Bigfork, Montana, May 17 – Binder Lift, a supplier of patient handling equipment and training for emergency care providers, recently became PHASE (Patient Handling and Safety Experts) in response to the ongoing workforce shortage in the emergency care industry. “Patient handling causes far more injuries to emergency care providers than any other job function,” said PHASE CEO Rick Binder. “Though we can’t help agencies find new personnel, we can help them retain employees by providing them with the equipment and training necessary to avoid injuries where they happen most.”
Recognizing a problem they could help solve, the company expanded its resources to protect emergency care providers from the most common cause of injury. It added new solutions to its product line and helped produce an accredited training program on patient handling safety that will be available without cost. “Suddenly, we weren’t only helping providers avoid lifting injuries by supplying a single product; we were helping customers safely move patients from the bathtub in the patient’s home all the way to the hospital bed,” Binder said. “Becoming PHASE was a natural progression.”
The company’s first product, Binder Lift, was born in 2012 out of a friendly argument between Binder’s mother and father. Julie Binder, an EMT-I at the time, told Dan Binder there was nothing available to help her and her partner safely lift a large patient from the floor to a standing position. Dan didn’t believe her. “After a long web search to prove her wrong, he found nothing,” Binder said. “So he got to work making his own solution.”
The result was the company’s flagship product. Since then, more than 3,000 emergency care departments have invested in the Binder Lift to keep their personnel safe when lifting patients. The device has also won multiple industry awards, including EMS Innovation of the Year.
Binder believes adding new products and resources to its offerings is the best way the company could serve the emergency care providers it works to protect. “These are remarkable people,” he said. “They work tough hours for modest pay in order to help others. They shouldn’t have to worry about being injured simply by doing their job.”
Continuing its commitment to their health and safety, PHASE is offering free product trials to first responders through its new website, www.phaseintl.com.
The new website also includes a comprehensive resource center where users can watch instructional videos, get product information, and read case studies. The site will also feature free access to an accredited training program created in partnership with other industry stakeholders in the coming months.
“We’ve grown a lot over the last decade since first bringing the Binder Lift to market,” Binder said. “But we’re still the same family-owned and operated business that values our relationships with our customers and industry partners.”
About PHASE (Patient Handling and Safety Experts)
We’re on a mission to empower emergency care providers to have longer and healthier careers by providing the equipment and training necessary to safely move patients of any size with ease. All our products and services are science-backed solutions that help emergency care providers avoid injuries where they happen most. PHASE is a family-owned business that brings our family values to the workplace. When you do business with us, you’re more than a customer. You’re family. So, let’s connect. We look forward to helping you. To learn more, visit www.phaseintl.com
Earlier today, Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) introduced the Preserving Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act of 2023. The legislation would extend the temporary Medicare ambulance add-on payments for an additional three years.
“We thank Senators Cortez Masto, Collins, Stabenow, and Cassidy for introducing the Preserving Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act and for their strong support for ground ambulance services and the communities and patients we serve,” said AAA President Randy Strozyk. “The disparity between Medicare reimbursement and the costs of providing services has grown significantly through reductions in reimbursement and skyrocketing expenses for labor, ambulances, and equipment. This bill would help reduce that gap and maintain access to vital ground ambulance services for communities around the country.”
The Senate version of the bill would go even further by increasing the add-on payment levels for urban from 2% to 3.4% urban, for rural from 3% to 4.3% rural and for super rural from 22.6% 26.2%. The last extension of the add-on payments was scheduled to end on December 31, 2022, but our champions on Capitol Hill were able to secure a two-year extension through December 31, 2024. The additional three-year extension is critical to keep the add-on payments in place through ambulance data collection and provide time to Congress to then use the data to reform the Medicare ambulance fee schedule.
Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced the House version (H.R. 1666) of the bill on March 17. The House bill would be a three-year extension of the add-on payments at their present levels.
This progress is the result of tireless advocacy on the part of AAA volunteer leaders, staff, and consultants made possible by the sustained support of our members. It is critical that AAA members reach out to both their Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the respective versions of the Preserving Access to Ground Ambulance Services Act of 2023. It is vital that we generate a groundswell of support in the Congress for extending the add-on payments and will need that support to then also advocate for the higher add-on percentages when Congress negotiates on Medicare payment extensions.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2023
Contact: Holly Taylor, Chief Hat Holder
Phone: 888-364-9995 ext 320
EMS Week is about celebrating our practitioners and the unparalleled care they bring to our communities. In honor of the upcoming EMS Week celebration, Ninth Brain and PHASE (formerly known as Binder Lift) are teaming up! These two EMS centric companies, with a combined 30 years of experience, wish to inspire EMS Leaders to share their story.
This year’s theme, “EMS: Where Emergency Care Begins”, brings a sense of nostalgia with it. Why did your EMS career begin? Hearing stories of the ‘why’ behind the journey and reminiscing those first days in EMS is both important and inspirational. Mentors sharing their passion for what they do and providing impactful words of wisdom to future EMS leaders, is how we keep Emergency Care thriving. “We know sharing their story may not fix the problems they face, but it may provide a brief reprieve and to remember the ‘why’ when faced with the everyday pressures that weigh heavily on their responsible shoulders.” said Holly Taylor, Chief Hat Holder at Ninth Brain. “And for opening up and sharing, we want to give them an opportunity to help their EMS Agency win equipment that has a proven track record of safety.”
