NEMSAC | Webcast May 11-12

The National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) will host a virtual meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, May 11-12, 2022. Members of the public can register for the webcast here.

The NEMSAC meets several times each year to discuss issues facing the EMS community. Members of NEMSAC provide counsel and recommendations regarding EMS to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS).

Daily agendas include time for NEMSAC subcommittee deliberations in the morning and the publicly webcasted portion of the meetings begin at 1:00 pm ET, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, and 12:00 pm ET on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Items on the agenda include:

  • Updates from Federal Emergency Services Liaisons
  • Discussion about FICEMS & NHTSA Initiatives
  • Subcommittee Reports
  • Public comment

Individuals registered for the meeting who wish to address the council during the public comment periods can review the current draft and interim advisories and submit comments in writing to NHTSA.NEMSAC@dot.gov by 5:00 pm ET on May 3, 2022.

Draft advisories:

Interim advisory:

This meeting will be open to the public. NHTSA is committed to providing equal access to this meeting for all program participants. Persons with disabilities in need of accommodation should send their request to Clary Mole by phone at (202) 868-3275 or by email at Clary.Mole@dot.gov no later than May 3, 2022. A sign language interpreter will be provided and closed captioning services will be provided for this meeting through the WebEx virtual meeting platform.

Register Now

Notice of Public Meeting: This notice announces a meeting of the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC).

www.federalregister.gov

CMS | Ambulance Ground Transport: Comparative Billing Report in April

From CMS on April 21, 2022

In late April, CMS will issue a Comparative Billing Report (CBR) on Medicare Part B claims for ambulance ground transport. Use the data-driven report to compare your billing practices with those of peers in your state and across the nation.

CBRs aren’t publicly available. Look for an email from cbrpepper.noreply@religroupinc.com to access your report. Update your email address in the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System to ensure delivery.

For More Information:

CAAS | GVS V3.0 Draft for Public Comment #2

CAAS_Logo_Final_for_Avectra_200by200.jpg
Driven to a Higher Standard
CAAS Releases GVS V3.0 Draft for Public Comment #2
CAAS GVS Announcement
GVS-LOGO-V3-1BD-FINAL-200by2200px(1)_2106244.jpg

The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) formed a Ground Vehicle Standard Revision Committee to develop V3.0 of the GVS document.  Based on industry collaboration, this Committee has developed a list of proposed changes to V2.0.

Based on the feedback received during Public Comment Period #1, CAAS has now opened Public Comment Period #2, which starts April 1, 2022 and concludes May 31, 2022. In accordance with ANSI protocol, only items that have been changed through the Public Comment #1 period are open for additional comment and review during this second period. Those items are highlighted in yellow on the attached proposal document. Comments on other provisions are not accepted during this process. Interested parties who care to comment on the changes should complete the online feedback form and submit their input during this public comment period. The GVS Committee will review all submissions received during the Public Comment Period #2 and will consider each of the comments received. The CAAS GVS V3.0 document has a scheduled effective date of July 1, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Mark Van Arnam, Administrator, CAAS GVS.

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Other

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Other

Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS)

1926 Waukegan Road Phone: (847) 657-6828
Suite 300 Fax: (847) 657-6825
Glenview, Illinois E-mail: CAAS Staff
60025-1770 Website: www.caas.org

NACIDD & NACSD | Public Meetings 4/1 & 4/6

From ASPR on March 31, 2022

The National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters (NACSD) and the National Advisory Committee on Individuals with Disabilities and Disasters (NACIDD) will soon host public meetings of these two advisory committees.

The next NACIDD meeting takes place on Friday, April 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET and the next NACSD meeting is on Wednesday, April 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET.

Join board members, distinguished guests, federal leaders, and other experts to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and priorities in meeting the unique health needs of older adult populations and people with disabilities during and after disasters and public health emergencies.

Advanced registration for these meetings is required and can be accessed, along with additional meeting agendas and public information, through the online event pages for the NACIDD and NACSD.

The agendas for each of the next meetings include time to hear from the public. The floor will be open to hear as many relevant comments as possible. To learn how to request a speaking time, please visit each committee’s event page. You can send questions about the NACSD to NACSD@hhs.gov and questions about the NACIDD to NACIDD@hhs.gov.

HHS PRF | EMS Funding Letter to Secretary Becerra

Download PDF Letter

March 24, 2022

The Honorable Xavier Becerra
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Becerra:

Ground ambulance service organizations and fire departments continue to struggle financially from the enduring economic effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Our respective members face sharp increases in the costs of fuel, equipment, medical supplies, and staffing as we deal with a severe shortage of paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) which has been an issue for years but exacerbated by the pandemic. We implore you to help ensure communities around the country have access to 9-1-1 emergency and non-emergency ground ambulance services through the remainder of the PHE and beyond with an infusion of $350 million from returned and/or unspent money in the Provider Relief Fund (PRF).

We greatly appreciate the funding that ground ambulance service organizations and fire departments have already received from the PRF. The funds have been a lifeline for many of our respective members and their ability to continue to serve their communities. However, as the Phase 4 distribution of funds demonstrated, more funding is needed for ground ambulance services. Our members indicate the funds they received in Phase 4 covered approximately 50% of their lost reimbursement and increased costs from July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, whereas previous distributions were closer to 88%. We therefore respectfully request an immediate distribution of $350 million or 10% of the annual Medicare expenditure on ground ambulance services.

