EMT Reid Needs a Kidney! Living Donor Sought

URGENT:  Fellow first responder Reid Cappel is in kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant.  A living donor is his best chance at survival. 


For years, Reid Cappel has selflessly served his New Jersey community as an emergency medical technician. Now, it is his turn to ask for a lifeline from his fellow public health and public safety professionals. Help Reid find a living kidney donor, so that he can get back to doing what he does best: caring for others.

Anyone who is healthy and eligible to be a kidney donor can give Reid the gift of life.  A donor does not have to be a direct match, can live anywhere in the US, and will have access to donor protections and resources.  EMS Gives Life, a nonprofit organization for first responders, by first responders, will provide guidance to our EMS, fire, and police brethren who are considering living donation.

All inquiries will be held in complete confidence.  There is no commitment required to learn more.  Meet Reid and learn more about living kidney donation at  www.emsgiveslife.org/Reid.

 

Jan 5 | EMS360: Fatigue Risk Management in EMS Webtool Demo

Fatigue Risk Management in EMS: Project Summary and Webtool Demo


Wed, Jan 5, 2022 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM EST

Five years after its launch, the Fatigue in EMS Project made available through funding support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reaching its conclusion with the launch of a biomathematical model/fatigue risk analyzer for EMS personnel. We will summarize the project and provide a live demonstration of the new webtool!

EMS360: Fatigue Risk Management in EMS Webtool Demo

Fatigue Risk Management in EMS: Project Summary and Webtool Demo


Wed, Jan 5, 2022 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM EST

Five years after its launch, the Fatigue in EMS Project made available through funding support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reaching its conclusion with the launch of a biomathematical model/fatigue risk analyzer for EMS personnel. We will summarize the project and provide a live demonstration of the new webtool!

5th Circuit Lifts Injunction on CMS Mandatory Vaccine Requirement for Half of U.S.

On December 15, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling which modifies an earlier court national injunction related to the CMS mandatory vaccination rules.  In the latest ruling, the court upheld the injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri as it applied to the fourteen (14) plaintiff states, Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.  However, it overturned the lower court’s expansion of that injunction to other, non-plaintiff states, in the injunction.  Meaning that between the 5th and 8th Circuit Court rulings, the CMS mandatory vaccination injunction only applies to the following 24 states:

5th Circuit Plaintiffs: Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio

8th Circuit Plaintiffs: Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire.

States not covered by the CMS mandatory vaccination injunction:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin

This decision, follows another mandatory vaccine related decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit which criticized the Louisiana court for expanding the CMS vaccine mandate nationwide given that a Florida District Court had already refused to issue an injunction and because it felt that it was likely that the mandate was likely authorized under current CMS rules.

What does this mean for employers?

If you are an employer in one of the states not covered by an injunction, you should consult with any covered healthcare facility that your organization performs services under contract. These covered healthcare facilities will be required to mandate vaccination for their staff and for any contractor staff that interacts with their employees or patients.  Additionally, they will be seeking proof that your staff is vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have a protected medical or religious accommodation.

Employers should have already taken the initial steps toward compliance with the CMS mandatory vaccination rules, including having a list of all employees with their vaccination status.  Additionally, employers should have an established policy related to mandatory vaccination and a procedure for requesting and processing an exception/accommodation requests. Lastly, healthcare institutions may independently institute mandatory vaccination rules for their employees and can require this of anyone entering their facility, including EMS staff.

We will continue to keep you post as these cases proceed through the legal system. These facilities may still independently require your staff to be vaccinated. If your organization has questions or need assistance deciphering or preparing for these requirements, please contact the AAA by emailing hello@ambulance.org.

 

 

 

Workforce Resource: Total Compensation Statement & Calculation Sheet

Part of any successful recruitment and retention strategy is having a competitive compensation and benefits package. This is achieved most successfully by providing employees with a Total Compensation Statement.