For participating in sharing their story, Ninth Brain and PHASE, will be giving away a total of 100 Binder Lifts to chosen participants’ Agencies. “One of the biggest challenges EMS leaders face is the nationwide shortage of emergency care workers. Though we can’t help agencies find new personnel, we can help them retain employees by keeping existing care providers happy and injury free.” stated by Rick Binder, Chief Executive Officer at PHASE. Take a few minutes to motivate others with your ‘why’, what you love about EMS, and advice for future leaders, for the opportunity to win Binder Lifts for your Agency! Visit https://www.ninthbrain.com/ems-week-2023/ to get started as the opportunity will close on May 31st at 5pm ET!
About Ninth Brain: Launched in 2001, Ninth Brain is a Michigan based software solution that provides a centralized solution to help EMS organizations with maintaining their daily operations, such as tracking required credentials, providing a robust learning management system, creating forms/checklists, managing workforce scheduling, and much more! With one login, you can easily manage your company’s needs with the Ninth Brain software, AND enjoy superb client support including training, webinars, and (gasp) real people! To learn more, visit www.ninthbrain.com
About PHASE: We’re on a mission to empower emergency care providers to have longer and healthier careers by providing the equipment and training necessary to safely move patients of any size with ease. All our products and services are science-backed solutions that help emergency care providers avoid injuries where they happen most. PHASE is a family-owned business that brings our family values to the workplace. When you do business with us, you’re more than a customer. You’re family. So, let’s connect. We look forward to helping you. To learn more, visit www.phaseintl.com
This appointment demonstrates its commitment to serving those in emergency services with the wellness resources they need, when they need them, free of charge
Denver, Colorado, USA – All Clear Foundation (ACF), a national 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to improving the wellbeing and longevity of Emergency Responders, including Healthcare Workers, and their families, has appointed Mike Taigman Chairman of the Board.
“My life’s purpose–for my entire life–has been to recognize suffering in all its forms and do something about it. All Clear Foundation’s mission is in complete alignment with that passion,” says Taigman. “I am humbled and excited by this opportunity.”
Taigman brings a wealth of experience to this role. He spent decades on the streets of Denver as a paramedic, honing his “people first” approach. The author of more than 600 articles in professional journals, Taigman is a recognized expert in the areas of quality improvement, data science, leadership, and EMS. He serves as adjunct faculty at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and UCSF, and he is the Improvement Guide at FirstWatch, a data analytics firm dedicated to quality improvement in public safety.
“We are thrilled to have Mike on board,” says Rhonda Kelly, the foundation’s Executive Director. “His passion for improving quality of life among Emergency Responders is sincere and his track record is unparalleled. We appreciate his focus on the full spectrum of wellness supports from proactive education to crisis intervention. And we are very excited about his commitment to utilizing evidence-based practices to drive improvement.”
ACF relies upon the power of strategic partnerships to affect change and appreciates Taigman’s extensive experience building and growing partnerships in the Responder wellness world. In addition to facilitating development of EMS Agenda 2050, a vision EMS 20 years into the future, he is the author of Super-Charge Your Stress Management in the Age of COVID and is regular faculty at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Among his top priorities, Taigman looks forward to ensuring the sustainability of All Clear’s mission. “My hope is to support the ongoing mission and build sustainable support and funding for the foundation so we can continue this important work,” says Taigman. “There’s so much evidence that being involved in emergency services and healthcare takes a toll on the folks doing the job.”
“All Clear Foundation has pulled together an ecosystem of resources that is unmatched and provides them free of charge to Emergency Responders, their agencies, and their families. Securing reliable support for these efforts is essential and ongoing.”
The need is there. One study found Emergency Responders suffer from depression and PTSD at five times the rate of the general population. Among the many challenges inherent in the work are frequent trauma exposure, rotating shift schedules, limited agency support, amplified stress on the family and other relationships, and physical injury.
“Too many Emergency Responders have paid for their service with their lives, either in quality or longevity,” says Director Kelly. “The barriers of shame, stigma, lack of local resources, and lack of finances have kept many from accessing the supports they deserve and need. This is where All Clear Foundation steps in. Built by Responders, for Responders, we are here to help across the domains of wellness: mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual.”
All Clear Foundation provides an array of easily accessible and navigable wellness solutions at no cost to agencies or participants. ResponderStrong, its mental health initiative, has had a significant impact nationally and continues to grow with hybrid-format educational content and digital tools. Partners organizations include Global Medical Response, FirstNet-Built with AT&T, Abbott Nutrition, The Center for Relationship Education, IndyCar, IPSDI, Sigma Tactical Wellness, and NERPSC.
“The work All Clear and its partner organizations provide is saving lives,” says Taigman. “But, beyond that, it’s making Emergency Responders happier, healthier, and more resilient. This is good news for all of us.”