We request that the funds be distributed in a similar manner as the Tranche 1 distribution from the PRF. The automatic, across-the-board deposit of funding was especially helpful for small and rural ground ambulance service organizations. These rural organizations provide care in underserved areas and are often daunted even by an abbreviated application process. To ensure equity for all communities, we support universal direct deposit.

Additionally, we encourage HHS to make these payments based on the National Provider Identification (NPI) number of the ground ambulance service organization or fire department rather than Tax ID Number (TIN). In the case of moderate and large cities, many municipal departments may share a TIN while maintaining distinct NPIs. Providing these payments according to TIN may unintentionally comingle funds intended for different departments such as fire departments, public health departments, and local government-run hospitals or clinics.

The American Ambulance Association (AAA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), and National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) represent the providers of vital emergency and non-emergency ground ambulance services and the paramedics, EMTs and firefighters who deliver the direct medical care and transport for every community across the United States.

Our members take on substantial risk every day to treat, transport, and test potential COVID-19 patients, and play a vital role in providing vaccinations to individuals in their homes. Ground ambulance service organizations and fire departments, however, urgently need the additional

$350 million to help offset the increased costs and lower reimbursement resulting from our vital response to the pandemic.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

American Ambulance Association

International Association of Fire Chiefs

International Association of Fire Fighters

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

National Volunteer Fire Council

NASEMSO | Model EMS Clinical Guidelines v3

From NASEMSO on March 23, 2022

The NASEMSO Model EMS Clinical Guidelines project team is delighted to unveil Version 3 of the National Model EMS Clinical Guidelines. In completing Version 3, the project team has reviewed and updated all existing guidelines, as well as added four new guidelines. Version 3 of the Guidelines, similar to the original version released in 2014, was completed by a team of EMS and specialty physicians comprised of members of the NASEMSO Medical Directors Council and representatives from six EMS medical director stakeholder organizations. In addition, all guidelines were reviewed by a team of pediatric emergency medicine physicians, pharmacologists and other technical reviewers.

Overview

The National Model EMS Clinical Guidelines Project was first initiated by NASEMSO in 2012 and has produced three versions of model clinical guidelines for EMS: the first in 2014, a revision 2017, and now this third version in 2022. The guidelines were created as a resource to be used or adapted for use on a state, regional or local level to enhance prehospital patient care and can be viewed here. These model protocols are offered to any EMS entity that wishes to use them, in full or in part. The model guidelines project has been led by the NASEMSO Medical Directors Council in collaboration with six national EMS physician organizations, including: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine (AAP-COPEM), American College of Surgeons, Committee on Trauma (ACS-COT) and Air Medical Physician Association (AMPA). Co-Principal Investigators, Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Richard Kamin, led the development of all three versions. Countless hours of review and edits are contributed by subject matter experts and EMS stakeholders who responded with comments and recommendations during the public comment period.

NASEMSO gratefully acknowledges the Technical Expert Panel, the Technical Reviewers, and many others who volunteered their time and talents to ensure the success of this project.

The comprehensive review and revision of these guidelines was made possible by funding support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS and the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau EMS for Children Program.

For More Information

Andy Gienapp, MS, NRP
Deputy Executive Director
andy@nasemso.org

HHS IEA | COVID-19 Update for March 21, 2022

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs COVID-19 Update for
March 21, 2022  
CASE UPDATE
New Cases (based on 7-day rolling average)

  • 79,571,321 U.S. cases
  • 17.3% decrease in new cases (7-day average), as of March 18, 2022

Testing

  • 837,949,940 tests completed (3/21)
  • 2.3% positive test rate as of the week of 3/11 – 3/17/22 (was 2.7 % last week)

Hospitalizations

  • 4,581,254 total COVID hospital admissions (3/18)
  • The 7-day average (3/12 – 3/18) number of new confirmed COVID-19 admissions decreased from 2,642 to 2,010 admissions per day

Deaths

  • 969,114 total U.S. deaths
  • The 7-day average (3/12 – 3/18) number of reported deaths decreased from 1,199 to 973 deaths per day

Vaccines

  • 558,678,770 vaccine doses administered (3/21/22)
  • 76.8% (255 million people) of the population has received 1 or more doses and 65.4% (217.1 million people) of the population have been fully vaccinated
  • 81.6% of people five years and older have received at least 1 dose and 69.5% have been fully vaccinated
VACCINE UPDATES
COVID-19 Vaccines Continue to Protect Against Hospitalization and Death Among Adults: CDC released a statement that COVID-19 vaccination continues to help protect adults against severe illness with COVID-19, including hospitalizations and death, according to two reports released in last week’s MMWR . During Omicron, COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates increased for all adults, regardless of vaccination status, but rates were 12 times higher among adults who were unvaccinated compared to adults who received a booster or additional doses. Hospitalization rates were also highest among non-Hispanic Black adults and nearly 4 times as high among Black adults than White adults during the peak of Omicron. CDC continues to recommend that everyone 5 years and older stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including a booster dose for those who are eligible. We also must work to ensure everyone has equitable access to vaccines and treatments by focusing efforts on reaching people who have been disproportionately affected, so that they can be protected from the effects of the virus, including severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

FDA to Hold Advisory Committee Meeting on COVID-19 Vaccines to Discuss Future Boosters: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a virtual meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Wednesday, April 6, to discuss considerations for future COVID-19 vaccine booster doses and the process for selecting specific strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus for COVID-19 vaccines to address current and emerging variants. Along with the independent experts of the advisory committee, representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health will participate in the meeting.

