Always In Our Hearts

Please join the American Ambulance Association in honoring those who have fallen serving their communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. What does it mean to be a hero? Paramedics, EMTs, nurses, and firefighters risk their lives every day to serve on the… Posted by American Ambulance Association on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 #EMS providers risk their lives every day to serve on the front lines of #COVID19. Tragically, this means that some don’t make it home to their families. It is our responsibility to honor their memories and support their loved ones. #SupportEMS #PSOB #NotJustaRide #alwaysopen pic.twitter.com/vv7XF7mCH6 — AmericanAmbulanceAsc (@amerambassoc) June 30, 2020

Final Rule for ACA Section 1557

On June 12, 2020, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the long-awaited final rule which significantly changes several of the anti-discrimination provisions of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.  The final rule, which is a departure from the agency’s previous interpretation of the rules which were enacted 2016 during the Obama administration.  Since, the enactment of the 2016 rules, there have been numerous legal challenges to these provisions in federal court.  HHS believes that these final rules will reduce or eliminate provisions that they state were ineffective, unnecessary, and confusing and will save roughly covered entities roughly $2.9 billion in costs. 2016 Section 1557 Requirements Section 1557 of the ACA were the anti-discrimination provisions geared at ensuring all individuals had access to essential benefits.  When originally released in 2016, the Section 1557 rules prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities, including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping.  The 2016 Rule also required that covered entities: Establish a written Grievance Procedure. Identify and maintain a Compliance Coordinator. Publish non-discrimination notices in the...

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AAA Seeks Perspectives on EMS Diversity & Inclusion

As the demographics of our nation change, it becomes ever more essential  for  emergency medical services to foster a  diverse and inclusive workplace more representative of the communities that we serve. To support this mission, the American Ambulance Association seeks tips, ideas, and perspectives from our membership on best practices for attracting, recruiting, and retaining the EMS workforce of tomorrow. For this project, we are using the word “diversity” to refer to characteristics including—but not limited to—race, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic class, disability, and/or age. While we are truly appreciative of all responses, AAA especially welcomes the perspectives of those who are themselves members of groups historically less represented in the EMS  workforce. If you would like to contribute your thoughts to this project, please complete our short form below.  You do not need to disclose your identity if you do not wish to do so.  

CISA: Emergency Services Sector Active Shooter Guide

The FBI designated 28 shootings in 2019 as active shooter incidents. The 28 incidents resulted in 247 casualties, 97 people killed, and 150 people wounded, excluding the shooters. No community appears immune from these potential incidents; therefore, it is important for every community to develop an Active Shooter Program. The purpose of this guide is to provide emergency services personnel with the basic building blocks for developing an Active Shooter Program with communities. This guide highlights resources and planning considerations, which will enhance emergency services organizations’ ability to develop or improve community planning and preparedness for active shooter incidents. For more information, email the Emergency Services Sector-Specific Agency at essteam@cisa.dhs.gov....

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EEOC Guidance on COVID-19 Antibody Testing

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance yesterday titled, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws yesterday.  The updated guidance addresses employers who wish to require employees to have a COVID-19 antibody tests prior to re-entering the workplace.  The guidance consists of seventeen pages of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to assist employers as they navigate this truly unprecedented time for employers and employees during a pandemic. The updated guidance alerts employers that they may not require employees to undergo COVID-19 antibody testing as this would constitute an unlawful “medical examination” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Under the ADA, employers are limited in the medical related inquiries that they can make of employees.  Medical related inquiries can be considered a Medical Examination and are strictly regulated under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.  Under the ADA, an employer “shall not require a medical examination and shall not make inquiries of an employee as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability or as to the nature and severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.”...

