EMS.gov | On-Demand Webinar | Experts Address the Next Phase of the Pandemic

From EMS.gov on April 21

EMS and Public Health Experts Address the Next Phase of the Pandemic

In last month’s EMS Focus webinar, “What the Vaccine Means for EMS Operations,” Florida’s State EMS Medical Director, Kenneth Scheppke, MD, and Commander Bryan Christensen, PhD, with the US Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tackled topics ranging from PPE to quarantine rules to the long-term impacts of the pandemic on EMS.

Download Slide Deck

Millions of EMS clinicians and members of the public across the nation have now received a COVID-19 vaccine. But exactly what does that mean for EMS systems and organizations? In this webinar, learn what we know, and what we don’t know yet, about how the vaccines are changing our approach to the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll hear from experts helping to create and implement guidance for EMS services during these unprecedented times. They’ll address topics such as:

  • Testing and quarantine implications
  • EMS clinicians who have not been vaccinated
  • Vaccines and coronavirus variants
    Lessons learned for the next pandemic

Presenters:

  • Bryan E. Christensen, PhD, is an epidemiologist and industrial hygienist with the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is also an environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. During the COVID-19 response, Bryan has been deployed in several capacities and has served on the Prehospital/EMS Team as part of the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group.
  • Kenneth A. Scheppke, MD, FAEMS, is Florida’s State EMS medical director. A board-certified EMS and emergency physician, he also serves as chief medical officer for several fire-rescue agencies in southeast Florida, and has been a leader in the state’s response to coronavirus.
  • Jon Krohmer, MD, director of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and team lead for the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group EMS/Prehospital Team, will moderate.

ASPR TRACIE Newsletter April 2021

From HHS ASPR TRACIE Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Information Gateway

This issue of The Express highlights the following new/updated resources:

Please continue to access our Novel Coronavirus Resources Page, the National Institutes of Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines, and CDC’s Coronavirus webpage, and reach out if you need technical assistance (TA).

New: COVID-19 and the Changing Healthcare Delivery Landscape (Speaker Series)
Paul Biddinger, MD, FACEP, Medical Director, Emergency Preparedness, Mass General Brigham; Mark Jarrett, MD, MBA, MS, Chief Quality Officer, SVP & Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Northwell Health; and Meghan Treber, MS, ICF TRACIE Program Director, HHS ASPR highlight the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare delivery (e.g., supply chain, patients delaying emergency care, the delay of elective procedures, and financial impacts to the healthcare system) in this brief recording. Access the rest of the Healthcare Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic speaker series for more information.
Updated: Healthcare Delivery Impacts Tip Sheet and Summary Document
This updated tip sheet describes the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 related community mitigation measures on the healthcare system, including morbidity and mortality from chronic health conditions and lack of access. The accompanying summary document can help healthcare system planners prepare to mitigate these potential healthcare delivery impacts.
New: Acute Care Delivery at Home Tip Sheet
Some healthcare providers and systems have been providing hospital-level care in patient’s homes for years; others have implemented acute care delivery at home models in response to overcrowding at hospitals due to COVID-19. This tip sheet provides an overview of characteristics of various types of acute care delivery at home programs to help healthcare providers better understand this care model.
Issue 12: COVID-19 and Healthcare Professional Stress and Resilience
The articles in Issue 12 of The Exchange focus on three categories: understanding acute and chronic stressors in the healthcare worker population, identifying at-risk employees, and promising practices in building resilience. Be on the lookout for Issue 13, which will focus on the significant contributions made by supportive care providers and healthcare engineering representatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mind Over Matter: Strategies to Help Combat the Coronavirus Blues
This document (created by the COVID-19 Schools Task Force, FEMA Region VII, and HHS Region 7) summarizes the contents of the Mind Over Matter Resource Guide, which can be used to support messaging for college and university campus communities to help combat COVID-19 fatigue and promote general wellness, both during and after the pandemic.
UCSD Health Medical Cyber Disaster Preparedness Study
The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is interested in better understanding how cybersecurity and cyber attacks impact our hospital systems and how we can better prepare in the future. This brief survey will provide a basic understanding of where we stand nationally on healthcare cyber preparedness. Your responses will be kept confidential and all data will be deidentified and reported in FEMA regions. The survey should take approximately five minutes to complete. You will receive no compensation for your participation and participation in this research is voluntary. The principal investigator of this study can be contacted at:

 

Dr. Christian Dameff, MD

University of California San Diego

Department of Emergency Medicine

200 W. Arbor Dr. #8676

San Diego, CA 92103

 

COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice are a collaborative effort between ASPR, the National Emerging Special Pathogen Training and Education Center (NETEC), and Project ECHO. These interactive virtual learning sessions aim to create a peer-to-peer learning network where clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes; a generous amount of time for participant Q & A is also provided. These webinar topics are covered every week:

  1. EMS: Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM ET)
  2. Critical Care: Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM ET)
  3. Emergency Department: Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM ET)

Access previous webinars and special topic sessions and sign up today to receive information on upcoming events.

CMS Increases Medicare Payment for COVID-19 Vaccinations

CMS Increases Medicare Payment for COVID-19 Vaccinations

 

                                                                        By Brian S. Werfel, Esq.

On March 15, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would be increasing the Medicare payment amount for administrations of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The original Medicare reimbursement rate depended, in part, on whether the vaccine being administered required a two-dose regimen (as is the case for the Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna vaccines), or a single dose (Johnson & Johnson vaccine).  For vaccinations that require a two-dose regime, CMS initially paid: (1) $16.04 for the administration of the first dose and (2) $28.39 for the administration of the second dose.  For vaccines that require only a single dose, Medicare paid $28.39 for the administration of that single dose.

Effective for vaccinations administered on or after March 15, 2021, CMS has increased these payments to $40 per administration.  Thus, the total reimbursement for a vaccine requiring a single dose will be $40, while the total reimbursement for a vaccine requiring a two-dose regimen will be $80.

CMS | Increased Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

From CMS on March 15

Biden-Harris Administration Increases Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

On March 15, CMS increased the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. This new and higher payment rate will support important actions taken by providers that are designed to increase the number of vaccines they can furnish each day, including establishing new or growing existing vaccination sites, conducting patient outreach and education, and hiring additional staff. At a time when vaccine supply is growing, CMS is supporting provider efforts to expand capacity and ensure that all Americans can be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Effective for COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, 2021, the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and many other immunizers will be $40 to administer each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment rate for administration of each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will depend on the type of entity that furnishes the service and will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.

These updates to the Medicare payment rate for COVID-19 vaccine administration reflect new information about the costs involved in administering the vaccine for different types of providers and suppliers, and the additional resources necessary to ensure the vaccine is administered safely and appropriately.

CMS is updating the set of toolkits for providers, states, and insurers to help the health care system swiftly administer the vaccine with these new Medicare payment rates. These resources are designed to increase the number of providers that can administer the vaccine, ensure adequate payment for administering the vaccine to Medicare beneficiaries, and make it clear that no beneficiary, whether covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, should pay cost-sharing for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines:

As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers are prohibited from charging patients any amount for administration of the vaccine. To ensure broad and consistent coverage across programs and payers, the toolkits have specific information for several programs, including:

Medicare: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible.

Medicare Advantage (MA): For calendar years 2020 and 2021, Medicare will pay providers directly for the COVID-19 vaccine (if they do not receive it for free) and its administration for beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans. MA plans are not responsible for paying providers to administer the vaccine to MA enrollees during this time. Like beneficiaries in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage enrollees also pay no cost-sharing for COVID-19 vaccines.

Medicaid: State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program agencies must provide vaccine administration with no cost sharing for nearly all beneficiaries during the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and at least one year after it ends. Through the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the COVID vaccine administration will be fully federally funded. The law also provides an expansion of individuals eligible for vaccine administration coverage. There will be more information provided in upcoming updates to the Medicaid toolkit.

Private Plans: CMS, along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, is requiring that most private health plans and issuers cover the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration, both in-network and out-of-network, with no cost sharing during the PHE. Current regulations provide that out-of-network rates must be reasonable, as compared to prevailing market rates, and reference the Medicare reimbursement rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies. In light of CMS’s increased Medicare payment rates, CMS will expect commercial carriers to continue to ensure that their rates are reasonable in comparison to prevailing market rates.