One-Year Anniversary of Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program: Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized the one-year anniversary of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA)  Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program , which received funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and has provided COVID-19 vaccines directly to thousands of HRSA-supported health center sites nationwide. To date, health centers have administered more than 20 million vaccines in underserved communities across the country through the HRSA program and partnerships with states.

TESTING AND TREATMENT
FDA Safety Communication on At-Home COVID-19 Tests: The FDA  issued a safety communication  to alert people of the potential for harm if FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests are not used according to the manufacturer’s test instructions. The FDA is also reminding people to keep the tests out of reach from children and pets. The FDA has received reports of injuries caused by the incorrect use of at-home COVID-19 tests, such as people putting the test chemicals in their eyes, due to the small vials of test solution were mistaken for eye drops. The FDA is also aware of children putting small plastic vials in their mouth and swallowing test solution. This safety communication provides:

  • Recommendations for people using FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests
  • Background on the issue and the FDA’s actions
  • Instructions for reporting problems with at-home COVID-19 testing to the FDA

EUA for At-Home Test: The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for PHASE Scientific International, Ltd.’s INDICAID COVID-19 Rapid Antigen At-Home Test, an OTC #COVID19 antigen diagnostic on March 16. The FDA is committed to increase the availability of appropriately accurate and reliable at-home COVID19 diagnostic tests, and to facilitate consumer access to these tests.

RESEARCH
COVID-19-Associated Hospitalizations Among Adults During SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron Variant Predominance: CDC released an MMWR on COVID-19-associated hospitalizations among adults during SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variant predominance by race/ethnicity and vaccination status from fourteen states between July 2021 – January 2022. SARS-CoV-2 infections can result in COVID-19–associated hospitalizations, even among vaccinated persons. In January 2022, unvaccinated adults and those vaccinated with a primary series, but no booster or additional dose, were 12 and three times as likely to be hospitalized, respectively, as were adults who received booster or additional doses. Hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black adults increased more than rates in other racial/ethnic groups. All adults should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination to reduce their risk for COVID-19–associated hospitalization. Implementing strategies that result in the equitable receipt of COVID-19 vaccinations among persons with disproportionately higher hospitalizations rates, including non-Hispanic Black adults, is an urgent public health priority.

Effectiveness of mRNA Vaccination in Preventing COVID-19-Associated Invasive Mechanical Ventilation and Death: CDC released an MMWR on the effectiveness of mRNA vaccination in preventing COVID-19-associated invasive mechanical ventilation and death in the United States from March 2021 – January 2022. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines provide protection against COVID-19 hospitalization among adults. However, how well mRNA vaccines protect against the most severe outcomes of COVID-19–related illness, including use of invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) or death, is uncertain. Receiving 2 or 3 doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was associated with a 90% reduction in risk for COVID-19–associated IMV or death. Protection of 3 mRNA vaccine doses during the period of Omicron predominance was 94%. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are highly effective in preventing the most severe forms of COVID-19. CDC recommends that all persons eligible for vaccination get vaccinated and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.

Marvin B. Figueroa, Director
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Intergovernmental and External Affairs
200 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Connect With Us

 Visit the HHS YouTube account Visit the HHS IEA website Call us Email us

HHS OIG Report on Telehealth for Medicare Beneficiaries in COVID-19

From HHS Office of Inspector General on March 15, 2022

Telehealth Was Critical for Providing Services to Medicare Beneficiaries During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY

The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for how Medicare beneficiaries accessed health care. In response, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took a number of actions to temporarily expand access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS allowed beneficiaries to use telehealth for a wide range of services; it also allowed beneficiaries to use telehealth in different locations, including in urban areas and from the beneficiary’s home.

This data brief provides insight into the use of telehealth in both Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, from March 2020 through February 2021. It is a companion to a report that examines the characteristics of beneficiaries who used telehealth during the pandemic. Another report in this series identifies program integrity concerns related to telehealth during the pandemic. Understanding the use of telehealth during the first year of the pandemic can shed light on how the temporary expansion of telehealth affected where and how beneficiaries accessed their health care. This information can help CMS, Congress, and other stakeholders make decisions about how telehealth can be best used to meet the needs of beneficiaries in the future.

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY

We based this analysis on Medicare fee-for-service claims data and Medicare Advantage encounter data from March 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021, and from the prior year, March 1, 2019, to February 29, 2020. We used these data to determine the total number of services used via telehealth and in-person, as well as the types of services used. We also compared the number of services used via telehealth and in-person during the first year of the pandemic to those used in the prior year.

WHAT WE FOUND

Over 28 million Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth during the first year of the pandemic. This was more than 2 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries. In total, beneficiaries used 88 times more telehealth services during the first year of the pandemic than they used in the prior year. Beneficiaries’ use of telehealth peaked in April 2020 and remained high through early 2021. Overall, beneficiaries used telehealth to receive 12 percent of their services during the first year of the pandemic. Beneficiaries most commonly used telehealth for office visits, which accounted for just under half of all telehealth services used during the first year of the pandemic. However, beneficiaries’ use of telehealth for behavioral health services stands out. Beneficiaries used telehealth for a larger share of their behavioral health services compared to their use of telehealth for other services. Specifically, beneficiaries used telehealth for 43 percent of behavioral health services, whereas they used telehealth for 13 percent of office visits.

