Congressman Peter Roskam Receives AAA Legislative Honor

Congressman Peter Roskam Receives
2017 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amanda Riordan
ariordan@ambulance.org
703-610-0264

Washington, DC – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) will honor Congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois with a Legislative Recognition Award in appreciation of his advocacy for emergency medical services.

Congressman Roskam will be presented the honor in June in Washington, DC by AAA’s Illinois Stars of Life—EMS personnel selected for their excellence and dedication. This year’s Stars from the Prairie State are Eric Eizenga, Kyle Wolber, and Ellen Fleming of Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service as well as Jeff Odenthal of Abbott EMS/American Medical Response.

Congressman Roskam was selected for his support of the Medicare ambulance temporary add-on increases and the super rural bonus payment.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Congressman Roskam has been a trusted advocate for health care and emergency medical services, both in Illinois and across our country.”

Congressman Roskam has represented Illinois’s 6th congressional district since 2007. He is the current Chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, as well as a member of the Subcommittee on Health.

In appreciation of his ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United States, AAA is proud to honor Congressman Roskam with a Legislative Recognition Award.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Stars of Life

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life honors the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as the 2017 Stars of Life. Meet the stars at www.stars.ambulance.org.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

Senator Chuck Schumer Receives AAA Legislative Honor

Senator Chuck Schumer Receives
2017 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amanda Riordan
ariordan@ambulance.org
703-610-0264

Washington, DC– The American Ambulance Association (AAA) will honor Senator Chuck Schumer of New York with a Legislative Recognition Award in appreciation of his advocacy for emergency medical services.

Senator Schumer will be presented this award in June in Washington, DC by AAA’s New York Stars of Life—EMS personnel selected for their excellence and dedication. This year’s Stars from the Empire State are William Bailey, Danielle Cohen, Benjamin Cohen and Robert Mazzo of Northwell Health EMS, and Jason Billington of Mohawk Ambulance.

Senator Schumer was selected for the Legislative Recognition Award for championing the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act, which would make permanent the current temporary Medicare ambulance add-on increases and the super rural bonus payment. The legislation, S. 377 from the 114th Congress, would treat ambulance services more like providers of health care services. It would also require CMS to ambulance collect cost data utilizing a survey methodology that would likely result in usable information and not present an unnecessary burden on rural ambulance services.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Senator Schumer has been a trusted advocate for health care and emergency medical services, both in New York and across our country. The AAA is proud to present him with the Legislative Recognition Award.” Senator Schumer was also honored last year as the 2016 AAA Legislator of the Year.

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998, Senator Schumer is the Senate minority leader, and serves as Vice Chairman on the Joint Committee on the Library, International Narcotics Control Caucus, Select Committee on Intelligence, and Committee on Rules.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Stars of Life

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life honors the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as the 2017 Stars of Life. Meet the stars at www.stars.ambulance.org.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

Congressman Pat Tiberi Receives AAA Legislative Honor

Congressman Pat Tiberi Receives
2017 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amanda Riordan
ariordan@ambulance.org
703-610-0264

Washington, DC– The American Ambulance Association (AAA) will honor Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio with a Legislative Recognition Award in appreciation of his advocacy for emergency medical services.

Congressman Tiberi will be presented this honor in June in Washington, DC by AAA’s Ohio Stars of Life—EMS personnel selected for their excellence and dedication. This year’s Stars from the Buckeye State are John E. Smith, and Kenneth R. Olp of Community Care Ambulance.

Congressman Tiberi was selected for his leadership on health care issues and for his help in ensuring the extension of the Medicare temporary ambulance add-on payments. He is also recognized for his support of a methodology to collect ambulance cost data which would provide usable information for future reform of the Medicare ambulance fee schedule.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Congressman Tiberi has been a trusted advocate for health care and emergency medical services, both in Ohio and across our country.”

Congressman Tiberi has represented Ohio’s 12th congressional district since 2001. He is the current Chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, as well as a member of the Subcommittee on Tax Policy.

In appreciation of his ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United States, AAA is proud to honor Congressman Tiberi with a Legislative Recognition Award.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Stars of Life

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life honors the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as the 2017 Stars of Life. Meet the stars at www.stars.ambulance.org.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

Senator Ron Wyden Receives AAA Legislative Honor

Senator Ron Wyden Receives
2017 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amanda Riordan
ariordan@ambulance.org
703-610-0264

Washington, DC – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) will honor Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon with a Legislative Recognition Award in appreciation of his advocacy for emergency medical services.

Senator Wyden will be presented this award in June in Washington, DC by AAA’s Oregon Stars of Life—EMS personnel selected for their excellence and dedication. This year’s Stars from the Beaver State are Harlan Brock, Theresa Helstowski, and Melissa Zimmer of Metro West Ambulance, Sheryl Maia of American Medical Response, Padrick O’Grady and James Wilcott of Bay Cities Ambulance, Bob Johnson of Medix Ambulance, and Aaron Pawol of Mercy Flights.

Senator Wyden was selected for the Legislative Recognition Award for his leadership on health care issues and support of the Medicare temporary ambulance add-on payments, and a system for collecting ambulance cost data utilizing a methodology that would likely result in usable information.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Senator Wyden is a trusted advocate for health care and emergency medical services, both in Oregon and across our country. The AAA is proud to present him with a Legislative Recognition Award.”

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, Senator Wyden is the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee. He also serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Budget Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence, and Joint Committee on Taxation.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Stars of Life

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life honors the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as the 2017 Stars of Life. Meet the stars at www.stars.ambulance.org.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

Senator Stabenow Receives AAA Legislative Honor

Senator Debbie Stabenow Receives
2017 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amanda Riordan
ariordan@ambulance.org
703-610-0264

Washington, DC – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) will honor Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan with a Legislative Recognition Award in appreciation of her advocacy for emergency medical services.

Senator Stabenow will be presented the award in June in Washington, DC by AAA’s Michigan Stars of Life—EMS personnel selected for their excellence and dedication. This year’s Stars from the Great Lakes State are Tracy Allen of American Medical Response, Bridget Dickert of LifeCare Ambulance Service, Donald Brown III of Jackson Community Ambulance/Emergent Health Partners, John Eilich III of Life EMS Ambulance, and Theresa Hartman of American Medical Response.

Senator Stabenow was selected for the Legislative Recognition Award in thanks for her long-standing support of the Medicare ambulance temporary add-on increases and the super rural bonus payment, as well as co-sponsorship of Medicare ambulance relief and reform legislation.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Senator Stabenow has been a trusted advocate for health care and emergency medical services, both in Michigan and across our country. The AAA is proud to present her with the Legislative Recognition Award.”

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, Senator Stabenow is the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Stars of Life

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life honors the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as the 2017 Stars of Life. Meet the stars at www.stars.ambulance.org.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

Senator Roberts Receives Legislative Recognition Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact
Amanda Riordan
703-610-9018
ariordan@ambulance.org

KEMSA, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), AAA Treasurer Shawn Baird
KEMSA, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), AAA Treasurer Shawn Baird

Washington, D.C.– The American Ambulance Association (AAA) has selected Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas as recipient of an AAA Legislative Recognition Award in honor of his strong advocacy for emergency medical services. Senator Roberts received his award during EMS on the Hill Day events on April 25.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “We would like to thank Senator Roberts for his commitment to sustainable reimbursement for ambulance services in Kansas and across our nation.”

Senator Roberts was recognized for championing the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act, which would make permanent the current temporary Medicare ambulance add-on increases and the super rural bonus payment. The legislation would also treat ambulance services more like providers of health care services, and require CMS to collect cost data utilizing a methodology that would likely result in usable information and not be an unnecessary burden on rural ambulance services.