Uninsured: For individuals who are uninsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals without insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

More Information:

 

Webinar 3/25 | What the Vaccine Means for EMS Operations

From EMS.gov

What the Vaccine Means for EMS Operations

Tune in on Thursday, March 25, at 1 pm ET for the latest edition of EMS Focus, a federal webinar series hosted by NHTSA’s Office of EMS

Register Now

Millions of EMS clinicians and members of the public across the nation have now received a COVID-19 vaccine. But exactly what does that mean for EMS systems and organizations? In this webinar, learn what we know, and what we don’t know yet, about how the vaccines are changing our approach to the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll hear from experts helping to create and implement guidance for EMS services during these unprecedented times. They’ll address topics such as:

  • Testing and quarantine implications
  • EMS clinicians who have not been vaccinated
  • Vaccines and coronavirus variants

Register Now

Panelists Include:

Bryan E. Christensen, PhD, is an epidemiologist and industrial hygienist with the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is also an environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. During the COVID-19 response, Bryan has been deployed in several capacities and has served on the Prehospital/EMS Team as part of the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group.

Kenneth A. Scheppke, MD, FAEMS, is Florida’s State EMS medical director. A board-certified EMS and emergency physician, he also serves as chief medical officer for several fire-rescue agencies in southeast Florida, and has been a leader in the state’s response to coronavirus.

Jon Krohmer, MD, director of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and team lead for the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group EMS/Prehospital Team, will moderate the webinar.

Attendees will be encouraged to submit questions during any point of the discussion. The webinar and Q&A will last approximately one hour.

About EMS Focus

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

EMS.gov | Training Resources for Vaccination Programs Using EMTs

From EMS.gov on February 10

These resources can serve as just in time training for vaccination programs utilizing emergency medical technicians:

Training video on COVID-19 intramuscular vaccine administration
This video created by the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) can be used to provide EMTs with didactic knowledge to administer IM injections. With the exception of the MIEMSS link referenced in the video, it can be used by EMTs in any state or territory. It should be accompanied by a skills assessment, which is discussed below.

Intramuscular Injection Skill Checklist
A clinical skills assessment checklist for EMTs preparing to administer IM injections.

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Training for EMTs
A written description of the skills required of EMTs to administer the vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine Comparison
A simple side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer and Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccines

Vaccine Update Video
In this presentation from late January 2021, Florida State EMS Medical Director Kenneth Scheppke, MD, provides an overview of the latest science related to COVID vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination Training Programs and Reference Materials for Healthcare Professionals
CDC recommended resources to prepare healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

EMS Vaccine Administration Program Manual
This guide from the State of Indiana can serve as a resource to help state and local officials and EMS organizations with the creation and implementation of EMS vaccination programs.

CDC | Essential Workers Vaccine Communication Toolkit

CDC has designed a COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.

Access Toolkit

The toolkit contains a variety of resources including:

  • key messages,
  • an educational slide deck,
  • FAQs,
  • posters/flyers,
  • newsletter content,
  • a plain language vaccine factsheet (available in several different languages),
  • a template letter for employees,
  • social media content, and
  • vaccination sticker templates.

This toolkit will help your organization educate employees about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.
Access Toolkit

LODD Grants | Brave of Heart Fund

The Brave of Heart Fund provides monetary grants to eligible family members of frontline healthcare workers, healthcare volunteers and healthcare support staff who have lost their lives because of COVID-19. A spouse or domestic partner, a dependent child, or dependent parent are eligible. The Fund also offers behavioral and emotional support services from Cigna and grief coping resources from New York Life.

Established by the Foundations of New York Life and Cigna, the Brave of Heart Fund is owned and administered by E4E Relief, a disaster relief-focused subsidiary of Foundation For The Carolinas, a Section 501(c)(3) public charity.

Learn More & Apply

Eligible Healthcare Workers

For the purpose of the Brave of Heart Fund, an eligible healthcare worker is a person who lived in the U.S. at time of death and who worked or volunteered in or for a:

  • Licensed hospital
  • Medical center or clinic
  • Nursing home
  • Medical transport vehicle
  • Triage center
  • Other licensed medical facility, provider or setting

Also those who worked or volunteered as an emergency medical technician, ambulance technician or paramedic and who died from COVID-19-related causes any time through May 15, 2021.