WHAT WE CONCLUDE

Telehealth was critical for providing services to Medicare beneficiaries during the first year of the pandemic. Beneficiaries’ use of telehealth during the pandemic also demonstrates the long-term potential of telehealth to increase access to health care for beneficiaries. Further, it shows that beneficiaries particularly benefited from the ability to use telehealth for certain services, such as behavioral health services. These findings are important for CMS, Congress, and other stakeholders to take into account as they consider making changes to telehealth in Medicare. For example, CMS could use these findings to inform changes to the services that are allowed via telehealth on a permanent basis.

 

HRSA eNews | Expanding Health Care Access and Resources in Underserved Populations,

HRSA eNews March 3, 2022

March 3, 2022

Administrator Carole Johnson on HRSA’s Commitment to President Biden’s National Mental Health Strategy

douglas-emhoff-carole-johnson-nationwide-childrens-hospitalIn his State of the Union address, President Biden announced an ambitious strategy to address our national mental health crisis. At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we stand with the President in his call for unity in our national response and know that for the millions of Americans living with a mental health condition or caring for a loved one with a mental health condition, the time for action is now.

Yesterday, Administrator Johnson and HRSA Chief of Staff Jordan Grossman joined the Second Gentleman Mr. Emhoff and Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Levine in Columbus, Ohio, to visit HRSA grantees addressing youth mental health care needs and providing mental health supports for the health care workforce.

Read Administrator Johnson’s full statement on the President’s National Mental Health Strategy.


HRSA Works to Expand Health Care Access and Resources in Underserved Populations

physicianIn February, HRSA announced the winners of the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention Challenge, $66.5 million to support community-based vaccine outreach efforts, more than $560 million in pandemic relief payments to health care providers, funding to increase virtual care quality and access, and new funding to support primary care residency programs.

Read our announcements.


HHS Distributing $560 Million in Provider Relief Fund Payments to Health Care Providers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Clipart of health professionalsWith this funding, nearly $19 billion will have been distributed from the Provider Relief Fund and the American Rescue Plan Rural provider funding since November 2021 

February 24 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is making more than $560 million in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 General Distribution payments to more than 4,100 providers across the country this week.

“Provider Relief Funds have been living up to its name, providing much-needed relief to our nation’s health care providers,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “From expanding life-saving services to tackling workforce challenges, these funds will continue to help weather the pandemic’s continued impact. The Biden-Harris Administration remain committed to ensuring our providers with the necessary support and tools to keep our families safer and healthier.”

Read the press release.


National Health Service Corps: 50 Years of Commitment, Compassion and Community

nhsc anniversary social media cardOur National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and you’re invited to join in. Established with the Emergency Health Personnel Act of 1970, the NHSC placed its first clinicians – which included physicians, dentists and nurses – in 20 communities in 13 states. Learn how you can engage with, promote, and celebrate this historic milestone with our largest class of participants yet!


New Report on Children’s Mental Health Features Key Data from National Survey of Children’s Health

children lined upnew report featuring data from HRSA’s 2016-2019 National Survey of Children’s Health, shows that children’s mental health was a substantial public health concern even before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

This report is an update to one first published in 2013 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The 2013 report was the first ever cross-agency children’s mental health surveillance report, and includes input from HRSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health. HRSA’s Reem Ghandour and Jesse Lichstein are co-authors.

The current report found that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety among children of all ages, and symptoms related to depression among adolescents, are the most common concerns. It also features data on behavioral problems, autism, Tourette syndrome, as well as treatment received and signs that children are doing well. The report concludes that we need further research on positive indicators of mental health such as emotional well-being and resilience to provide the fullest picture of children’s mental health.


Climate Change and Health: The Risks to Community Health and Health Care Utilization

climate change Climate change influences human health and diseases in numerous ways. Underserved communities stand to bear the brunt of these climate-induced risks (e.g., extreme heat, poor air quality, flooding, extreme weather events). HRSA and CDC’s Climate and Health Program invite you to consider the impacts of climate change on the U.S. health care system. CDC will share its work to build resilience to these public health effects.

Webinar Date: Thursday, March 17, 1-2 p.m. ET. 

Register.


Patient Safety Awareness Week Event: Harnessing Individual Power to Effect Positive Change

webcast iconPatient Safety Awareness Week is March 13-19. We are hosting an event in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Indian Health Service (IHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Amelia Brooks from Safe and Reliable Healthcare will provide strategies that health care organizations can implement immediately to improve the safety culture in their organizations. She will share:

  • How to focus on safety in the context of global health and staffing crises
  • How to reduce burdens on frontline providers
  • Implementing practical strategies to support staff

There will also be a virtual exhibit hall at the end of the session.

Webinar Date: Thursday, March 17, 2-3:30 p.m. ET. 

Register.


States Take Action to Address Children’s Mental Health in Schools

teens against locker in schoolChildren’s mental health continues to be a top priority for state leaders across both legislative and executive branches of state government. With COVID-19 exacerbating the challenges children are facing, there is much more work to be done.

