EMS Week 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 16, 2020 EMS STRONG LAUNCHES “READY TODAY. PREPARING FOR TOMORROW.” CAMPAIGN TO HONOR EMS PROFESSIONALS Campaign unifies the profession and brings awareness to National EMS Week, May 17-23, 2020  WASHINGTON March 16, 2020– The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), is proud to announce this year’s EMS STRONG campaign theme: READY TODAY. PREPARING FOR TOMORROW. The annual EMS STRONG campaign provides opportunities to recognize the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community, enhance and strengthen the profession on a national level and celebrate National EMS Week, May 17-23, 2020. The campaign brings together key organizations, media partners and corporate sponsors that are committed to recognizing and fortifying the EMS community, commending recent groundbreaking accomplishments and increasing awareness of National EMS Week. “As we enter a new decade, we look ahead to the future of prehospital care. This future will include dramatic improvements in patient care, thanks to advances in research, information sharing and life- changing technology,” says William P. Jaquis, MD, FACEP, President of ACEP. “During National EMS Week, and throughout the year, we are proud to recognize EMS and fire professionals who tirelessly serve their communities (more…)

Remembering Joe Huffman

It is with great sadness the American Ambulance Association announces the passing of long-time member and leader Joe Huffman. Obituary  Joe (Joel Claude) Huffman, a long- time member of the American Ambulance Association Board of Directors answered his Last Call July 1, 2019. after a long battle with Leukemia. Born August 11, 1954, Mr. Huffman died at his home in Garland surrounded by his family and friends. From his funeral service at First United Methodist Church of Richardson Mr. Huffman was taken in an ambulance rather than a hearse to Grove Hill Memorial  Park in Dallas The funeral procession included 17 ambulances and 14  command vehicles, as well as a police honor guard  and other mourners.  Following a rendition of Amazing Grace on  bagpipes first responders performed The Last Call ceremony. A licensed paramedic, Mr. Huffman was also active in professional organizations, serving on the board of directors of American Ambulance Association for 18 years and as a member many more years. He served as president of the Texas Ambulance Association for two years, and was on its executive board many of the more than 30 years he was a member While president of the Texas Ambulance Association, Mr. Huffman (more…)

Wisconsin Office of Rural Health Interview

In honor of today’s National Rural Health Day, the American Ambulance Association interviewed John Eich, Director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. The transcript below was lightly edited for clarity. Amanda Riordan: Thank you for joining us today. My name is Amanda Riordan, and I am the vice president of member services for the American Ambulance Association. I’m also the administrator for the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to interview John Eich, the director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. John is an exceptional contributor to rural health in Wisconsin. He’s also a sterling advocate for the power of EMS to assist with public health in the least accessible areas of Wisconsin. I’ll ask John a couple of questions today about the recent Rural EMS Listening Sessions that he conducted in a number of areas across the state. John, thanks again for joining us. Would you mind telling me a little bit about your background and how you became the director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health? John Eich: I appreciate your inviting me to talk about some of our programs, so thank you. I took a bit of a wandering (more…)

4 Tips: Add Empathy to EMS Care

Empathy is about trying to understand, as best we can, someone else’s situation or experience. The question is, do we in EMS truly understand the word? Are we empathetical to ourselves and to the people we work with? While some say that empathy comes from proper upbringing, today’s decline in civility means we see less and less of it displayed. A major contributing factor is the “tough” exterior we favor in each other: how often have you heard comments like “come on, just suck it up buttercup,” “you need to be tougher than that to be a medic,” or “we’re EMS, we eat our young.” Why are we like this, and why can’t we reinforce the empathy that naturally resides in all of us? Empathy is a big part of our jobs, and we need to teach it to our students, our employees and each other. People need to feel that it’s OK to be empathetic and that it’s a natural part of the whole EMS picture. One of the best techniques to foster empathy is active listening — not only to our patients but also to staff and co-workers. When you actively listen, you H.E.A.R. …  Halt: Stop whatever (more…)