Grants Description

There are two phases of grants available. Eligible expenses vary based upon which grant phase the eligible family member is applying . You may be eligible for both a Phase 1 and Phase 2 grant.

Phase 1

Phase 1 assistance is intended to cover expenses related to funeral and burial costs.

The family member who is eligible for a Phase 1 grant is the family member who is responsible for the funeral/burial expenses. Only one family member is eligible for a Phase 1 grant.

Phase 1 grants are $15,000. Only one Phase 1 grant is available in connection with each eligible healthcare worker or healthcare volunteer.

Phase 2

Phase 2 assistance is intended to cover long-term expenses such as food, clothing, housing, basic essential utilities, daycare/ childcare expenses, educational expenses, counseling, medical expenses for deceased healthcare worker, and transportation.

The family member(s) who is eligible for a Phase 2 grant is the family member(s) who was dependent on the deceased healthcare worker’s income for those expenses.

Phase 2 grants range up to $60,000 per eligible healthcare worker.
The exact amount will depend on a variety of factors including the applicant’s demonstration of financial need and the number of
eligible beneficiaries.

Learn More & Apply

For answers to frequently asked questions, including questions about eligibility, visit braveofheartfund.com/FAOs. Grant awards are discretionary and e final determination of grant eligibility and amounts will be made by E4E Relief, which is the public charity that owns and administers the Fund.

Questions about the Fund: (855) 334-7932 or email: questions@replyemail.braveofheartfund.com
Learn More & Apply

CDC ACIP | Reccs for Allocating Initial COVID-19 Vaccines

From the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020

What is already known about this topic?

Demand is expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national COVID-19 vaccination program.

What is added by this report?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended, as interim guidance, that both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities be offered COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the vaccination program.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Federal, state, and local jurisdictions should use this guidance for COVID-19 vaccination program planning and implementation. ACIP will consider vaccine-specific recommendations and additional populations when a Food and Drug Administration–authorized vaccine is available.

Continue Reading

Dooling K, McClung N, Chamberland M, et al. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 3 December 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6949e1

ASPR | The Exchange | COVID-19 December Update #2

From the US Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)

Download The Exchange Newsletter PDF

This issue of The Express highlights the following new/updated resources:

Please continue to access our Novel Coronavirus Resources Page and CDC’s Coronavirus webpage and reach out if you need technical assistance (TA).

New! The Exchange, Issue 12–Special Edition: COVID-19 and Healthcare Professional Stress and ResilienceIn the months that have passed since a pandemic was declared, we have witnessed our nation’s healthcare providers working tirelessly to care for patients, with surges testing their facilities’ and their own personal resilience. This kind of work is grueling and can take a significant toll on physical and mental health. The resources developed for/highlighted in this issue can help individuals identify and address risk and the negative mental health effects of stress in themselves, their colleagues, and their staff.New: Crisis Standards of Care and COVID-19: What’s Working and What Isn’t?Speakers in this webinar discussed clinical consultation versus triage support, systems-level information sharing, coalition-level coordination activities, and recent publications/resources to help with planning efforts. Access those and the set of resources referenced during the webinar in our COVID-19 Crisis Standards of Care Resource Collection.New: Support for Overstretched Clinicians During the Ongoing PandemicIn this video, Dr. Eileen Barrett, Director of Continuous Medical Education and Graduate Medical Education Wellness Initiatives from the University of New Mexico, discusses proactive programs available to support staff during stressful times. Check out the related article in Issue 12 of The Exchange and the entire COVID-19 Healthcare Professional Stress and Resilience speaker series.New: Emergency Responder Self-Care Plan: Behavioral Health PPETaking care of oneself is difficult during a pandemic, where responders experience additional stressors related to home and personal circumstances as well as those brought on by challenging mission demands. This fillable form includes steps people can take to stay healthy and fit for duty while caring for others. The form can be completed before each mission/event and keep handy to help apply coping strategies when things get tough.New: Lessons Learned by a COVID-19 Designated HospitalThe speakers in this brief video share lessons learned when The University Hospital of Brooklyn, the primary teaching hospital for the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University, became the only COVID-19 designated hospital in Brooklyn.New: Armed Intruder/Active Shooter Training Module