This National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) blog post summarizes the actions many states have taken from March 2020 through December 2021 to support school mental health systems, while many more states continue to consider legislation during the 2022 session.

HRSA’s National Organizations of State and Local Officials Cooperative Agreement provided support for this blog post.


image of a calendar

March

  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Poison Prevention Week (20-26)
  • National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (10)
  • National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (20)
  • National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (21-27)

Funding Opportunities

 

Health Workforce


Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program – apply by March 22

Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program – apply by March 31

Area Health Education Centers Program – apply by April 6

State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) – apply by April 8

Health Workforce Research Center Cooperative Agreement Program – apply by April 14

HIV/AIDS Bureau


Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part F Dental Reimbursement Program – apply by March 11

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part D Coordinated HIV Services and Access to Research for Women, Infants, Children, and Youth (WICY) Limited Existing Geographic Service Areas – apply by March 31

Telehealth Strategies to Maximize HIV Care – apply by April 8

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B States/Territories Supplemental Grant Program – apply by May 9

Maternal and Child Health


Enhancing Systems of Care for Children with Medical Complexity (Coordinating Center) – apply by March 7

Enhancing Systems of Care for Children with Medical Complexity (Demonstration Projects) – apply by March 7

Maternal and Child Environmental Health Network (MCEHN) – apply by March 28

MCH Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Network (AYAH-RN) – apply by March 29

Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Research Network – apply by April 4

Autism Single Investigator Innovation Program (Autism-SIIP) – Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP) – apply by April 4

Autism Single Investigator Innovation Program (Autism-SIIP) – Autism Longitudinal Data Project (ALDP) – apply by April 4

American Rescue Plan Act – Pediatric Mental Health Care Access – New Area Expansion – apply by April 5

Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network 3.0 (HV CoIIN 3.0) – apply by April 6

Autism CARES Act National Interdisciplinary Training Resource Center – apply by April 7

Catalyst for Infant Health Equity – apply by April 19

Infant-Toddler Court Program – National Resource Center – apply by May 4

Infant-Toddler Court Program – State Awards – apply by May 4

Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems: Evidence to Impact – apply by May 10

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy


Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program- Emergency Medical Services Competing Supplement – apply by March 4

Rural Health and Economic Development Analysis – apply by March 8

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Behavioral Health Care Technical Assistance – apply by March 9

Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program – apply by March 18

Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program – apply by March 21

Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies Program – apply by April 5

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Behavioral Health Care Support – apply by April 19


View All Funding Opportunities

FAIR Health | Ground Ambulance Services in the United States

From FAIR Health in February 2022

“Currently, no federal law protects consumers against “surprise” bills from out-of-network ground ambulance providers. Some state and local governments regulate ground ambulance surprise billing practices; however, such laws may not apply to all health plans or ambulance providers in an area. Because of the substantial policy interest in ground ambulance services, FAIR Health drew on its vast database of private healthcare claims to illuminate multiple aspects of such services across the nation, including utilization, costs, age, gender, diagnoses and differences across states.”

Download PDF Report

NEMSAC | National EMS Advisory Council Meeting Webcast March 2–3

The National EMS Advisory Council will be holding a virtual meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, March 2-3. Members of the public can register for the webcast here.

NEMSAC meets several times each year to discuss issues facing the EMS community and provide advice and recommendations regarding EMS to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation and to the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS.

The agenda for each day includes time for NEMSAC subcommittee deliberations in the morning, with the webcast council meeting convening at 12:00 pm ET on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, and 1 pm ET on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Items on the council’s agenda include:

– FICEMS COVID-19 Response

– National Suicide Hotline Update

– Reviewing the Need for EMS and Obstetric Collaboration

– Rural, Tribal and Frontier EMS Challenges

– Improving Stroke Triage and Transport Protocols for EMS

– Public Comment

Individuals registered for the meeting interested in addressing the council during the public comment periods must submit their comments in writing to Clary Mole at clary.mole@dot.gov by 5pm ET on February 24, 2022.

This meeting will be open to the public. NHTSA is committed to provide equal access to this meeting for all program participants.  Persons with disabilities in need of an accommodation should send your request to Clary Mole by phone at (202) 868-3275 or by email at Clary.Mole@DOT.gov no later than February 24, 2022. A sign language interpreter will be provided, and closed captioning services will be provided for this meeting through the WebEx virtual meeting platform.

National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council Notice of Public Meeting This notice announces a meeting of the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC).

2/17 | ASPR National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters​

From ASPR on February 14, 2022

The NACCD will conduct an inaugural p​ublic meeting (virtual) on February 17, 2022. The new advisory committee will be sworn in along with the presentation and discussion of challenges, opportunities, and priorities for national public health and medical preparedness, response and recovery, specific to the needs of children and their families in disasters.

Members of the public may attend the meeting via Zoom teleconference, which requires pre-registration, and may provide written comments, submit questions to the NACCD, and provide comments after the meeting by email to NACCD@hhs.​gov.

Draft Agenda
Register

Bloomberg Radio | President Baird on the Workforce Shortage

Fantastic Bloomberg Radio interview with President Shawn Baird covering key causes and impacts of the EMS workforce shortage.