Senator Roberts was presented the award by Brandon Beck, President of the Kansas EMS Association (KEMSA), and other KEMSA representatives as well as Shawn Baird of Woodburn Ambulance (OR) AAA Treasurer and Vice Chair of the AAA Government Affairs Committee.

In appreciation of his ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United States, AAA is proud to honor Senator Roberts with a Legislative Recognition Award.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

2017 AAA Legislative Awards

Senator Susan Collins Named Legislator of the Year

For Immediate Release

Senator Collins To Receive Highest Legislative Honor from American Ambulance Association

To Be Recognized as AAA Legislator of the Year

Contact
Amanda Riordan
703-610-9018
ariordan@ambulance.org
www.ambulance.org

Washington, D.C. – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) has named Senator Susan Collins of Maine as the AAA Legislator of the Year, in recognition of her strong advocacy for emergency medical services. Senator Collins is invited to receive this honor at the AAA’s annual Stars of Life recognition ceremony on June 13 in Washington, D.C.

The Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. Stars of Life pays tribute to the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year, 101 EMS professionals will be honored as 2017 Stars of Life. In addition to Senator Collins’s recognition as as Legislator of the Year, twenty-four United States Senators and Representatives will receive Legislative Recognition Awards for their support of ambulance services.

AAA President Mark Postma notes, “Senator Collins has been a tireless advocate for emergency medical services, both in Maine and across our country. The AAA is honored to present her with the distinction of AAA Legislator of the Year.”

Senator Collins is a primary sponsor of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act which would make permanent the current temporary Medicare ambulance relief. This bill ensures that ambulance service providers across the nation have the resources necessary to provide often life-saving emergency- as well as vital non-emergency medical transportation.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs from 2003 to 2007, Senator Collins ensured both governmental and nongovernmental medical service providers were included in the definition of an emergency responder in the Homeland Security Act. This enabled ambulance service providers as first responders access to critical funding and resources.

First elected to the senate in 1996, Senator Collins has earned a national reputation for working across party lines to seek consensus on our nation’s most important issues. Senator Collins has carried out her longstanding commitment to healthcare issues through her work on the Special Committee on Aging as well as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

In recognition of her ongoing service to the ambulance services of the United States, AAA is proud to call Senator Collins our Legislator of the Year.

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About the American Ambulance Association

Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views prehospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Mission Statement

The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

2016 AMBY Innovation in EMS: Tri-State Ambulance, Patient Transport Project

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

Tri-State Ambulance Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Innovation in EMS

amby-congrats-tri-state-ambulanceAmbulance services which provide 911 coverage frequently have patients who request service but ultimately fail to accept transportation to a hospital for further care. Depending on the service area, non-transports can be 30% or more of all requests for service. These ambulance responses can range from falls or diabetic issues, to motor vehicle crashes and anything in between. It is known that transporting a patient to an emergency department is not always the most appropriate choice for their medical care. Often, a visit or a conversation with their primary care or specialty provider may be a better option.

Due to HIPAA regulations and continuity of care rules, the patient response information, when they are not transported, does not proceed further than a typical quality assurance or billing department review. This ultimately leaves the patient’s primary care provider or other specialty care provider completely unaware that their patient was cared for by another medical professional in an urgent setting. Upon investigation we found that the general public was unaware that their information from the contact with an ambulance service was not being sent to their current providers. In an electronic world, the general assumption by most patients was that all medical situations would be collected in one comprehensive medical record and not separated by service providers. This situation was noticed by a new billing manager who was often the last person to look at a patient’s medical record. It was quickly realized that other health care professionals should be aware of patients who are cared for by an ambulance crew and not transported.

Although there have been tremendous strides made in the Community Paramedic (CP) or Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) programs, the industry is still far from global reimbursement and universal standards. The hope for this project was to establish essential communication that was missing between a patient’s medical provider and the documented ambulance visit. Through this communication, providers may proactively set an appointment with the patient which could help prevent an emergency room visit or ultimate admission and therefore reduce the potential patients that would be subject to a CP or MIH program. As with most aspects of healthcare, it is proven that early intervention has the best long term results and often at a significant cost savings to the system and patient. The best systems would utilize a multifaceted approach that uses early intervention and post care follow up.

The goal of the project was to make available the patient care report from an encounter with an ambulance crew, when not transported, to their permanent medical record of their primary and/or specialty care provider. Secondly, it was intended for a provider to deliver proper follow up care and ultimately improve patient outcomes or experiences. It was thought that patients who receive the proper follow up care are less likely to call for an ambulance again for the same issue, thus reducing repetitive patients. It was also considered that improved follow-up would reduce the potential for the patient to develop more serious medical situations in the future.

<h5>Planning and Implementation</h5>

  • All stakeholders were identified and made aware of the current plight
  • Legal and compliance departments were consulted on all legalities with release of a patient medical records to a third party
  • Analyzed current electronic patient care reporting (ePCR) system for viability
  • Ensured process required minimal resources and would be cost effective
  • Created electronic release of information to third party form that met all legal requirements
  • Educated and trained employees on proper utilization of form • Built paperless IT structure to support secure sharing of information
  • Created procedure for hospital follow-up of patients • Monitored and adjusted processes to ensure goals were being met

The project was first implemented in Q4 of 2013 with some major changes since inception. The basic practice of sending patient medical records to the medical provider of the patient’s choice was implemented and worked smoothly from the start. The process involves an ambulance crew obtaining two signatures from a patient when transport was refused. The first signature is the acknowledgement of the refusal of transport and the second is the voluntary request to disclose their medical record to the provider of their choice. The release of information disclosure is strictly voluntary and complies with HIPAA regulations. After implementation, it was noticed that the process didn’t seem to have a quantifiable way to track improvement in patient results or outcomes. On January 1st of 2015, the new process was executed with two local health systems that routes the patient record directly to a quality assurance nurse for review. Both of these local health systems incorporate large medical clinics which provide medical services to the vast majority of the local population. The nurse would then contact the patient to see how they are doing since the encounter with the ambulance crew and to schedule appointments with their providers if needed. The nurse was also able to see if the patient had come in to urgent care or the emergency department after they refused transport or to see if they have any pending appointments. Dependent on the nurse findings from the telephone call, they had the ability to contact a patient to change an appointment to an earlier date or to see if there are any other services that they can refer to the patient.

The initial impact has proven to be very successful. The first positive impact was with our paramedics and EMTs and their response to the new process. Sending the ePCR to the patient’s medical provider allowed the employees to know that the patient was going to get further care or follow up that they needed. This has enabled the field EMS provider to still feel a sense of completion and satisfaction because they are providing the catalyst for further care. Also, when these patients receive a follow up call or physician visit they are less likely to become a high utilizer, as shown by preliminary data. Reducing unnecessary calls for repetitive patients has also improved employee morale. Further research is being conducted to evaluate the percentage of improvement from the reduction of repetitive patients.

Another positive impact was discovered when patients would ultimately go by other means to an urgent care or emergency department and in turn notify the emergency provider that they were evaluated by EMS. At the request of the emergency department provider, we are then able to send them the patient response information from our interaction. This information provides assessments and other key factors that the attending provider may need to offer effective care. This can all happen in real time because the patient has already provided written authorization for the release of their medical record to the provider.

An unexpected result that has also created a positive impact is the utilization of the hospital’s immense resources. When a patient has authorized us to send their medical records to their healthcare provider it creates a bond that allows us to share information for the benefit of the patient. This makes it possible for us to reach out to social workers or other healthcare resources such as patient advocates to help patients with things that we are not equipped or staffed to handle. A person will utilize the 911 system for an unmet need, even if not medical in nature. We now have an expanded use of resources to meet the needs of patients in our community.

