Is Narcan the Answer?

There has been a lot of talk recently in social media and the news about leaving Narcan behind after a reversal of an opioid overdose. A new voluntary program in Pittsburgh, PA allows the state to pay for Narcan atomizers that EMS can leave with friends and family of OD patients. The media buzz revolves around the idea that we are enabling this cycle of addiction; “There is some pushback that maybe you’re enabling the problem a little bit, but at least in the short term, reduce the chances that person is going to die and you create more opportunities to get them into treatment,” said Mark Pinchalk, patient care coordinator for Pittsburgh EMS.” (Media, 2018, para. 3) I agree with Mr. Pinchalk that as an EMS Provider we are not there to judge, we are there to render aid. One of my early instructors said, “Scott, your purpose is to leave the patient better than the way you found them.” I have taken that long ago statement to heart ever since, trying to leave the patient better than the way I found them whether that is medically as in a Diabetic whose blood glucose I raise from 20mg/dl to (more…)

AETNA/CVS Deal Along with Uber Concepts May Finally Change Ambulance Industry

Mark Postma, AAA President & Asbel Montes, AAA Payment Reform Chair The recent merger of Aetna/CVS may be the catalyst that finally brings the change that the ambulance industry has been advocating for over the past several years. This new healthcare strategy supports the ambulance industry’s ideas that alternative patient destinations are needed in EMS. To explain this better, one must understand the current state of ambulance reimbursement via the 911 system or equivalent. At this point in time most commercial payers of healthcare (Insurance) as well as Medicare will not pay for 911 ambulance transportation to any destination other than the “nearest appropriate” hospital based emergency room; arguably, the most expensive and least efficient form of healthcare. The continuation of this policy discounts the advanced capabilities of both EMS and new clinical settings and the savings that can be achieved through innovative change. In addition, at the same time that the cost of healthcare in general is increasing, reimbursement from all payers is decreasing, creating a significant challenge for providers. Medicare consistently pays providers below cost for providing life-saving services and state Medicaid agencies are consistently underfunding the critical services to the un- and under-insured populations that have allowed (more…)

LifeWorks: Get Involved

LifeWorks: Get Involved. Choosing Volunteer Work. Helping others can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You can plant trees in a park, coach youth sports, stuff envelopes for a political campaign, help an adult learn to read, raise money for the arts, visit hospice patients, and more – there’s almost no limit to the opportunities open to you as a volunteer, and people of any age and background can find a way to give back. Here are some ways to find a project that needs you. Understanding Why You Want To Volunteer Helping others can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You can plant trees in a park, coach youth sports, stuff envelopes for a political campaign, help an adult learn to read, raise money for the arts, visit hospice patients, and more – there’s almost no limit to the opportunities open to you as a volunteer, and people of any age and background can find a way to give back. Here are some ways to find a project that needs you. Your reasons for volunteering might be personal or work related. Deciding On Specifics • What skills to you want to...

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American Ambulance Association Announces 2017 AMBY Award Winners

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2017 AMBY Awards. The AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize AAA members. The mission of the awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the ambulance industry by fostering a culture of collaboration, cooperation and a passion for excellence in patient care. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Conference & Trade Show Awards Reception on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Please join us in congratulating our 2017 winners! Community Impact Program NorthStar EMS, Inc. St. Charles County Ambulance District Employee Programs MEDIC EMS Agency (North Carolina) Quality Improvement Programs MEDIC EMS Agency (North Carolina) Public Relations Campaign Medic Ambulance Service, Inc. (California) Sunstar Paramedics Other Programs Porter EMS Learn more about the AMBYs.

Time to handle 911 call demands with Paramedics

When discussing this new and growing field of pre-hospital care, there seems to be two unique paths that services are following. The first is the hospital-owned or contracted service, where community providers seek ways to decrease readmission rates for CHF, COPD, Pneumonia, Sepsis, MI and other chronic illnesses. When a patient discharged with one of these targeted conditions is readmitted within a 30 day window, “hospitals face penalties of up to 3 percent of Medicare payments in 2018” (Gluck, 2017, para. 10). That is a lot of money. Consider, “Lee Health, Southwest Florida’s largest hospital operator, which is expected to lose $3.4 million in payments” (Gluck, 2017, para. 2). This model represents the if, or, and type of service, meaning if we can do it for less and there are providers willing to do this type of medicine, then we can save the expensive penalties from CMC. The other model of community paramedicine is 911 abuse reduction. For years EMS has conditioned the public to call 911 for any emergency. But today, what we consider an emergency is far from the public’s perception of an emergency. “EMS has experienced a 37% increase in 911 calls since 2008.” (White, 2016, para. (more…)

Hurricane Harvey: JEMS-AAA Adopt-An-EMS-Family Program

EMS professionals selflessly serve their communities each day. But even the most capable healthcare providers sometimes need a little help themselves, especially in the face of a natural disaster. AAA has partnered with JEMS to assist EMS families severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana via the “Adopt-an-EMS-Family” program. Established in August 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the program is empowers EMS agencies, their staff, and other participants to provide direct, personal support to EMTs, Paramedics, Dispatchers, and other EMS professionals who were significantly affected by a large-scale disaster. We invite your ambulance service to join us in adopting the families of EMS providers recovering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Sign up below to be assigned a family or group of families to assist in their time of need. Thank you in advance for your support and participation.

Fentanyl Increasingly Dangerous to First Responders

The explosion of the opioid epidemic that is responsible for thousands of overdoses and deaths is a consistent problem that EMS and law enforcement encounter on an almost daily basis. Usually, the victims of these powerful drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl, are opioid users, who EMS personnel and law enforcement are regularly called to assist. However, first responders are also being warned about the increased risks they face of being exposed to these deadly drugs, specifically fentanyl—a popular synthetic opioid that is 40 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. To respond to these dangers, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a field guide called “Fentanyl: A Brief Guide for First Responders” for EMS and police who find themselves responding to opioid-related calls. “We need everybody in the United States to understand how dangerous this is,” Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg warned. “Exposure to an amount equivalent to a few grains of sand can kill you.” The warnings have become more urgent in recent months due to numerous cases of accidental overdoses and exposures involving EMS and police. In May, Chris Green, a police officer with the East Liverpool Police Department, was accidentally exposed to fentanyl during a routine traffic stop after he inadvertently ingested the drug through his skin. Green needed four shots (more…)

Medevac Ambulance Founder Passes Away

It is with great sadness that the American Ambulance Association has learned of the passing of Joe Dolphin, founder of Medevac Ambulance. We will be keeping Joe and his family in our thoughts during this time. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, June 23 at St. Michael’s Church in Poway, Ca., at 10:30 a.m. Obituary In 1971, Joe Dolphin founded Medevac Ambulance, which would become the first US Ambulance company to go national. Joseph’s parents, Carl and Mary Ellen founded the original Dolphin’s Ambulance Service in 1941. In the late 1960s, the founders were retiring, and their two sons were interested in different parts of the business. Joseph chose the ambulance business, and Patrick continued the Medical Equipment Rentals. In the 1980s, Medevac operated in Central and Southern California including: San Diego County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Los Angeles County. Medevac Mid-America was formed in 1981, when the company was awarded the Kansas City MO MAST contract. It was then purchased by Tom Little in 1988 after they lost the Kansas City MAST Contract. After the purchase by Little, the operation was renamed Medevac Medical Services, which was acquired by AMR in 1994. San Mateo (more…)