A Total Compensation Statement communicates and provides an employee with a picture of the value of an employee’s compensation package, including wages and other costs which are typically shown in an employee’s paystub. However, a Total Compensation Statement shows the hidden costs, many paid by the employer on behalf of the employee, such as employer-paid healthcare, retirement, payroll taxes, and other supplements that employers provide. The purpose is to provide employees with the full picture of compensation and arm them with information about how your organization stacks up against your competitors.

Attached are two samples of Total Compensation Forms that can be used by AAA member companies. The forms offer the ability for our members to personalize by inserting their company logo.  These are typically issued on a quarterly, bi-annual, or yearly basis.

Total Compensation and Benefits Statement
The Total Compensation and Benefits Statement is a fillable PDF form that performs the calculations as you enter the different compensation-related items. The costs are shown in two columns, one for the employee wages and other costs, and the other for the often-hidden cost paid by the employer on the employee’s behalf.

Total Compensation Calculation Spreadsheet
The Total Compensation Calculation Spreadsheet is also a fillable PDF form that performs the calculations as you enter the different compensation-related items. There is a column that allows the employer to provide a Description of the benefit item listed. The costs are shown in two columns, one for the employee wages and other costs, and the other for the often-hidden cost paid by the employer on the employee’s behalf.

About the AAA Workforce Committee
The AAA Workforce Committee was formed by the AAA Board of Directors with the committee charge to evaluate and assist AAA member companies with the factors that impact the recruitment and retention of qualified EMS employees. If there are compensation or benefit items that we failed to include that you believe should be part of these documents, please let us know!
Send your feedback to hello@ambulance.org.

NIOSH Seeks Public Comment on Interventions for Work-Related Stress Through November 26

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is seeking public comment on current evidence-based, workplace and occupational safety and health interventions to prevent work-associated stress, support stress reduction, and foster positive mental health and well-being among the nation’s health workers, including first responders and EMS clinicians. The NHTSA Office of EMS is committed to working with our Federal partners to prioritize efforts that address the high rates of stress, burnout, depression, anxiety and suicide among members of the EMS community. This request for information is an opportunity to make sure your voice is heard.

Learn More

NIOSH invites comment on best practices, promising practices or successful programs related to providing stress prevention and mental health services to health workers, including but not limited to employee assistance programs, screenings, supervisor trainings, workplace policies, talk therapy, mindfulness, peer support and mobile apps.

Comments and responses may be submitted here through Friday, November 26, 2021.

NBC | EMS services warn of ‘crippling labor shortage’ undermining 911 system

Oct. 8, 2021, 12:53 PM EDT
By Phil McCausland

“Companies have had to close, consolidate or come up with new strategies to answer calls, said American Ambulance Association President Shawn Baird, who added that there is simply not enough EMS personnel to cover calls in many parts of the country, especially during the pandemic.”

Read full article►

Congressional Letter on the EMS Workforce Shortage

October 1, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell & Minority Leader McCarthy,

Our paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), as well as the organizations that they serve, take on substantial risk every day to treat and transport patients that call 9-1-1. But our nation’s EMS system is facing a crippling workforce shortage, a long-term problem that has been building for more than a decade. It threatens to undermine our emergency 9-1-1 infrastructure and deserves urgent attention by the Congress.

The most sweeping survey of its kind — involving nearly 20,000 employees working at 258 EMS organizations — found that overall turnover among paramedics and EMTs ranges from 20 to 30 percent annually. With percentages that high, ambulance services face 100% turnover over a four- year period. Staffing shortages compromise our ability to respond to healthcare emergencies, especially in rural and underserved parts of the country.

The pandemic exacerbated this shortage and highlighted our need to better understand the drivers of workforce turnover. There are many factors. Our ambulance crews are suffering under the grind of surging demand, burnout, fear of getting sick and stresses on their families. In addition, with COVID-19 halting clinical and in-person trainings for a long period of time, our pipeline for staff is stretched even more.