Improvements have been made to our quality assurance program for patients who requested service but refused transportation. With the addition of the follow-up calls by nurses, we were able to track and review patient outcomes when they refused transportation. Being able to ascertain a patient’s final diagnosis by another medical professional versus what was determined in the field has given us valuable information to use for training and education. Before the use of this new method the quality assurance process could only make a determination based on the narrative written by the crew. Now, we are able to have a full circle review of the care and outcome of the patient. As health care continues to evolve with trends towards CP and MIH and possible changes to Medicare reimbursement, reviews like this are becoming ever more important. Additional research is being proposed by a local hospital to do a retrospective analysis to determine the impact of the process on patient outcomes. The study is focused on patients who called 911 related to a fall and are over the age of 55. The purpose of the study is to determine if interventions performed by their provider reduced the likelihood of future falls or injuries related to falls. This is being done in conjunction with data from the hospital and any interactions a patient has had with the ambulance service.

Congratulations to Tri-State Ambulance for their selection as a 2016 AMBY Winner.

 

2016 AMBY Best Employee Program: EmergyCare, EMS Academy

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

EmergyCare’s EMS Academy Awarded the 2016 AMBY for Best Employee Programamby-congrats-emergycare

EmergyCare | Erie, PA

In order to combat the nationwide EMS recruitment and retention crisis, EmergyCare has developed its very own EMS Academy. Recent changes to regulations have increased the amount of hours required for EMT and paramedic training, making it more expensive thus, causing more candidates to balk at completing training.  EmergyCare realized that in order to continue to grow and thrive as an organization, that it had to get out in front of the hiring crisis.

Until recently, EmergyCare and other educational institutions held EMT and Paramedic training courses on a regular basis, keeping the pool of potential clinical employees at a reasonable level. In 2010 Pennsylvania’s Department of Health Bureau of EMS decided to no longer provide testing for Paramedics due to the high cost of keeping updated tests. Instead, the Bureau decided to make National Registry testing the only viable option. In order to provide this level of testing, all paramedic programs had to be licensed and approved by the NREMT, something that required programs to be affiliated with a college or university. These requirements elongated the paramedic program due to college level prerequisite courses, and substantially increased costs, discouraging applicants.

EmergyCare’s new EMS Academy pays employees and new hires a salary while they are training so they can support their families, while providing them with an education that turn into a professional career. Before implementing their new EMS Academy, EmergyCare surveyed staff to gauge interest in such a program and the results were overwhelmingly positive.

Prior to implementing their EMS Academy, EmergyCare’s employee turnover was already extremely low – 10% compared to the industry average of 30%. That being said, EmergyCare realized that the shortage of EMTs and paramedics were a serious threat to the service’s long term financial health. EmergyCare experiences about a 2% growth in call volume annually, and in order to keep up with this growth, realized that it needed to take action to address the EMT and Paramedic shortage.

EmergyCare’s goal was to have was to have 70% of new students certified to work as replacement staff for the current EmergyCare EMTs so that they can attend paramedic training. The Academy program would also expect to have 70% of the initial students certified to work at EmergyCare as full-time paramedics. In addition to hiring and training new employees, EmergyCare’s EMS Academy is allowing current employees to seek additional education. The previous year’s Academy Paramedics help offset EmergyCare’s current shortage of paramedics, enhancing employee morale by balancing current workloads, allowing operational staff to go off duty on time, and decreasing overtime due to having additional paramedics to assist with coverage for vacations, injuries, illness, and additional turnover.

EmergyCare has seen an immediate return on investment from its EMS Academy. Since implementation, the EMS Academy has already seen the following improvements:

  • Decreased staffing shortage by 85 – 90%
  • Balanced workload of current employees
  • Decreased “Turned Calls” by 50%
  • Decreased overtime expenses

Addressing the EMT and Paramedic shortage within the EMS industry has allowed EmergyCare to continue to grow and improve employee morale and retention. The EMS Academy will continue to focus on meeting current staffing needs for EmergyCare as well as provide and market the only alternative Paramedic training program for Northwest Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to the entire EmergyCare Team for your EMS Academy’s selection as the 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Employee Program.

2016 AMBY Best Use of Technology: Trinity EMS & Firstwatch, Opioid Epidemic Project

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

Trinity EMS & FirstWatch Opioid Epidemic Project Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Best Use of Technology

Trinity EMS & FirstWatch | Massachusetts

amby-congrats-trinity-ems-with-firstwatchMassachusetts has seen a massive increase in opiate overdoses and deaths. In 2013 there were 918 opiate related deaths in Massachusetts. Massachusetts had 1531 deaths in the first six months of 2016. Many of the communities Trinity EMS serves are on the front lines of this issue. Their EMT’s and paramedics are helping to revive patients every day from an opiate overdose. Understanding the scope of an issue is a critical first step to solving an issue. They started using their PCR data to help frame the issue for their communities. They began tracking the demographics such as age and gender of the patients, time of day and day of the week, and location within the communities. They also monitor the volume to identify spikes in volume in individual communities and system wide. Trinity reported data monthly, one month behind to the health department, public safety partners, methadone clinics, hospitals and city governments. This data was well received. Other services contacted them for help in developing their tracking and reporting. They added FirstWatch to their program to speed up the notifications. Monthly reporting is still valuable. Instant reporting is even better. FirstWatch allows their communities to be notified within an hour of an opiate overdose. Public health and public safety now have this intelligence right away.

The goal was to gather and present data in a cross discipline format for aid with better understanding on the situation. First responders, law enforcement, public health, EMS, and district attorneys, and the press have received and used their data. Trinity wanted to show:

  • The profile of the patients we are seeing
  • The frequency of the patients
  • The location and time of the overdoses
  • The severity of the patients. (Our volume of overdoses have leveled off, the acuity of the patents is still increasing)
  • Our monthly report is a key performance indicator as to the opiate issue at the street level in our communities
  • Our needle pick up data indicated where outdoor intravenous drug use is happening
  • Many of the overdose calls to the 911 centers are not communicated as being overdoses; “fall”, “respiratory”, “unconscious” are common chief complaints at dispatch. This data would not have been collected and reported using chief complaint as a filter

When it became clear the opiate issue was becoming a wide spread crisis Trinity started working the issue. They knew their best area to provide data from was PCRs. They came up with a set of data points they thought would help. They attended many meetings and public events. During those forums dozens of additional questions and theories came forward. Trinity took and implemented all that they had data for. (Example. There was question about social benefits and opiate use. They are able to show on an ongoing basis that there is no correlation between opiate overdoses and the 1st and 15th of the month.)

Before 2015, Trinity reported opiate overdoses usually annually only when requested. Starting in 2015 they reported monthly. They wanted to provide data even quicker. Trinity had seen FirstWatch a few years before. They felt the speed and automation FirstWatch could provide was a critical improvement. The intelligence gathered with knowing in live time of opiate overdoses can’t be overstated. The automation allows that intelligence to be gathered no matter the day or time.

Trinity started working with FirstWatch in December 2015. In May 2016, Trinity put FirstWatch directly into the hands of public health, public safety and public schools. Each discipline has a HIPAA compliant login with access to data specific to their mission. They worked very closely with FirstWatch so they could understand the capabilities within the system. They brought the idea and FirstWatch brought the execution and focus. The FirstWatch platform is amazingly powerful for Trinity, to provide live access is amazing. In June 2016, Trinity participated in a Middlesex County District Attorney opiate task force meeting. Trinity had earlier in the meeting done a 20 minute presentation on the opiate crisis in our city. This provided the 70 people in attendance a fresh look at the data. Towards the end of the meeting conference to alert families and friends of addicts to watch their loved ones, and scheduled “emergency” Narcan administration training for the community. During DA Ryan’s presentation, Trinity received a FirstWatch alert for a 39 year old female opiate overdose from 30 minutes before. Three minutes later they received another alert for a 41 year old female that suffered a fatal opiate overdose. They were able to share that with the group and drive home the DA’s message.

