AAA Sends Letter to Requesting Priority Testing for First Responders
Earlier today, the AAA sent a letter to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) requesting that first responders with COVID-19 symptoms be given priority one status in the order of groups to be tested for COVID-19. The USPHS had issued guidance that assigned first responders a level two status. The AAA stated paramedics and EMTs should be included in the top level with other health care professionals who are on the front lines of caring for patients with COVID-19. Read the Letter HERE.
Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a vote of 388 to 5 the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The United States Senate had passed the legislation by unanimous consent on Tuesday evening. The legislation is a bridge package between the CARES Act and Stimulus Package 4 which is still under development.
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provides an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established under the CARES Act. The PPP had run out of its initial funding on April 9 and the program has been closed to new applications. The PPP provides businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including ambulance service organizations, with access to loans at favorable terms to cover employee payroll for eight weeks. A borrower can have all or a portion of the loan forgiven depending on the percentage of retained employees.
The legislation also allocates an additional $75 billion in funds for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF). Like the initial $100 billion funding from the CARES Act, these funds are intended to provide economic relief to health care providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. AAA members received direct grant money a few weeks ago under the PHSSEF in the form of an additional Medicare payment. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will have the discretion to determine how the additional $75 billion is made available to health care providers. The AAA continues to advocate directly with senior HHS officials for ground ambulance service suppliers and providers to receive a share of funds proportional to our role health care providers on the front line of the pandemic.
The final provision of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provides additional funding for testing and research related to COVID-19 through the remainder of 2020.
The AAA with the help of our members had pushed for additional funding under the PHSSEF and were successful. We now need to ensure that the actual funds make their way to our members.
The AAA leadership and staff will continue to tirelessly advocate for the much-needed relief to ensure that our members can keep their doors open, receive the equipment necessary to protect their staff, and the resources to provide excellence in mobile healthcare. We will keep you abreast of our advocacy efforts as well as how to access funding under the PHSSEF as soon as the details become available.
This week, AAA members were once again on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress. AAA Government Affairs Committee Chair, Jamie Pafford-Gresham of Pafford EMS, met with entire Congressional Arkansas delegation. While on the Hill, Jamie also met with members from Oklahoma and Mississippi. AAA Board Member, Kim Godden (Superior Air-Ground Ambulance), Payment Reform Committee Chair, Asbel Montes (Acadian Ambulance Service), and AMR VP Federal Reimbursement & Regulatory Affairs, Deb Gault were also on the Hill for meetings this week. Collectively the group met with over twenty Congressional offices this week. Thank you to all of our members for their hard work fighting for permanent Medicare relief. We appreciate you taking the time to visit Washington and meet with your representatives.
Pafford EMS CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, and Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas
Pafford EMS CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas Have you met recently with a Member of Congress? Are you interested in getting involved with the AAA’s advocacy efforts? If so, email Aidan Camas at email@example.com!
AAA Board Member and Chair of the AAA’s new Non-Emergency Task Force, Kim Godden, Vice President of Legal & Government Relations at Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service, Inc., recently had the opportunity to meet with new Vice President, Mike Pence. Kim worked with the Vice President during his time as Governor of Indiana and used this meeting to remind the Vice President of issues facing ambulance services around the country. Kim was also able to relay to Vice President Pence how important permanent Medicare relief is for ambulance services around the country. Thank you, Kim, for all of your hard work on the AAA’s advocacy efforts!
Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service, Inc. President/CEO, David Hill III, Vice President, Mike Pence,
and Superior VP of Legal & Government Relations
Have you met recently with a Member of Congress? Are you interested in getting involved with the AAA’s advocacy efforts? If so, email Aidan Camas at firstname.lastname@example.org!