The challenge is to make sure that the paramedics and EMTs of the future know that EMS is a rewarding destination. Many healthcare providers have extensive professional development resources, but that simply does not exist for EMS. COVID-19 has put additional pressures on the health care system and added another layer of complexity to the emergency response infrastructure.

HRSA EMS Training Funding

Fortunately, there are immediate and long-term solutions. Although the provider relief funds are essential and helpful to address the challenges of the pandemic, we need funding for EMS that addresses paramedic and EMT training, recruitment, and advancement more directly. The Congress can provide specific direction and funds to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help solve this workforce crisis. Those funds can be used to pay for critical training and professional development programs. Some of our members have already begun offering programs and would benefit from additional funding support from HRSA. Funding public-private partnerships between community colleges and private employers to increase the applicant pool and training and employment numbers through grants could overcome the staffing deficit we face.

Paramedic and EMT Direct Pay Bump

In addition, more immediately targeting funds for EMS retention could address the shortage we are experiencing day to day. To help ambulance services retain paramedics and EMTs, we request funds through HRSA to be paid directly to paramedics and EMTs. These earmarked funds could be distributed to each state with specific guidance that the State Offices of EMS distribute the funds to all ground ambulance services using a proportional formula (per field medic).

COVID-19 Medicare Reimbursement Increase

With capitated payments by federal payors, there are limited funds to transfer into workforce initiatives. Increasing Medicare payments temporarily would be meaningful to compete with other employers and other jobs. This could help infuse additional funds into the workforce and create innovative staffing models that take into account hospital bed shortages and overflow.

Congressional Hearings on EMS Workforce Shortage

The workforce shortage crisis facing EMS spans several potential Committees of jurisdiction. This critical shortage is particularly felt in many of our rural and underserved communities. As Congress moves on the steps we have outlined above, we also urge you to organize hearings in the appropriate Committees to develop long-term solutions and focus the country’s attention on these urgent issues.

Thank you in advance for continuing to ensure that our frontline responders have the resources necessary to continue caring for our patients in their greatest moment of need, while maintaining the long-term viability of our nation’s EMS system.

Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Shawn Baird
President
American Ambulance Association

Bruce Evans
President
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

OCR Issues Guidance on HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccinations, and the Workplace

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance to help the public understand when the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule applies to disclosures and requests for information about whether a person has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

In the guidance, OCR reminds the public that the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not apply to employers or employment records. The HIPAA Privacy Rule only applies to HIPAA covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers that conduct standard electronic transactions), and, in some cases, to their business associates.  The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to most EMS providers but only as it relates to it’s patient’s Protect Health Information (PHI).

Today’s guidance addresses common workplace scenarios and answers questions about whether and how the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies. The Privacy Rule does not apply when an individual:

  • Is asked about their vaccination status by a school, employer, store, restaurant, entertainment venue, or another individual.
  • Asks another individual, their doctor, or a service provider whether they are vaccinated.
  • Asks a company, such as a home health agency, whether its workforce members are vaccinated.

Generally, the Privacy Rule does not regulate what information can be requested from employees as part of the terms and conditions of employment that an employer may impose on its workforce

The Privacy Rule does not prohibit a covered entity or business associate from requiring or requesting each workforce member to:

  • Provide documentation of their COVID-19 or flu vaccination to their current or prospective employer.
  • Sign a HIPAA authorization for a covered health care provider to disclose the workforce member’s COVID-19 or other vaccination record to their employer.
  • Wear a mask–while in the employer’s facility, on the employer’s property, or in the normal course of performing their duties at another location.
  • Disclose whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine in response to queries from current or prospective patients.

OCR stated that they are issuing this guidance to help consumers, businesses, and health care entities understand when HIPAA applies to disclosures about COVID-19 vaccination status and to ensure that they have the information they need to make informed decisions about protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.

More details about the latest guidance on HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccinations, and the Workplace may be found at https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/hipaa-covid-19-vaccination-workplace/index.html.  If you have questions regarding what information you may or may not share relative to COVID-19 vaccinations, please contact the AAA for assistance.