The City Governments, Public Health, Police and Fire Departments in Trinity’s communities were eager to learn about the data they were able to collect, and their data began to become focal points at press conferences and city council meetings. News agencies began contacting Trinity to help paint the picture of the epidemic in feature stories. In sharing the mapping aspect of Firstwatch they hope that these agencies can further understand the epidemic and develop plans to combat it. Trinity has become the de facto subject matter experts of the opiate crisis.

Congratulations to Trinity EMS and FirstWatch for their selection as 2016 AMBY Winners.

 

2016 AMBY Best Quality Improvement Program: Gold Cross Ambulance, Documentation Program

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

Gold Cross Ambulance’s Documentation Project Project Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Best Quality Improvement Program

Gold Cross Ambulance | Utah

amby-congrats-gold-crossThe documentation review process at Gold Cross Ambulance had not changed much since the day of paper trip tickets. Retrospective documentation feedback was being given to crews, but they were not fully utilizing the capabilities of their technology to analyze the feedback and make significant improvements. Gold Cross Ambulance hypothesized that improved documentation goals would lead to better patient care and increased reimbursements. They knew they needed to make improvements in the review process and to better utilize the technology that was already in place. In addition to the documentation goals, they identified the opportunity to work some small, but significant, clinical improvements into a documentation project. One initial focus of clinical improvement was making sure the field crews were obtaining at least two sets of vital signs on every patient, and properly documenting these vital signs in the electronic patient care report (ePCR). Of all the performance indicators we measure, trending of vital signs touches every patient contacted. Educators from Utah EMS for Children shared research citing “inadequate recognition of and response to hypotension and hypoxia was associated with higher odds of disability and death” (Hewes H., 2016). This was such a basic thing to measure, but it had potential to impact every contacted patient. Gold Cross know that vital signs were an area in which they could improve, while also meeting their documentation goals. To do so, they implemented the following:

  1. Create a way to measure overall documentation quality.
  2. Establish a formal standard for documentation and educate crews about the documentation expectations.
  3. Improve the overall documentation of the ePCR.
  4. Improve the number of patients with properly collected and documented vital signs.
  5. Improve amount of reimbursement and decrease collection cycle time.

Gold Cross formed a work group to tackle these issues, which consisted of members of the Quality Department, Training Department, Billing Department, and Operations Department. The group meets every other week to evaluate progress and assess the need for adjustments to the system. Mid-year of 2014, the group worked to revise the program for documentation evaluation. A new standard was created based on the ePCR fields. A point system was established for documentation which gave each ePCR field a weighted number of points, equaling 100%. Incomplete or missing fields result in a loss of points for that field, which provided a way to measure documentation performance. The scoring data is tracked in our ePCR quality module, allowing us to analyze and report on the data easily. The feedback on any areas of missed points is sent to the crew via the ePCR messaging system, so it is easily accessible to the crews during regular daily tasks. Feedback is focused on improvement comments instead of punitive comments. Positive feedback is included in each evaluation. The group released an initial version of the General Instructions for the ePCR, which was an internal manual detailing expectations for every field in our ePCR. The focus was to provide clear expectations to all field crews regarding how to properly fill out the ePCR and what content should be included. The training department created an educational program on the online educational software program, detailing the documentation guidelines and testing the crews on the material. The General Instructions for the ePCR were also posted on the company training site, so crews would have easy access at any time. The Quality Department developed a class for the newly hired providers. The class emphasizes the need for quality documentation, outlines the program, and includes actual documentation examples for evaluation and discussion. Patient advocacy through documentation is instilled in the participants of this class. The Billing Department developed a class which is taught at six months after hire. In the class, documentation is reviewed from class participants. The billing department shows how the bill is processed from the documentation, and they discuss common challenges to the billing process. The program has been monitored with continuous PDSA cycles and has been adjusted as needed for continued improvement.

An initial company goal for documentation was set at 90%. From project start to current date, the company-wide documentation averages have increase from 74% at the beginning of the project to 96% currently. Field crews have expressed greater clarity in the company expectations for documentation. The overall average documentation scores by division are posted regularly for the company to view, and this has had the additional benefit of sparking a competitive streak between some of our divisions, further improving the scores. The improvement in collection of vital signs not only improved overall patient care, but resulted in a Performance Improvement Award from the Utah State Bureau of EMS in 2016. The bureau looked at pediatric vital signs and recognized two rural and two urban EMS agencies in the state for their improvements. Gold Cross Eastern Division won the award for a rural agency, and Gold Cross Salt Lake Division won for the urban agency. Their study found our agency improved the collection of pediatric vital signs by 53% in our urban area and 66% in our rural area.

The most important impact of this project is improvement in patient care, which is our primary mission. The goals for complete documentation have encouraged field crews to make sure they complete proper assessments, since they know those areas of the ePCR are evaluated and must be complete. Improvements in assessment result in better differential diagnoses and improved treatment plans and outcomes. The documentation project has positively impacted Gold Cross financially as expected. Reimbursement rates have increased and the time to complete the collection cycle has improved. Due to the documentation improvements, the billing staff spends less time researching information, following up on incomplete documentation, and fighting in appeals.

Congratulations to Gold Cross Ambulance for the Reduced Readmissions Project’s selection as a 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Community Impact Program.

 

2016 AMBY Best Community Impact Program: Medic Ambulance, Reduced Readmissions Project

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

Medic Ambulance Reduced Readmissions Project Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Best Community Impact Program

Medic Ambulance | California

amby-congrats-medic-ambulanceMedic Ambulance Service is the exclusive ALS service provider in Solano County, a HRSA-designated medically underserved area with a physician-provider to population ratio of 81.1 per 100,000. In 2014 Medic Ambulance became aware of an opportunity to participate in a Community Paramedicine Pilot initiated through California Ste EMSA. After collaborating with LEMSA and the community hospitals, Medic Ambulance unanimously concluded that the 23% average readmission rates for each CHF and COPD patients was taking a crippling toll on the hospitals’ reimbursement and increasing Emergency Department wait times. Starting in January of 2015, Medic Ambulance Service enrolled six paramedics into approximately 300 hours of additional training focused on the biopsychosocial needs of patients with CHF or COPD. The education has continued through monthly case reviews and peer-to-peer lessons-learned where the entire team brainstorms innovative solutions to the patients’ challenges. From the beginning, Medic Ambulance Service was poised on creating a sustainable model that would persevere past the period of being a pilot or grant funding. They made this goal of preservation well-known to all stakeholders, and after quickly proving the value through low readmission rates they had established a sustainable funding source, happy to pay for Community Paramedicine Services.

Project Goals

  1. Reduce the readmission rates of patients with CHF or COPD.
  2. To create a sustainably funded model to ensure the project remains available to our community and is replicable in other areas.
  3. Provide superior customer service.
  4. Teach patients how to improve their health by appealing to the patient’s values.
  5. To provide these services at a lower cost than was otherwise available.

Project Phases

  • Planning Phase: The project was planned based upon the results of the community needs assessment. The findings indicated that there is a substantial difficulty within the community to access restorative medical aid. Each Community Paramedic underwent over 300 hours of focused training on the management of CHF and COPD, cultural sensitivity, and rehabilitative services.
  • Implementation Phase: To ensure compliance with the strictest regard for patient outcomes and program oversight Medic’s Community Paramedicine Program is IRB approved, reports at least monthly to a Steering Committee with diverse medical and nonmedical expertise, 100% charting review by a Registered Nurse, and utilization of, EMS Survey Team, a third-party patient surveyor. These highly trained Community Paramedics began seeing patients in September of 2015 and the most common question we are asked by the local hospitals is when can we help them lower their readmission rates for patients that don’t have CHF or COPD. With a sustainable and reproducible model we intend to keep filling healthcare gaps and mold healthcare delivery to suit the needs of every community we serve!