Balance of Power Podcast • Browse all episodes
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2022-02-11/balance-of-power-ems-worker…
Balance of Power: EMS Worker Shortage Crisis (Radio)

Shawn Baird, President of the American Ambulance Association, discusses the shortage of emergency medical workers and paramedics. He spoke with Bloomberg’s David Westin.

Listen Now

Statement for House Ways & Means Hearing on America’s Mental Health Crisis

Committee on Ways and Means

U.S. House of Representatives Hearing on “America’s Mental Health Crisis”

Statement of Shawn Baird, President, American Ambulance Association

February 2, 2022

Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady, and members of the Committee, on behalf of the members of the American Ambulance Association (AAA), I greatly appreciate the opportunity to provide you with a written statement on America’s Mental Health Crisis. Simply put, America’s hometown heroes who provide emergency medical services and transitional care need the Congress to recognize the significant stress and trauma paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have experienced as a result of this pandemic. The AAA urges members of Congress not to forget these heroes and to expressly include all ground ambulance service personnel in efforts to address America’s Mental Health Crisis.

Emergency medical services (EMS) professionals are ready at a moment’s notice to provide life-saving and life-sustaining treatment and medical transportation for conditions ranging from heart attack, stroke, and trauma to childbirth and overdose. These first responders proudly serve their communities with on-demand mobile healthcare around the clock. Ground ambulance service professionals have been at the forefront of our country’s response to the mental health crisis in their local communities. Often, emergency calls related to mental health services are triaged to the local ground ambulance service to address.

While paramedics and EMTs provide important emergency health care services to those individuals suffering from a mental or behavioral health crisis, these front-line workers have been struggling to access the federal assistance they need to address the mental health strain that providing 24-hour care, especially during a COVID-19 pandemic, has placed on them. We need to ensure that there is equal access to mental health funding for all EMS agencies, regardless of their form of corporate ownership so that all first responders can receive the help and support they need.

EMS’s Enhanced Role in the Pandemic

As if traditional ambulance service responsibilities were not enough, paramedics and EMTs have taken on an even greater role on the very front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many areas, EMS professionals lead Coronavirus vaccination, testing, and patient navigation. As part of the federal disaster response subcontract, EMS personnel even deploy to other areas around the country to pandemic hotspots and natural disasters to bolster local healthcare resources in the face of extraordinarily challenging circumstances.

Mental & Behavioral Health Challenges Drive Staffing Shortages on the Front Line

Myriad studies show that first responders face much higher-than-average rates of post- traumatic stress disorder[1], burnout[2], and suicidal ideation[3]. These selfless professionals work in the field every day at great risk to their personal health and safety—and under extreme stress.

Ambulance service agencies and fire departments do not keep bankers’ hours. By their very nature, EMS operations do not close during pandemic lockdowns or during extreme weather emergencies. “Working from home” is not an option for paramedics and EMTs who serve at the intersection of public health and public safety. Many communities face a greater than 25% annual turnover[4] of EMS staff because of these factors. In fact, across the nation EMS agencies face a 20% staffing shortage compounded by near 20% of employees on sick leave from COVID-19. This crisis-level staffing is unsustainable and threatens the public safety net of our cities and towns.

Sadly, to date, too few resources have been allocated to support the mental and behavioral health of our hometown heroes. I write today to ask for Congressional assistance to help the helpers as they face the challenges of 2022 and beyond.

Equity for All Provider Types

Due to the inherently local nature of EMS, each American community chooses the ambulance service provider model that represents the best fit for its specific population, geography, and budget. From for-profit entities to municipally-funded fire departments to volunteer rescue squads, EMS professionals share the same duties and responsibilities regardless of their organizational tax structure. They face the same mental health challenges and should have equal access to available behavioral health programs and services.

Many current federal first responder grant programs and resources exclude the tens of thousands of paramedics and EMTs employed by for-profit entities from access. These individuals respond to the same 911 calls and provide the same interfacility mobile healthcare as their governmental brethren without receiving the same behavioral health support from

Federal agencies. To remedy this and ensure equitable mental healthcare access for all first responders, we recommend that:

  • During the current public health emergency and for at least two years thereafter, eligibility for first responder training and staffing grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (such as SAMHSA Rural EMS Training Grants and HHS Occupational Safety and Health Training Project Grants) should be expanded to include for-profit entities. Spending on training and services for mental health should also be included as eligible program
  • Congress should authorize the establishment of a new HHS grant program open to public and private nonprofit and for-profit ambulance service providers to fund paramedic and EMT recruitment and training, including employee education and peer-support programming to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions and substance use
  • Any initiatives to fund hero pay or death benefits for first responders should be inclusive of all provider models—for-profit, non-profit, and

The rationale for the above requests is twofold. First, ensuring the mental health and wellness of all EMS professionals—regardless of their employer’s tax status—is the right thing to do.

Second, because keeping paramedics and EMTs employed by private ambulance agencies who are on the frontlines of providing vital medical care and vaccinations during this pandemic is the smart thing to do.

Thank you for considering this request to support ALL of our nation’s frontline heroes. They are ready to answer your call for help, 24/7—two years into this devastating pandemic, will Congress answer theirs?

Please do not hesitate to contact American Ambulance Association Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Tristan North, at tnorth@ambulance.org or 202-486-4888 should you have any questions.