Since 1998, FirstWatch has been helping EMS agencies monitor real-time situational awareness, operational performance, clinical quality and performance improvement measures, as well as health surveillance, bioterrorism or other potentially concerning incidents. FirstWatch is designed to aggregate data from your agency’s CAD, ePCR, ProQA, RMS, Hospital ED, Billing and Phone system into a single, automated real-time view. For more information, visit www.firstwatch.net.
ABOUT ALL CLEAR FOUNDATION
Through assessing community wellness needs, priorities, and barriers, All Clear Foundation, a 501c3 public charity, leverages the power of strategic partnerships to create easily accessible and navigable systems of wellness solutions, improving the wellbeing and longevity of those who serve our communities. In 2019, ACF was founded by Global Medical Response as an autonomous public charity designed to serve and benefit the national Emergency Responder community. As one of the largest employers of Public Safety personnel in the U.S., GMR believes it has a duty to support the overall wellness of all Responders nationally. All Clear Foundation’s mission is to improve the overall wellbeing and longevity of those who serve our communities in times of need. We believe that healthy emergency responders contribute to healthier communities. For more information, visit www.allclearfoundation.org.
For more information, please contact Crawford Coates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is to end on May 11, 2023. The ending of the Public Health Emergency may impact an individual’s coverage of COVID-19 tests. We encourage you to know these changes and share the New Consumer Fact Sheet on COVID-19 tests.
Consumer Fact Sheets:
Before May 11, 2023
If you have any type of health insurance, you can get up to eight over-the-counter tests per month with no out-of-pocket costs. Over-the-counter tests are available in most pharmacies and may also be available online for delivery.
After May 11, 2023
Laboratory tests for COVID-19 that are ordered by your provider will still be covered with no out-of-pocket costs for people with Medicare. Over-the-counter tests will still be available, but there may be out-of-pocket costs. Coverage of over-the-counter tests may vary by your insurance type, as described below.
What does this mean for Medicare Beneficiaries?
Generally, Medicare doesn’t cover or pay for over-the counter products. The demonstration that has allowed us to offer coverage for COVID-19 over-the-counter tests at no cost ends on May 11, 2023.
However, if you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, you will continue to have coverage with no out-of-pocket costs for appropriate laboratory-based COVID-19 PCR and antigen tests, when a provider orders them (such as drive-through PCR and antigen testing or testing in a provider’s office).
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have more access to tests depending on your benefits. Check with your plan.
What does this mean for people with Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program?
If you have coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, you will have access to COVID-19 over-the-counter and laboratory testing through September 30, 2024. After that date, coverage of testing may vary by state.
What does this mean for people with Private Insurance?
If you have private insurance, coverage will vary depending on your health plan. However, private plans won’t be required by federal law to cover over-the counter and laboratory-based COVID-19 tests after
May 11, 2023. If your insurance chooses to cover COVID-19 testing, they may require cost sharing, prior authorization, or other forms of medical management.
On April 25, 2023, the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) posted a notice in the Federal Register that it would be updating its publicly available resources, including its compliance program guidance documents. The OIG’s Compliance Program Guidances (CPGs) were developed as voluntary, non-binding guidance documents that can assist healthcare providers in developing their own internal controls to ensure adherence to federal laws, regulations, and program requirements.
Specifically, the OIG announced that it will no longer publish updated or new CPGs in the Federal Register. Instead, updates or new CPGs will now be made available on the OIG’s website. The OIG will also revise the format for CGS. The new format will consist of: (1) a General CPG (GCPG) that applies to all healthcare providers and (2) industry-specific CPGs (ICPGs) tailored to the fraud and abuse areas specific to that industry. The OIG indicated that it anticipates issuing the GCPG by the end of calendar year 2023, with ICPGs being issued starting in calendar year 2024. The OIG further indicated that it anticipates the first two ICPGs will address Medicare Advantage plans and nursing facilities.
Note: the OIG is not updating its 2003 guidance on compliance programs for ambulance suppliers. The OIG frequently cites this document in enforcement actions it takes against ambulance providers and suppliers. Thus, this guidance document remains relevant to this day. For that reason, A.A.A. members are strongly encouraged to review this document to ensure that their existing compliance program incorporates the elements cited by the OIG.
Previous Compliance Program Guidance for Ambulance Suppliers
In March 2003, the OIG issued its “Compliance Program Guidance for Ambulance Suppliers.” This document sets forth the basic elements that it believes should be included in any effective compliance program, and then discusses various fraud and abuse and compliance risks associated with the provision of ambulance services under the Medicare Program.
The 7 basic elements identified by the OIG are:
The CPG then goes into greater detail on each of these elements, including specific recommendations on how to properly implement each of these elements. For instance, the OIG suggests that the organization’s compliance office be a high-level individual who reports directly to the organization’s CEO or Board of Directors.
With respect to the specific fraud and abuse risks associated with ambulance, the OIG highlighted the issue of medical necessity. The OIG also cited level of service issues (i.e., billing ALS vs. BLS), non-emergency transports, and coordination of benefit issues as particular areas of concern.