Our goals with this project are built upon the IHI Triple AIM to improve the patient experience of care, improve the health of populations, and reduce the per capita cost of health care. We are absolutely meeting these foundational goals!

  • 85 patients have been referred to the program (59 enrolled)
  • 118 visits have been completed

Medic Ambulance measures and objectives reveal that the enrolled population has only a 8.5% unplanned readmission rate; as opposed to a 23% rate of those not enrolled. During home visits it was discovered that:

  • 50.8% of patients had medication errors
  • 48.7% of the patients that thought they were taking all their medications correctly weren’t
  • 72.9% of patients needed help understanding their discharge instructions.

These enrolled patients also self identify an average overall health rating improvement of 22.8% between their pre-enrollment and post -enrollment health. During this same interval the patients’ understanding of their hospital discharge instructions has risen by 16.8%, understanding of when to take medications improved 8.3%, and understanding of their medication side effects improved by 14.1%.

EMS Survey Team, a third party patient surveyor, attempts phone contact with all enrolled patients. These scores are recorded and measured against the 128 different EMS services they contract with. This program is the #1 rated provider with a total score of 96.48/100 and 100% of all responses have been positive.

Patient Feedback

“It’s been a very good experience. She (the Community Paramedic) explained everything so I could understand.” – Patient

“There’s a lot of people out there who need this, especially those without insurance.” – Patient

“My blood pressure started going up and it wouldn’t come down. I had medication but it wasn’t helping.” – Patient who was not taking her medication at the correct frequency.

“She (a patient) feels more comfortable.” – Patient’s daughter “This is a pilot program but everyone so far is very pleased with how it is working.” – Director of case management at a referring hospital. “If I get sick I know they’re gonna be there for me and that I’m not alone.” – Patient

As a third generational, family-owned EMS provider, nothing is more important to us than the community we serve as the exclusive ALS provider. The creation of this program wasn’t created as merely a proof of concept, we continue to grow and adapt this program to meet the needs of the populations through changing the landscape of health care. The impact of this program’s success has been marked with already saving the health care system $137,000 with a projected savings of $685,000 by the end of 2017, improved health literacy in vulnerable populations, reducing overuse on the 9-1-1 and Emergency Department systems, and catalyzing positive health changes through empowerment. It is projected that over 25% of the patients enrolled into this program have a functional health literacy defined as “below basic”, the lowest possible category per the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, compared to 14% of American adults that fall into this category. At this level of health literacy the dates of appointments and clearly defined times to take medications are often understood, but the understanding of how negative lifestyle choices, such as smoking, poor diet, and recreational drug use affect their management of diseases is not universally comprehended.

Congratulations to Medic Ambulance for the Reduced Readmissions Project’s selection as a 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Community Impact Program.

 

2016 AMBY Best Public Relations Campaign: EMSA, CPR Education Program

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

EMSA CPR Education Program Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Best Public Relations Campaign

Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) | Tulsa, Oklahoma

amby-congrats-emsaEMSA, the Emergency Medical Services Authority, is Oklahoma’s largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care. We provide ambulance service to more than 1.1 million residents in central and northeast Oklahoma. EMSA was established in Tulsa in 1977 and later expanded to include Bixby, Jenks and Sand Springs. EMSA began providing service to Oklahoma City in 1990. EMSA is the ambulance provider in 16 cities across the state. As a public trust authority of the City of Tulsa and City of Oklahoma City governments, EMSA is charged with ensuring the highest quality of emergency medical service at the best possible price. There are several entities that work together in the EMSA system, including the Cities of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the medical director, and the contracted ambulance provider. EMSA oversees all business aspects including ambulances and other capital equipment, maintaining patient records, billing and more. The medical director conducts routine audits and testing of all medics practicing in the system, writes seamless protocols to ensure the continuity of care between first responders and transport medics, researches new treatment modalities and evaluates complaints. EMSA is committed to training and building awareness about CPR in EMSA’s 16 service areas. The program includes a variety of year-round opportunities to learn Hands-Only CPR(TM), as well as leveraging various opportunities to promote CPR education through traditional earned media, digital advertising, and social media. Also, EMSA medics were part of a national challenge to train as many local citizens as possible in Hands-Only CPR, called World CPR Day.

The CPR Education Program had one ultimate goal which was to increase the number of Oklahoma citizens who can effectively do CPR statewide (mostly Hands-Only CPR). The secondary goal was to connect the message of health care expertise and community involvement with EMSA, as an organization, by providing non-emergency interactions with EMSA medics and promoting CPR-related stories in earned media and digital platforms. Two measurable objectives were identified for the CPR Education Program.

Primary Objective

The first objective was to train more than 2,000 Oklahomans on how to conduct Hands-Only CPR on World CPR Day and 10,000 at the Tulsa State Fair and Oklahoma City State Fair. The second specific objective was to utilize earned media, social media, events and public figures to educate the community that EMSA is their CPR resource for training.

For many years EMSA, along with its 16 partnering first-responder agencies, achieved a heart attack survival rate six times higher than the national average. Recognizing that bystander response times were integrated into this health outcome, EMSA noted an opportunity to magnify and improve these successful numbers. The heart attack survival rate results are based on patients in cardiac arrest who received some form of bystander CPR and were found in a shockable rhythm (an ECG rhythm that is treatable using defibrillation) on first EMS contact.

Secondary Objective

The American Heart Association Research The American Heart Association conducts numerous studies on the impact of bystander CPR. These studies prove that during cardiac arrest a person’s survival chance increases significantly with immediate CPR, that CPR can be taught in a very short amount of time, and that compression-only CPR is effective for saving lives. When paramedics arrive on-scene, a patient who is in cardiac arrest and is found in a shockable rhythm (an ECG rhythm that is treatable using defibrillation) is more likely to survive if they receive some form of bystander CPR. The impact of bystander CPR has improved significantly in the past decade. In 2010, the AMR bystander CPR rate was 21.4 percent and in 2014 it increased to 40.8 percent.

Every five years, EMSA conducts a citizen survey to review the perception of services. The most recent report (2012) shows 80 percent of people who use EMSA have a positive impression. Additionally, the public responds extremely favorably to medics and paramedics; however, most people don’t meet a medic until they’re experiencing a medical emergency. Utilizing this information EMSA expanded its public events to put medics in front of potential patients more regularly — before they experience an emergency. Although the CPR Campaign primarily focuses on health-outcomes related to cardiac arrest, a secondary benefit is providing one-on-one opportunities for the general public to spend with EMSA medics, allowing those without ambulance-experience to see first-hand the caring and compassionate men and women who work at EMSA.

In order to build community awareness around the health impact of knowing CPR, EMSA focused on two general audiences: the first included citizens of EMSA’s service area without Hands-Only CPR training, the second group was the opinion leaders. The opinion leaders with the highest stakes for improving health outcomes on a statewide basis were determined to be elected officials.

EMSA has conducted CPR training throughout the community for decades. EMSA also partners with other CPR-certification agencies to increase access to CPR education. For the past three years, EMSA has organized an annual special event to train a large number of citizens in Hands-Only CPR and also communicate the importance of learning CPR. In addition, EMSA provides stand-by ambulances at the Oklahoma State Tulsa State fair annually; during the fair EMSA utilizes an informational booth space to provide citizens with an opportunity to learn CPR.