  • Prevalence of PTSD and common mental disorders amongst ambulance personnel: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr 2018;53(9):897-909.
  • ALmutairi MN, El Mahalli AA. Burnout and Coping Methods among Emergency Medical Services Professionals. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2020;13:271-279. Published 2020 Mar 16. doi:10.2147/JMDH.S244303
  • Stanley, I. H., Hom, M. A., & Joiner, T. E. (2016). A systematic review of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and Clinical Psychology Review, 44, 25–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. cpr.2015.12.002
  • Doverspike D, Moore S. 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study. 3rd Washington, DC: American Ambulance Association; 2021.

Wall Time Toolkit

Extended ambulance patient offload times (APOT), or “wall times,” at hospitals are causing long waits for 911 and interfacility patients and exacerbating the EMS workforce shortage. Ambulance services across the country are continually trying to meet demand with fewer resources; when EMS providers are kept out of service for extended periods of time because they are unable to transfer patient care at the hospital, wait times for both 911 and inter-facility patients increase and both emergency and non-emergency calls pile up. 

We recognize that the issue of extended wall times is not new, but an existing problem exacerbated by the ongoing battle with COVID-19 across the country. Increased wall times are a symptom of a much larger problem for which there is no easy solution.

This toolkit will provide an overview of EMTALA, highlight the intersection between EMTALA and APOT, and address some frequently asked questions along with links to resources and examples of how services are addressing this issue across the country.

EMTALA – Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
Summary of Major Provisions

  • The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal law that was enacted as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 (42 U.S.C. §1395dd).
  • EMTALA provides that when an individual comes to an emergency department, he/she/they must be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
  • EMTALA is often referred to as the “anti-dumping” law and was designed to prevent hospitals from transferring uninsured or Medicaid patients to another hospital without, at a minimum, providing a medical screening examination to ensure they were stable for transfer.
  • EMTALA requires the hospital to provide a screening examination to determine if an emergency medical condition exists and, if so, provide stabilizing treatment to resolve the patient’s emergency medical condition.
  • EMTALA requires Medicare-participating hospitals with emergency departments to screen and treat the emergency medical conditions of patients in a non-discriminatory manner to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, insurance status, national origin, race, creed, or color.

EMTALA & Ambulance Patient Offloading Times (APOT)

  • EMS agencies have been struggling with extended Emergency Department patient offload times. This has been exacerbated over the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This has impacted the ability of EMS agencies to provide services and respond to ambulance service requests. Additionally, it is impacting many public safety agencies that are responding to medical emergencies.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memorandum on extended ambulance patient offload times and EMTALA in July 2006.
    • In the memorandum, CMS noted “Many of the hospital staff engaged in such practice believe that unless the hospital “takes responsibility” for the patient, the hospital is not obligated to provide care or accommodate the patient”
    • CMS stated that this practice may result in a violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and “raises serious concerns for patient care and the provision of emergency services in a community.”
    • Additionally, CMS notes that this practice may also result in a violation of 42 CFR 482.55, the Conditions of Participation for Hospitals for Emergency Services, which requires that a hospital meet the emergency needs of patients in accordance with acceptable standards of practice.
    • EMTALA defines[1] when a patient “presents” at an emergency department in the following way:

(1) Has presented at a hospital’s dedicated emergency department, as defined in this section, and requests examination or treatment for a medical condition, or has such a request made on his or her behalf. In the absence of such a request by or on behalf of the individual, a request on behalf of the individual will be considered to exist if a prudent layperson observer would believe, based on the individual’s appearance or behavior, that the individual needs examination or treatment for a medical condition;

(2) Has presented on hospital property, as defined in this section, other than the dedicated emergency department, and requests examination or treatment for what may be an emergency medical condition, or has such a request made on his or her behalf. In the absence of such a request by or on behalf of the individual, a request on behalf of the individual will be considered to exist if a prudent layperson observer would believe, based on the individual’s appearance or behavior, that the individual needs emergency examination or treatment;

(3) Is in a ground or air ambulance owned and operated by the hospital for purposes of examination and treatment for a medical condition at a hospital’s dedicated emergency department, even if the ambulance is not on hospital grounds. However, an individual in an ambulance owned and operated by the hospital is not considered to have “come to the hospital’s emergency department” if –

(i) The ambulance is operated under communitywide emergency medical service (EMS) protocols that direct it to transport the individual to a hospital other than the hospital that owns the ambulance; for example, to the closest appropriate facility. In this case, the individual is considered to have come to the emergency department of the hospital to which the individual is transported, at the time the individual is brought onto hospital property;

(ii) The ambulance is operated at the direction of a physician who is not employed or otherwise affiliated with the hospital that owns the ambulance; or

(4) Is in a ground or air nonhospital-owned ambulance on hospital property for presentation for examination and treatment for a medical condition at a hospital’s dedicated emergency department. However, an individual in a nonhospital-owned ambulance off hospital property is not considered to have come to the hospital’s emergency department, even if a member of the ambulance staff contacts the hospital by telephone or telemetry communications and informs the hospital that they want to transport the individual to the hospital for examination and treatment. The hospital may direct the ambulance to another facility if it is in “diversionary status,” that is, it does not have the staff or facilities to accept any additional emergency patients. If, however, the ambulance staff disregards the hospital’s diversion instructions and transports the individual onto hospital property, the individual is considered to have come to the emergency department.

[1] 42 CFR § 489.24(b) – Special responsibilities of Medicare hospitals in emergency cases.