This free short training module provides healthcare providers and other staff with an overview of strategies and protocols for an armed intruder/active shooter incident. Speakers describe the “run-hide-fight” and “secure-preserve-fight” approaches and share “Stop the Bleed” basics, a video for how to apply a tourniquet, and resources for managing stress. Though this training was created by the Mount Sinai Health System, it is applicable to other healthcare providers and healthcare systems.

 

COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice are a collaborative effort between ASPR, the National Emerging Special Pathogen Training and Education Center (NETEC), and Project ECHO. These interactive virtual learning sessions aim to create a peer-to-peer learning network where clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes; a generous amount of time for participant Q & A is also provided. These webinar topics are covered every week:

  • EMS: Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM ET)
  • Critical Care: Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM ET)
  • Emergency Department: Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM ET)

Access previous webinars and sign up today to receive information on upcoming webinars.

 

The Healthcare & Public Health Sector Partnership led by ASPR’s Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection is actively engaged in responding to COVID-19. Register here to receive regular response bulletins.

NHTSA COVID PPE & Resource Reporting Tool

NHTSA asks EMS agencies across the U.S. to take a few minutes each week to report PPE, personnel status within their agency.

EMS and its public safety colleagues continue to serve at the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Resource procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment and staffing shortages continue to challenge EMS leaders. It is vital that local, State and Federal officials have the information they need to help address these issues.

The NHTSA Office of EMS, with support from the team at the NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center, has designed a reporting tool to allow for a consistent, real-time method of reporting PPE supply status and personnel shortages. Your participation in the EMS COVID Resource Reporting Tool provides objective evidence to ensure your local agency’s resource status is understood by State and National EMS leadership, and that your resource needs are being prioritized.

While this information will be available to State and Federal Officials, this reporting tool does not supersede coordination with local and state emergency management, public health, or healthcare coalitions. Organizations should still follow local and state procedures for reporting information and requesting supplies or other additional resource needs.

NHTSA is asking agencies to take a few minutes each week, preferably on Monday mornings, to complete the online form. You can find the form, as well as a video and other information explaining how the information is used and how to complete the form, here.

For questions regarding this process, please contact nemsis@hsc.utah.edu.

EMS COVID Resource Reporting Tool

Rural EMS COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist

From the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group

Product (EMS47) Purpose

This checklist serves as a reference for rural response agencies to evaluate their current preparedness and identify areas that need further mitigation measures. The evaluation of checked items can serve as a guide to develop solutions. Further, if this process is used by partner agencies, strengths can be aligned to facilitate collaborative planning and maximize preparedness efforts.

Developed By

The Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group (HRWG) is leading the development of a comprehensive strategy for the US healthcare system to facilitate resiliency and responsiveness to the threats posed by COVID-19. The Working Group’s EMS/Pre-Hospital Team is comprised of public and private-sector EMS and 911 experts from a wide variety of agencies and focuses on responding to the needs of the pre-hospital community. This team includes subject matter experts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), National 911 Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), US Fire Administration (USFA), US Army, US Coast Guard (USCG), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and non- federal partners representing stakeholder groups. Through collaboration with experts in related fields, the team develops practical resources for field providers, supervisors, administrators, medical directors, and associations to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intended Audience

State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments (SLTTs), First Responders (Law Enforcement, Fire & Rescue, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and 911 communication personnel) with a focus on those in rural areas.

Expected Distribution Mechanism

EMS.gov, OEMS stakeholder Calls, EMS stakeholder organization’s membership distribution Email mechanisms, USFA website, HRWG external affairs, add to the HRWG Rural Tool kit, ASPR TRACIE, IHS Tribal EMS distribution list, EMS for Children (EMS-C) distribution, HRSA rural partners. Request assistance distributing to FEMA/HHS RECs

Primary Point of Contact

NHTSA Office of EMS, nhtsa.ems@dot.gov, 202-366-5440

Date Published August 26, 2020

Rural EMS COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist

Introduction

Emergency Medical Services in rural segments of the US are disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to a myriad of issues, including workforce, revenue, and other unique stressors present within the rural environment. Identification and development of preparedness and resilience efforts are imperative to ensure all facets of the response community have the knowledge and tools to effectively respond.