The CPR Education Program consisted of three key areas. The first was participation in large-scale events that provide an opportunity for training a large number of people (World CPR Day and the two State Fairs). These larger events would be used as a catalyst. The second area was building awareness that EMSA offers CPR training, both Hands-Only and traditional CPR, to the general public within their service area. The final area was recruiting a prominent Oklahoman to participate in a CPR training in order to maximize attention to the importance of CPR training for all individuals. All of the focus areas, and the message that CPR saves lives, were promoted through traditional earned media, advertising, and social engagement.

Large-Scale Training Events

World CPR Day is organized on a national level by AMR and on a local level by EMSA. Each year the EMSA communications team strategically identifies partnership events and organizations to bring Hands-Only CPR in front of Tulsa and Oklahoma City-area citizens. There are many options annually because the wide audience-base includes all individuals in EMSA’s service area without Hands-Only CPR training. EMSA hosted CPR trainings throughout coverage areas utilizing ongoing events at businesses and organizations, such as the business board meetings. Some trainings were private and others were public events. Utilizing earned media and social media, World CPR Day was heavily promoted and resulted in strong participation. Reviewing the World CPR date and community events we noticed the two largest events that could incorporate CPR training were the Big 12 Baseball tournament and the Dallas Cowboys Mobile Museum. These two events were slated to attract large crowds of active Tulsans ideal for learning Hands-Only CPR. EMSA worked alongside the Tulsa Regional Chamber to coordinate a training site at Fan Fest, the fair-like celebration that runs concurrently during the Big 12 Baseball Tournaments. EMSA also had the Dallas Cowboys mobile museum for their evening sessions at LaFortune Park. In addition to the large public trainings, EMSA hosted smaller CPR trainings throughout our coverage areas utilizing ongoing events at area businesses and organizations, such as the Jenks Chamber of Commerce Board Meeting. The largest private training was at Roosevelt Middle School in Oklahoma City where EMSA trained more than 600 students. The Tulsa and Oklahoma City State Fairs provide easy-access to large groups of Oklahoma residents who are eager to learn CPR in order to save a life. Although the location and interaction opportunities are optimal, medics do use key message points, such as “It’s most likely a loved one’s life you’ll save,” to encourage passers-by to participate in the training. Thousands of individuals learned Hands-Only CPR at the state fairs last year. CPR Training Requests EMSA generally receives 30 requests per year to train small groups on how to perform CPR. These are businesses and organizations, as well as teams and non-profits. During the CPR Education Program, EMSA promoted CPR training through all owned mediums including its website and social channels. After promoting World CPR Day and the importance of learning Hands-Only CPR, EMSA inquiries for trainings increased by almost 25 percent. Most of the new requests came from government officials or civic-related organizations, which are targeted groups because their circle of influence is generally larger than other groups.

Training High-Profile Oklahoman in Hands-Only CPR

EMSA individuals researched prominent Oklahomans to find who fit with EMSA’s mission and goals. We needed individuals that would create a buzz online and in traditional media. After considering various famous individuals we determined that elected officials were the most inclined to be concerned with the overall health and well-being of Oklahomans. We set our goals high, and invited the Governor to learn Hands-Only CPR. Additionally, we sent requests to various local elected officials to offer a CPR class during a City Council meeting. We were pleased that Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin, the Tulsa City Council and Oklahoma City Council accepted our invitations, and in three separate events, they learned the steps to save a life through CPR. The events created a stir in local newspapers and TV while also creating engagement online through our EMSA social channels and other digital news sources. Promotion EMSA promoted World CPR Day, CPR trainings, and the elected-officials training events throughout the year. Additionally, EMSA hosted several in-studio CPR demonstrations at Oklahoma City and Tulsa media stations. Another media component was promoting feature stories on patients that survive because of CPR. The final promotional component was a digital ad campaign that are PSAs about the three C’s of CPR: check, call, and compress.

See measurable outcomes below; additionally review work samples to view social media samples, earned media samples and more.

  • Measurable Objective: train 2,000 attendees how to do Hands-Only CPR on World CPR Day. Result: Trained 2,585 people 1,201 in Tulsa and 1,384 in OKC Measureable Objective: train 10,000 attendees how to do Hands-only CPR at the two Oklahoma State Fairs. Result: Trained more than 10,000 people at the Tulsa State and Oklahoma State Fairs.
  • Measurable Objective: Utilize social media to increase awareness of World CPR Day Result: More than 20,000 unique social media impressions for various social media posts promoting and celebrating World CPR Day.
  • Measurable Objective: Utilize earned media, social media and World CPR Day to educate the community that EMSA is their CPR resource for training.
  • Result: Following World CPR Day EMSA was contacted by several community groups wanting EMSA medics to teach Hands-Only CPR at their monthly meetings. Additionally, EMSA gained a lot of media coverage and social media activity due to the high-visibility leadership participating in Hands-Only CPR.

The overall impact of the ongoing EMSA CPR program continues to increase the number of Oklahoma residents who can perform CPR. This ultimately affects improved health outcomes. Additionally, this campaign provides one-on-one time with medics which produces a familiarity with the ambulance authority that will provide long-term mutually beneficial outcomes.

Congratulations to EMSA for the CPR Education Program’s selection as a 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Public Relations Campaign.

 

2016 AMBY Best Community Impact Program: AMR, River Rescue Program

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

American Medical Response River Rescue Program Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Best Community Impact Program

amby-2016-congrats-amrAMR | Oregon

The Oregon River Safety Program (aka AMR River Rescue Program) is provided by American Medical Response (AMR) as a community service for two communities it serves in Oregon. The program is the only one of its kind exclusively operated by a private EMS provider, supported by strong community partnerships, and was developed after a series of thirteen drowning deaths over five years in the 1990s at two popular river parks. Ten years earlier, AMR developed its Reach and Treat (RAT) Wilderness Medicine Program to provide medical care for people ill or injured on Mount Hood and the surrounding national forest. Since Swift Water Rescue was part of the existing Reach and Treat Teams training and competency, AMR worked with the Troutdale City Council and a group of dedicated civic leaders to launch the River Rescue Program in July, 1999. For the remainder of the summer, AMR used its RAT Team members as Swift Water Rescue Specialists to staff the new River Rescue program.

The program was developed to meet the certification standards of the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) for open water lifeguarding, and is staffed by Oregon licensed Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. To meet USLA requirements, AMR developed an 80-hour training program with core USLA curriculum as well as additional site-specific training. River Rescue Technicians are not the same as pool lifeguards, but instead are highly trained and certified professionals with expertise in lifeguarding, swift water rescue, and medical care. The AMR River Rescue program received USLA Advanced Lifeguard Agency Certification in April 2012. The United States Lifesaving Association is America’s nonprofit professional association of lifeguards and open water rescuers. The USLA works to reduce the incidence of death and injury in the aquatic environment through public education, national lifeguard standards, training programs, promotion of high levels of lifeguard readiness, and other means.

This year marked the 18th season for the program. From 1999 through 2016, the AMR team performed 97 rescues, more than 1,400 assists of people in distress, and dedicated thousands of hours to prevention activity. Based on pre-program statistics, 66 drownings would have occurred over those years without the program. Each year, the team consists of approximately 20 River Rescue Technicians trained in Swift Water Rescue who provide life guard services seven days a week, ten hours a day at Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale, and at High Rocks Park in Gladstone, Oregon from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

AMR’s Oregon River Safety Program has been highly successful in relegating some of the State’s highest drowning sites for recreational waterways to a footnote in history. The Program has increased swimmer safety through public awareness campaigns; prevention interventions, such as life jacket loaner programs; and community and media partnerships. It has also amassed a wealth of data to guide program enhancement which has documented a significant increase in the use of life jackets for all age groups. Lastly, the Program has prevented drowning through direct and often dramatic rescue interventions by AMR technicians.

