event is held.
For additional information and to register, please visit ircp.info.

Senate Appropriators Address AAA’s Request for Workforce Assistance

Message from AAA President Shawn Baird

The paramedic and EMT shortage has become a top policy priority of the AAA as we pursue several short and long-term initiatives to address this unprecedented crisis. Over the last several months, the AAA has been working closely with Members of the Senate Appropriations Problem Committee and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to secure a grant program that would assist ground ambulance service organizations in hiring and retaining paramedics and EMTs. I am extremely pleased to report that the Fiscal Year 2023 Senate HHS appropriations package includes the program language for which the AAA has been advocating.

The language in the Senate Report reads:

EMS Preparedness and Response Workforce Shortage Program.— The Committee recognizes that our Nation is facing a crippling EMS workforce shortage which threatens public health and jeopardizes our ability to respond to healthcare emergencies on a timely basis. ASPR should prioritize ensuring a well-trained and adequate ground ambulance services workforce in underserved, rural, and Tribal areas and/or addressing health disparities related to accessing prehospital ground ambulance healthcare services, including critical care transport.

In the House, the AAA’s efforts contributed to House appropriators increasing the ASPR account funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) (more than $30 million). We anticipate that ASPR would focus its efforts to address the ground ambulance workforce shortage through the HPP, so this increase in funding is also a critical component of the AAA’s efforts.

Although the appropriations process has many more steps to go through before final passage, having the EMS workforce shortage highlighted in the Senate report is a critical step toward achieving our goal to provide ground ambulance services across the country with the help they need during this unprecedent time.

The AAA will continue to work closely with Congressional champions and the ASPR team as they shepherd this language through the next steps in the process. I would like to thank Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ranking Members Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) for championing and supporting the effort.

AAA President
Shawn Baird

 

New EEOC Guidance on COVID-19 Testing

EEOC Issued New Guidance on Employer Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Policies

On July 12, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance, What
You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws, which
impacted several long-standing COVID-19-related policies. The most significant policy change in the
latest guidance was related to employer mandatory COVID-19 testing. The updated guidance is not likely
to significantly impact EMS employer testing practices for field personnel, but could for those who work
in administrative or non-patient facing roles.

In the latest guidance, the EEOC changed its previous position that employers could generally require
COVID-19 testing for most employees. The EEOC had previously taken the position that it believed that
COVID-19 viral testing was per se, job-related and consistent with business necessity, regardless of the
employer type. Under the latest guidance, the EEOC is now stating that employers will need to more
closely analyze whether viral testing is job-related and consistent with business necessities. In doing so,
employers should utilize any of these factors:

 The Center for Disease Control (CDC) level of community transmission.
 The vaccination status of employees.
 The degree of breakthrough infections are possible for vaccinated workers.
 The transmissibility of current variants.
 The possible severity of illness from a current variant.

In most instances, EMS employers who require COVID-19 viral testing for field employees for ongoing,
symptomatic, or return to work reasons, are likely to meet the job related and consistent with business
necessity requirement. However, for those employees who are in non-patient-facing roles, it will be far
more difficult to justify mandatory COVID-19 testing and employers should reconsider their position on
mandatory testing.

The guidance also included updates to clarify the timeline factors to consider when handling reasonable
accommodation exceptions for vaccinations and how there could be a reasonable pandemic-related
delay. However, they acknowledged that this is likely less impactful at this point in the pandemic.
Additionally, the guidance highlighted that employers are not under an obligation to engage an
employee who has a serious health condition if the employee has not requested an accommodation
from vaccination.

Many EMS employers are currently required to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees who may
enter or interact with the patients or staff of a covered healthcare facility unless they have a covered
religious or disability-related exemption. After nearly two years of the pandemic and the availability of
COVID-19 vaccinations, those employees who wish to be vaccinated would have done so by now. Those
who remain unvaccinated are doing so by choice.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the updated guidance or any COVID-19 related
workplace practice, be sure to contact the American Ambulance Association for assistance at
hello@ambulance.org.

Webinar 7/21 | How 988, Crisis Response, and EMS Can Improve Community Care

EMS Focus
WEBINAR

Working Together: How 988, Crisis Response, and EMS Can Improve Community Care

Hosted by NHTSA’s Office of EMS on July 21, 2022, at 3 pm ET / 12 pm PT


Hosted by NHTSA’s Office of EMS in collaboration with the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this webinar will discuss opportunities for collaboration between the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988), crisis response, and EMS communities. Launched in July, 988 will be a new three-digit number for the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This system, in collaboration with 911 centers and first responders, is designed to support nationwide improvements in behavioral and mental health emergency responses.

EMS clinicians will hear from their peers engaging with 988 and crisis response teams about challenges and successes, and how to navigate interoperability between 911, 988, EMS, and other response agencies. Hear from both urban and rural agencies about how their collaboration with crisis response partners has made a meaningful difference in their communities.

Tune in for lessons learned in addressing barriers between these critical players in emergency response and providing improved resources in behavioral health incidents.

Register Now

Panelists Include:

NHTSA Office of EMS: Kate Elkins

International Association of EMS Chiefs: Daniel Gerard

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Richard McKeon

National EMS Management Association: Sean Caffrey

Gunnison Regional 911 Authority: Jodie Chinn

Gunnison Valley Health: Kimberly Behounek

Attendees will be encouraged to submit questions during any point of the discussion. The webinar and Q&A will last approximately one hour. Sign up to get email updates about this webinar series, new projects and more.


About EMS Focus

EMS Focus provides a venue to discuss crucial initiatives, issues and challenges for EMS stakeholders and leaders nationwide. Be sure to visit ems.gov for information about upcoming webinars and to view past recordings.

We are committed to providing equal access to this webinar for all participants. Persons with disabilities in need of an accommodation should contact nhtsa.ems@dot.gov to request an accommodation no later than Tuesday, July 19.

Sign up to receive the latest news from the Office of EMS, including webinars, newsletters and industry updates.

Contact Us

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
nhtsa.ems@dot.gov

EMSC | Pediatric emergency/disaster preparedness career development programs

The application deadline for three career development opportunities in the pediatric emergency and disaster preparedness space – the Emergency Medical Services for Children Scholars and Fellows Programs and the Pediatric Pandemic Network Scholars Program – has been extended to July 29 at 5 pm ET. The programs aim to develop leaders with a passion for improving care for children in everyday emergencies and disasters. The programs are open to participants across multiple disciplines and settings. Learn more.

AJ+ | No Hospitals, No Ambulances: Inside America’s 911 Crisis


Emergency Medical Services (EMS) like ambulances and hospitals are in crisis in rural America. EMS is not considered an essential service in the same way that fire and police departments are, and so they don’t receive the same funding. Paramedics and EMTs often make half the salary that nurses do.

Join us as we travel to the Mississippi River Delta to see how EMS crews are coping with a collapsing health care system.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) like ambulances and hospitals are in crisis in rural America. EMS is not considered an essential service in the same way that fire and police departments are, and so they don’t receive the same funding. Paramedics and EMTs often make half the salary that nurses do. Join us as we travel to the Mississippi River Delta to see how EMS crews are coping with a collapsing health care system.

YT Chapters

  • 00:00 – Pregnant And Dying, With No Hospital
  • 03:22 – Paramedics Are Delivering Babies In Ambulances
  • 06:04 – Why Is EMS Not Considered An Essential Service?
  • 07:57 – Why EMS Workers Are Wearing Bulletproof Vests
  • 10:05 – Why Hospitals Are Closing In Rural America
  • 12:07 – What Needs To Change In Mississippi?