Purpose

This checklist is a reference for rural response agencies to use to evaluate their current position and identify areas that need further mitigation measures. The collection of checked items can serve as a template towards solution development. Further, if this same process is used by other partner agencies, collaboration between partners can facilitate cooperative planning and preparedness efforts that leverage the qualities of each organization.

Categories

Categorization will assist in focusing attention into specific areas, as needed. Although it is important to review all categories, many may not require the same amount of attention others. Additional items might be required in some categories since local needs will vary greatly across the country.

Planning

  • Engage with local emergency management agency, 911 call center, local health department, first responding partners (law enforcement, search and rescue, etc.), mutual aid agencies, local hospitals, and local long-term care facilities to identify needs and plan
  • Ensure agency infection control policies are consistent with local, state, and CDC’s COVID- 19 infection prevention
  • Review protocols, policies, and procedures for rapidly implementing appropriate infection control and prevention practices for potential COVID-19
  • Ensure availability of an adequate, clearly indicated areas for the disposal of biological/infectious waste in ambulances and facilities
  • Review and update Patient Care Reporting forms and programs to allow for reporting PPE use and shortages, special studies,
  • Ensure mutual aid processes / agreements are updated and
  • Determine if there are any higher-risk areas within your district that might pose a higher level of impact from COVID-19, such as nursing/long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, tribal communities,
  • Identify and define the process to engage telehealth consultation facilities for telehealth resources to respond to specific needs (e.g. one medical oversight resource vs separate facilities for primary care, cardiac, trauma, )
  • Determine the availability of alternative forms of transportation, such as rotary or fixed-wing aircraft to facilitate interfacility
  • Determine the procedures for contacting and required information to request rotary wing and fixed wing programs

Strategy

  • Monitor the COVID-19 pandemic at CDC’s COVID-19 website, state health department websites, and your local health
  • Review plans for implementation of surge capacity procedures and management of scarce resources by engaging local hospitals or acceptable alternate destinations and emergency management
  • Ensure processes are in place to engage FEMA, which begins with the emergency management processes via the local and state level management points of
  • Develop contingency plans for hospital reroute/diversion due to COVID positive patient or surge capacity issues
  • Develop a plan with local hospitals to manage inter-facility transport
  • Establish for a Medical Operations Coordination Cell (MOCC) if
  • Determine if a medical-centric Community Risk Reduction program benefits your community

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Supplies

  • Review hand hygiene policies and supplies (e.g., accessible alcohol-based hand rub).
  • Review supplies of appropriate
  • Plan how to obtain adequate supplies of appropriate -PPE.
  • Review supplies of appropriate cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., EPA-registered disinfectant appropriate for coronavirus in healthcare settings).

Workforce/Recruiting

  • Ensure prehospital providers who will provide patient care have been medically cleared, fit- tested, and trained for respirator .
  • Review policies and procedures for screening and work restrictions for exposed or ill providers ensuring that they have ready access, including via telephone, to medical consultation,
  • Provide education and training to prehospital providers regarding COVID-19 diagnosis, how to limit COVID-19 exposures, appropriate PPE use, effective communication with staff at healthcare facilities, sick leave policies, and how to report suspected COVID-19 cases within your agency along with procedures to take following unprotected exposures (e.g. not wearing recommended PPE).
  • Evaluate availability of current staff, including conflicting work assignments, second jobs, employee risk factors such as age, etc., to ensure an adequate level can be
  • Determine the need for procedures to ensure the safety of personnel when working in close quarters, such as social distancing, sleeping arrangement alteration,
  • Evaluate the need/benefit of adding or increasing financial incentives

Revenue/Funding

  • Evaluate the need for future expenses over the next 12
  • Evaluate and implement alternative fundraising
  • Identify state and / or federal assistance programs, grants, that could be beneficial, and consider pre-staging required information, forms,