From its inception, the goal of AMR’s River Rescue Program has been to prevent loss of life due to drowning and to make the locations AMR guards safer. Primary responsibilities of River Rescue Technicians are to provide public education on water safety, raise awareness of the potential hazards of rivers and open bodies of water, promote life jacket use, deter risky behaviors (such as drug/alcohol use and unsafe ways of floating downriver on makeshift “rafts”), and rapidly respond to swimmers in distress. AMR River Rescue has released a new mission statement for 2016: Drowning prevention through education, vigilance and rescue.

AMR River Rescue utilizes a public health model “Spectrum of Prevention” approach to support the goal of drowning prevention by focusing efforts on: individuals, groups, providers, networks, organizations, and public policy makers. Injury prevention efforts are targeted by utilizing the significant amount of data captured by the program each year to help identify trends. AMR River Rescue has also developed strong partnerships with traditional media to further educational goals, allowing them to reach large television/radio audiences with important water safety messages for visitors to Oregon’s rivers, as well as tips and advice to prevent drowning elsewhere, such as in pools and spas, and in and around the home. In addition to onsite, rivers-edge, education and prevention, River Rescue Team members participate in social media and community events to share information on water and pool safety for children and parents.

Planning and implementation of the program has developed over the course of the last eighteen years. In 1999, after 13 people drowned over a five-year period at Glenn Otto Park on the Sandy River in Troutdale, Oregon, AMR worked with local officials and civic leaders to pioneer an on-site river rescue program using EMS personnel trained as lifeguards specializing in swift water rescue. The program was modeled after ten years of success with the Reach and Treat Team developed by AMR in the late 1980s. AMR’s River Rescue program is distinctly different than the Sheriff’s office and fire departments’ water rescue programs. While they cover long stretches of waterways and can only respond after an incident is reported, AMR’s program focuses on the most dangerous river sections that have the highest drowning mortality sites. To protect these areas, public education and risk mitigation were made priorities and coupled with the River Rescue Technicians’ training in Swift Water Rescue to spot trouble and act immediately.

The window to intervene in a developing drowning and save a life is often less than 30 seconds. After several years of program development, the River Rescue Program received certification from the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), which is recognized internationally as the “gold standard” for accreditation.* To meet USLA standards, AMR developed a unique 80 hour training program with a core USLA curriculum with additional swift water and medical training. The program is unique in the U.S. and is the only certified agency that provides lifeguards solely in a swift water environment (versus beaches or lakes).

Because prevention is an important component of the program, a life jacket loaner program was developed, offering free daily use of hundreds of personal flotation devices (sizes from infant to adult) to visitors of the parks. In the summer of 2002, after three people drowned in less than a month at High Rocks Park along the Clackamas River, AMR expanded the program to cover the popular river site. Responsibility for the Clackamas River is vested with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, but the shore is governed by two cities, one on each side of the river. The lack of clear jurisdictional responsibility had caused a stalemate over how to improve safety at High Rocks Park for many years until AMR proposed expanding its River Rescue Program to that site and agreed to accept responsibility. (AMR knows the county well – as they have been the 9-1-1 ambulance provider in Clackamas County for decades). High Rocks Park presents much different challenges than Glenn Otto, with 20-25 foot rock cliffs and formations from which adventurers jump into the cold, fast moving water. Both the Sandy and Clackamas River share origin from Mount Hood glaciers and have swift current, cold water and underwater hazards.

The program also serves as a regional resource for water safety public education, water hazard mitigation, deployable rescue swimmers, as an in-water search resource for recovery of drowning fatalities in other areas of local rivers (upon request from law enforcement) and provide services and support to the Regional Clackamas County Water Safety Consortium.

Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium members include:

  • AMR River Rescue Program
  • Canby Fire District
  • Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol
  • Clackamas County Fire District 1
  • Estacada Fire District
  • Gladstone Fire Department
  • Lake Oswego Fire Department
  • Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
  • Sandy Fire District Recruitment and Training

To prepare for staffing the river parks by Memorial Day weekend, AMR begins each season by recruiting candidates in February. They must pass a rigorous swim test (covering 500 meters in less than 10 minutes without the assistance of any propulsion devices) in order to continue through the selection and training process. New candidates join returning members in a challenging, eighty-hour course led by veteran River Rescue Technicians and other experts. Training topics include:

  • Swift water Hydrology and Hazards
  • Swift water Rescue Tactics
  • Lifeguarding Tactics
  • Observation and scanning
  • Rescue Scene Management
  • Community Education
  • Rescue kayaks
  • Rescue paddleboards
  • Media Relations
  • Staffing River Parks

Teams of 2-3 River Rescue Technicians are on duty at each site, and are in constant radio communications with each other, AMR’s Communications Center, the 9-1-1 Center and local law enforcement officers. An alert is transmitted any time a River Rescue Specialist enters the water to conduct an assist or rescue, and if not canceled within five minutes, a full EMS response is dispatched. According to the USLA, the most challenging assignment for a lifeguard is safeguarding natural bodies of water, referred to as open water. Unlike pools and waterparks, crowd conditions, swift currents, cold water, underwater hazards, weather, and related conditions of open water can change quickly and pose unique obstacles to maintaining water safety. A primary responsibility is to provide constant outreach to warn visitors of the hazards, both new inherent, at each site. AMR technicians monitor water temperature, current speed, underwater hazards and public census at regular intervals every day, including in-water assessments. Even the most seasoned swimmer can be taken by surprise in swift moving water, but are generally less inclined to exercise risky behavior after an on-site expert has informed them of the hazards and possible consequences. Over the years, AMR’s River Rescue Team has become the region’s water safety subject-matter experts whom media outlets and others frequently turn to for water safety messages. Due to the focus on prevention and media interactions, the River Rescue Team receives annual training in prevention messaging and media interaction, including mock on-camera interviews and speaking points which undergo annual revisions based on previous years data.

Over the last 18 years the program has successfully reduced the drowning rate at Glenn Otto and High Rocks parks from approximately 1 in 15,000 to 1 in 256,500. The very first achievement however, was relieving community tension. At the first City Council meeting after the program began, then Councilor and now Mayor Doug Daoust, asked AMR leaders “how it feels to deliver a miracle?” Having received one of the highest compliments it could imagine, and with intense media attention, AMR set about re-instilling the philosophy of extensive selection and training, hypervigilance, and a primary focus on prevention. The official title, Oregon River Safety Program, was so named because water safety and prevention is the core focus of the program. Not only has community awareness and use of lifejackets increased, but families frequently state that they come to one of the parks for the add safety of lifeguards. The drowning rate at Glenn Otto and High Rocks parks has been reduced from approximately 1 in 15,000 to 1 in 256,500, and AMR hopes to continue to improve every year. In 2016 alone two people (a sixteen year old and a six year old) were pulled up from underwater, and an additional 147 adults and children were assisted before submerging. Over 18 years the program has directly intervened in 1,650 lives who were either beginning to or actively drowning, and have made direct prevention contacts to 23,330 people and families. The program:

  • Has saved lives, which has in return, propelled the continuance of the program.
  • Stopped the long history of fatal drownings in young people at the two parks.
  • Success created relief among the communities and community good will towards AMR’s River Rescue Team.
  • Has enhanced strong community partnerships.
  • Raised overall awareness in communities and the region about hazards of rivers in Oregon.
  • Has helped to normalized life jacket use.
  • Developed an avenue for EMTs to transition from River Rescue to AMR Ambulance Operations.
  • Has changed city parks from former “party” hangouts (with alcohol, drug use and risky behavior) to more family-friendly environments, decreasing law enforcement issues.
  • Has seen the number of visitors to the parks increase.
  • Has seen life jacket use improve across all age groups and the implemented life jacket loaner program has seen yearly increasing demand.