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USSC Upholds Equal Protection for Victims of Sex-Based Discrimination

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that settles the greatly contested issue of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s protection against discrimination on the basis of sex, includes sexual orientation and gender identity.  The ruling stems from three cases, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, Barstock v. Clayton County, Georgia, in which the plaintiffs were terminated following their employer learning that each were gay, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where the plaintiff was terminated after she informed her employer that she was going to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The decision, which was written by Judge Gorsuch essentially states that one cannot discriminate against an individual on the basis of their being gay or transgender and not offend Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination.  This ruling settles years of contradictory administrative interpretations and enforcement of sex-based discrimination under Title VII.  While most states have settled this issue by enacting state-level prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, this definitively ensures the protections of entire classes of individuals who were previously unprotected by the law. Employer are encouraged to revisit all policies, procedures, and practices to (more…)

EMS Workforce and Job Experience Survey for Doctoral Candidate

The role of the affective domain is well studied among other medical and public safety professions, including its impact on provider physical and mental health, quality and patient perception of care, occupational burnout, empathy fatigue, and organizational commitment. As part of a doctoral research study, a survey has been developed and approved through an Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is hoped the information gathered in this survey will help to develop a clearer understanding of the specific difficulties and needs of EMTs and paramedics. Participants will be entered to win one of twenty (20) $20 gift cards raffled off at the end of the study (summer of 2020). In addition, the survey results will be shared with participating EMTs and paramedics so that they can learn about our findings and better understand how their work experiences compare to those of others. The survey should take approximately 25 minutes to finish. Administrators interested in facilitating distribution of the survey may contact researcher Emily Kaplan at Emily_Kaplan@nymc.edu About the Researcher Emily Kaplan, MPH, EMT-P is working to complete her Doctorate in Public Health at New York Medical College.  Her work seeks to understand the role of the affective domain in the out-of-hospital (more…)

 Webinar June 12 | Internal Size-Up: Mental Health for EMS Webinar

Free Webinar | Recorded June 12, 2020 at 14:00 ET  This presentation involves a careful examination of behavioral health awareness for EMS with an emphasis on understanding emotional and physical stressors. We will cover communication skills, addiction, depression, PTSD/PTSI, suicide statistics, retirement, and creating a behavioral health program. The program will: Introduce attendees to emotional and behavioral awareness. Introduce attendees to the various emotional stressors that affect EMS providers, including stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, suicide, and other behaviors. Discuss Cultural Brainwashing Discuss suicide rates within the EMS and fire services. About Jeff Dill Jeff holds a master’s degree and is a licensed counselor. He is a retired Captain from Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois and is a member of the American Counseling Association and National Board of Certified Counselors. About Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA) FBHA’s goal is to provide behavioral health workshops to fire departments and EMS organizations across the globe, focusing on behavioral health awareness with a strong drive towards suicide prevention and promoting resources available to first responders and their families. FBHA’s goal is to promote good mental health for the men and women who serve their communities through EMS and fire protection. FBHA (more…)

EMS Sleep Health Study

The EMS Sleep Health Study Who? Daniel Patterson, PhD, NRP from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine is leading a research study that seeks to examine the impact of a sleep health and fatigue education and training program tailored to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) clinicians. This research study has financial support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO). The University of Pittsburgh has partnered with the NASEMSO as a sub-contractor for purposes of conducting this research study. What? This research study is an experiment that will test the impact of a new sleep health and fatigue training education program. The program is designed to improve the individual EMS clinician’s sleep health and reduce work-related fatigue through education and training. The program will be administered entirely online (via the internet) and will be accessible to EMS clinicians located at the EMS agencies that agree to participate in this research study. When? The study team will begin recruiting EMS agencies to participate in this study in late January 2020. Each agency will be asked to participate for a total of 24 weeks. Participation is voluntary. How? Researchers will ask EMS agency...

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CISA Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

ADVISORY MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16th the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America that highlighted the importance of the critical infrastructure workforce. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s authorities to secure critical infrastructure. Consistent with these authorities, CISA has developed, in collaboration with other federal agencies, State and local governments, and the private sector, an “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list. This list is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. Decisions informed by this list should also take into consideration additional public health considerations based on the specific COVID-19-related concerns of particular jurisdictions. This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. Additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. Individual jurisdictions should...

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