Your EMS Reputation Depends on Three Cs

Your EMS Reputation Depends on Three Cs—Credentials, Courtesy, Community In EMS, your reputation is critical. Your character moves with you from provider to provider and from squad to squad; EMS is a small world where people know about you before you even step foot in the door. People react to you based on judgments from not only real life, but also your digital life. With Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other social media networks so prevalent today, your social media profile serves as the basis of your reputation both professionally and privately. Unfortunately, social media blunders abound among EMS providers, affecting their reputations and their future hiring ability. You can find hundreds of examples doing a quick online search; here are just two. Three South Carolina responders fired for making statements like “idiots shutting down I-126. Better not be there when I get off work …” (Kaplan, 2016, para. 3) A Brockton, Mass. dispatcher who said of a pregnant overdose patient, “She needs to be left to rot …” (Shephard, 2018, para. 5) A better way to think of your reputation is the “Three Cs” — Credentials, Courtesy and Community. Credentials may also be called Continuing Education, as it’s vital to...

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Make a Difference: EMS and Human Trafficking

When we think of trafficking, we generally think of drugs or weapons, not human beings. Yet the problem exists in numerous communities where EMS responders deliver care. Human trafficking is defined by the United Nations as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means for an improper purpose.” (End Slavery Now, 2018, para. 1) A more succinct definition comes from Kathryn Brinsfield, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Homeland Security: “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery.” (DHS, 2017, para. 3) Why is this so important in today’s EMS field? We are the first on scene, we are the ones invited inside where others are not and we are the ones who see an injured person’s environment.  Our interactions with others can help us spot some of the tell-tale indicators. Unfortunately, there are many reasons people are trafficked: Domestic Slavery: People are brought into private homes to work as slave labor, with no options to leave. Sex Trafficking: Children, men and women are forced into the commercial sex industry Forced and Bonded Labor: People are forced to work under the threat of violence for no pay — often to repay (more…)

Changing the Face of EMS for the New Century

EMS has always been the forefront of medicine, delivering care to the sick and injured in various roles dating as far back as the Civil War. It has come a long way from the days of horse and buggy. Yet, where are we going now? One look at the trajectory of Nursing indicates where we are headed. When Nursing first started, the profession was comprised of caring women who were viewed and treated as indentured servants, subservient to the male dominated physicians. Nursing evolved when the “servant” became educated. What followed were thousands of women beginning to diagnose, conduct research and improve outcomes in the healthcare field. Soon thereafter, they broke free of the care assistant model they were in. I see EMS following the same path. The ambulance industry started out as transporters, with a curriculum that was adopted and funded by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The industry has roots in DOT, Police Departments, Fire Departments and the military, but are truly physician extenders that should be firmly rooted in Health Departments. EMS is now developing a language, doing research, obtaining national accreditation for our schools, even supporting continuing education with CAPCE. But we need to do more. (more…)

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…)

In Memory of Lahiri Garcia & Paul Besaw (AMR Palm Beach/Broward)

The American Ambulance Association was deeply saddened to learn that Lahiri Garcia (51) and Paul Besaw (36) were killed on June 1 in the line of duty. Both were longstanding and respected team members at AMR Palm Beach/Broward County in Florida. In an interview with WPTV, AMR Regional Director Bill Hall said, “The AMR family has lost two amazing people. They were dedicated husbands, fathers, friends and teammates. Our thoughts are with both families during this difficult time. Lahiri and Paul will be greatly missed. Garcia and Besaw were committed to caring for others, and together they had nearly 40 years of service for AMR and the community.” “Thank you all for your kind thoughts and sentiments during the past few days. This week, we celebrate the lives of our fallen colleagues, Paul Besaw and Lahiri Garcia, who tragically lost their lives in an unfortunate ambulance accident last Thursday morning,” said Terance Ramotar, regional director of AMR. “These two gentleman have dedicated their lives to the EMS profession and we are preparing a tribute on Thursday to honor their service.” A processional, followed by funeral services, is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 2017, at Courtyard Gardens of Jupiter, FL, located at 1790 (more…)