Today, AMR funds most of the $160,000 annual program as a community service, assisted by the City of Troutdale with a $10,000 grant most years. An additional $10,000 per year is needed for new/refreshed equipment and is a relatively small portion of the Multnomah and Clackamas County budgets. Seed funding to purchase equipment in the early years was provided by the Troutdale Booster Club and Providence Milwaukie Hospital. The program has also received grants from Safe Kids Portland Metro, Safe Kids Worldwide and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to purchase PFDs for the life jacket loaner program, develop water safety banners, support for water safety educational programs and awareness materials to distribute at events throughout the season.

Congratulations to AMR for the River Rescue Program’s selection as a 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Community Impact Program.

 

2016 AMBY Best Clinical Outcome: Advanced Medical Transport, Race to the Top Program

Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners

Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards. 

Advanced Medical Transport’s Ramby-congrats-2016-amtace to the Top Program Awarded the 2016 AMBY for Best Clinical Outcome

Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) | Peoria, IL

Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) developed the Race to the Top Program to provide the communities they serve with some of the top cardiac resuscitation rates in the nation. “By concentrating on eight highly-interdependent elements of a world-class emergency cardiac care and response system, we soldier more forces together and win more battles in the war on sudden cardiac arrest,” said AMT’s Josh Bradshaw.

Even before implementing Race to the Top, AMT’s cardiac arrest resuscitation rates were three times the national average.  However, the leadership team felt that they could push the rates higher through a multifaceted outreach program. The project began in in late 2014, with eight specific, measurable, and actionable objectives:

  • Immediate recognition of sudden cardiac arrest;
  • 911 activation, “First-Care” hands-only CPR, GPS to the rescue (PulsePoint);
  • Access to and utilization of AEDs;
  • Pit crew resuscitation by EMS providers;
  • Deployment of Advanced Practice Paramedics;
  • Advanced biomedical tools;
  • Immediate provider feedback; and
  • Community and caregiver recognition.

AMT began the program with a Return of Spontaneous Circulation rate of 27%, and have now reached 45%, well on the way to their near-60% goal. The national average is just 9%.

In December 2014, AMT became the first downstate Illinois EMS agency to report directly to the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), a CDC-approved registry provided by Emory University. CARES participation empowers the AMT team to compare Race to the Top’s results with peer cities in North America. This benchmarking is in and of itself another best practice, and helps to drive ever-better results.

AMT’s key objective was to achieve widespread cultural expectations and awareness that saving lives is a community responsibility. “Saving lives is everyone’s responsibility,” says AMT CEO, Andrew Rand, “by working together we can achieve event better results.”

Congratulations to the entire Advanced Medical Transport Team for Race to the Top’s selection as the 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Clinical Outcome.

 

2016 AAA Award Winners Announced

The AAA is proud to announce this year’s award winners. Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference and Tradeshow Awards Reception on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Please join us in congratulating the winners.

J. Walter Schaefer Award

Randy Strozyk, American Medical Response

The J. Walter Schaefer Award is given annually to an individual whose work in EMS has contributed positively to the advancement of the industry as a whole. Randy has achieved this through his tireless dedication and service to the industry and his role in elevating the association and its members to national prominence.

Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award

Julie Rose, Community Care 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 a significant long-term impact on the association. Julie has held numerous leadership positions in the AAA including Membership Committee Chair, Region III Director and Alternate Director. Julie has worked tirelessly to get members of her Region to join the AAA, knowing that it is important to participate in the national organization to be part of the team finding solutions to today’s challenges in EMS.

President’s Award

Jon Howell, Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (HEMSI)
Asbel Montes, Acadian Ambulance Service
David Tetrault, St. Francois County Ambulance District

These awards are given by the President to volunteer leaders who have shown commitment to the advancement of the AAA above and beyond the call of duty. This year the three outstanding volunteers represent tireless work on behalf of the AAA.

Jon Howell has served as the chair of the AAA’s nominating committee for 4 years and in that time has worked to grown the involvement of our members to participate in the AAA nominating and election process.  Asbel Montes has worked tirelessly as Co-Chair of the Payment Reform Committee, and David Tetrault has served as a Region IV Board or Director as well as an active participant on the Membership and Education Committee.  AAA President Hall was quoted as saying, “this award is given by the sole discretion of the President of the AAA and I cannot think of three more deserving individuals than Jon, Asbel and David.  No matter what I have asked them to do for the AAA, they have taken on the task with determination, commitment and a level of servant leadership rarely seen anymore.”

Distinguished Service Award

Brian Choate, Solutions Group
Kathy Lester, MPH, JD, Lester Health Law & AAA Healthcare Consultant
Scott Moore, Esq., EMS Resource Advisors LLC & AAA Human Resources Consultant
Brian Werfel, Esq., Werfel & Werfel, PLLC & AAA Medicare Consultant

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) is proud to award Brian Choate, Kathy Lester, Scott Moore, and Brian Werfel with 2016 Distinguished Service Awards.

The Regional Workshop team worked countless hours to create the content for the four compliance, billing and reimbursement policy workshops that were presented throughout the country. The workshops were designed to help all types of services structure their billing departments more maximum efficiency and integrity.

It is for this dedication of the team members to the AAA that we are proud to recognize Brian Choate, Kathy Lester, Scott Moore, and Brian Werfel with the 2016 Distinguished Service Award.

Partner of the Year Award

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)

The Partner of the Year Award is given to an EMS partner whose collaboration with the AAA enhances educational programs, legislative priorities and/or member benefits. This pas year the NAEMT has partnered with the AAA on numerous projects including Medicare Relief, EMS Compass and most recently issues a joint statement regarding Payment Reform Policies for EMS.

Affiliate of the Year Award

AVESTA

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) is proud to award Avesta with the 2016 Affiliate of the Year Award. The award is given to the vendor whose supports the programs of the association. Avesta is dedicated to solely to the practice of Human Capital Management and the development of solutions that meet the unique human resource challenges of their EMS clients. This year’s Affiliate winner has shown unconditional support of the AAA Stars of Life Program. The Stars of Life event, held annually in Washington, D.C., publically recognized and celebrates the achievements and exceptional work of EMS professionals.

AMBY Awards Now Open for Nominations

AMBYlogotransparentThe 2016 AMBY Awards are now accepting nominations for outstanding work done by ambulance services and vendors!

The American Ambulance Association’s AMBY Awards Program delivers best practices for all AAA members.  The AMBY’s recognize excellence in the Ambulance profession and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize AAA members.  Read the 2015 Case Studies and find out why we’re passionate about honoring your commitment to excellence.

Entering the AMBY’s allows you to show your commitment to excellence in the ambulance industry and your willingness to share your superior accomplishments with your peers. Winning entries will be awarded at our Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Las Vegas, and all entries will be shared with AAA members on the website, in the association’s mobile event app and as an online publication.

The AMBY Awards are judged by your colleagues on the AAA Professional Standards Committee. As leaders who value creativity and innovation they can appreciate the complex demands of the industry and will provide thoughtful and useful feedback in the scoring of all entries.

Award-winning work helps to nurture the EMS industry’s deeply rooted culture of collaboration, cooperation and a passion for excellence in patient care. The AMBY Award Winners’ Gallery will provide an inspiring collection of winning strategies and best practices to be emulated by other AAA members.

Enter Now

Deadline for entry is August 15, 2016. Winners will be notified on September 9, 2016.

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

Clinical/Quality/Safety

WinnerAMR – Tuberculosis Program
Honorable MentionMetro West – Just Culture Program

Community Impact

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

Senator Scott Receives 2015 AAA Legislative Recognition Award

Pictured is Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) receiving a 2015 AAA Legislative Recognition Award from Greg Shore of AAA member Medshore Ambulance Service in Andersen, South Carolina. Included in the picture is Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) who is one of the lead sponsors of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 377, H.R. 745).