APOT Strategies

  • EMS agencies who are experiencing extended ambulance patient offload times should engage the hospital leadership to collaborate to identify possible solutions. Often, we assume that the hospital leadership is aware that the EMS crews are being held for extended periods of time. Also, the hospital may not understand how APOT is impacting your organization and the overall EMS and public safety response.  Emphasize that EMS is one piece of a larger EMS system.
  • EMS agencies should consider educating or reminding the hospital leadership about their obligations under EMTALA.
  • Consider placing a transfer coordinator or another member of your staff to stay with patients during the transition between EMS and ED care. The EMS agency is under no obligation to do this and could set a precedent or expectation by the hospital that extended APOT is the EMS agency’s responsibility.  However, it may serve to free up valuable EMS resources.

EMTALA & APOT Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are EMS personnel required to remain with the patient until an emergency department personnel “accept” report or “takes over care” of the patient?

Answer: No, the EMS crew is not legally required to remain with the patient until the hospital personnel take a report or take over patient care.  As the EMTALA provisions above cite, the EMS crew may choose to remain with the patient but, as soon as that patient arrives on hospital property or enters the emergency department, the hospital is legally responsible for the patient.

  1. What if the patient’s condition requires constant attention and the patient cannot be left alone without causing the patient harm?

Answer:  If the patient’s condition dictates that the patient cannot be safely left alone, the crew would have an ethical obligation to continue to care for the patient until care can be safely transferred to the appropriate caregiver. The EMS crew should continue to provide patient care and should contact a supervisor or Officer in Charge (OIC) at their agency to inform them of the situation and request assistance with facilitating the transfer of care.

  1. What do I do if the emergency department staff fail/refuse to take a report or take over care of the patient?

Answer:  The EMS crew should attempt to provide a verbal report to an emergency department staff member if possible.  If no one is available, or the hospital staff will not make someone available to take a verbal report, the crew should tell an ED staff member that the EMS crew will be leaving the patient, where the patient was left and the patient’s general condition.  EMS providers should document how long they waited after arriving at the ED, where they left the patient, which ED staff member they notified, and the patient’s condition when they left in their patient care report.  EMS providers should be sure to leave a copy of their patient care report or an abbreviated patient care report with the hospital staff or with the patient.

In some states, extended APOT may be reportable to the state-level oversight agency, such as the state EMS Office or the Department of Public Health.

If hospitals are unresponsive to the initial conversation, you could also consider escalating the issue to your State Survey Agency, the agency primarily charged with taking EMTALA complaints.

We have created a draft letter for use in communicating with your State Survey Agency; be sure to update the draft letter to include specific examples and data that illustrate the particular issues your service is facing and the steps you’ve taken to try and resolve the issue so far.

  1. Can I be accused of patient abandonment if I leave a patient in the ED without a member of the ED staff taking over the care of the patient?

Answer:  Because the legally becomes the hospital’s responsibility upon arrival on hospital property or upon arrival in the ED, it is highly unlikely that a claim of abandonment could be sustained.  The most important thing EMS providers can do is to exercise reasonable care of the patient before, upon, and after arrival at the ED.  EMS providers who reasonably attempt to furnish a report to the ED staff or who ensure that the patient can be safely left at the ED with either an abbreviated or full patient care report will likely be protected from liability.

Additional Resources

Best Practices for Mitigating Ambulance ED Delays webinar

California Emergency Medical Services Authority Ambulance Patient Offload Time (APOT) webpage

CMS Regional Office Directory

Statewide Method of Measuring Ambulance Patient Offload Times

State Survey Agency Directory
This is the agency primarily charged with receiving EMTALA complaints.

Wall time Collaborative a partnership to reduce ambulance patient off-load delays
presentation from 2013

In the News:

EMS crews forced to wait hours to drop patients at overwhelmed hospitals

National EMS Advisory Council Meeting Webcast Feb. 9-10

From EMS.gov on January 27, 2022

Register Now for the National EMS Advisory Council Meeting Webcast Feb. 9-10

The National EMS Advisory Council will be holding a virtual meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, February 9-10. Members of the public can register for the webcast here.

NEMSAC meets several times each year to discuss issues facing the EMS community and provide advice and recommendations regarding EMS to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation and to the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS.

The agenda for each day includes time for NEMSAC subcommittee deliberations in the morning, with the webcast council meeting convening at 12:00 pm ET on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, and 1 pm ET on Thursday, February 10, 2022. Items on the council’s agenda include:

– FICEMS COVID-19 Response

– National Suicide Hotline Update

– Reviewing the Need for EMS and Obstetric Collaboration

– Rural, Tribal and Frontier EMS Challenges

– Improving Stroke Triage and Transport Protocols for EMS

– Public Comment

Individuals registered for the meeting interested in addressing the council during the public comment periods must submit their comments in writing to Clary Mole at clary.mole@dot.gov by 5pm ET on February, 3, 2022.

This meeting will be open to the public. NHTSA is committed to provide equal access to this meeting for all program participants.  Persons with disabilities in need of an accommodation should send your request to Clary Mole by phone at (202) 868-3275 or by email at Clary.Mole@DOT.gov no later than February 3, 2022. A sign language interpreter will be provided, and closed captioning services will be provided for this meeting through the WebEx virtual meeting platform.