US DOL | Building Mental Health-Friendly Workplaces

The U.S. Department of Labor cordially invites you to a virtual event in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Time: 2:00 p.m. ET

Location: Streaming online

Register: Click here to register to receive the accessible event link.

Tune in to learn about the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to promoting mental health-friendly workplaces and ensuring America’s workers can access the equitable and inclusive mental health services they need. Featuring insightful dialogues and knowledge sharing, the event will explore mental health parity, the role of the workplace in addressing the nation’s mental health crisis and strategies for fostering work environments that support workers with mental health conditions.

Featured guests will include:

  • Marty Walsh, U.S. Secretary of Labor
  • Julie Su, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor
  • Ali Khawar, Acting Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration
  • Taryn Williams, Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Please join us for this special event!

Click here to register to receive the accessible event link.

U.S. Department of Labor
Employee Benefits Security Administration

DRIVING CHANGE • CREATING OPPORTUNITY

Infection Prevention and Control for the EMS/911 Workforce: Public Comment Requested

Draft Report on Infection Prevention and Control for the EMS/911 Workforce Released: Public Comment Requested
From EMS.gov on April 12, 2022

The draft report for the technical brief on Infection Prevention and Control for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/911 workforce has been released by the Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) Program at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The draft report is available for review and feedback through April 22, 2022 on Effective Healthcare’s website.

The technical brief summarizes the latest evidence on infectious pathogen exposure among the EMS/911 workforce and offers recommendations for the prevention, recognition, and control of infectious diseases and other related exposures that may be acquired in occupational settings.

The AHRQ is requesting feedback from the community to improve the final technical brief. The agency values feedback and will consider all comments received.

Submit Input

AHRQ is a government agency that produces evidence-based guidance to improve the quality of healthcare delivery. It coordinates these efforts with partners in the field to ensure the evidence is understood and put into practice. For more information on the EPC Program, visit here. This project is supported by NHTSA’s Office of EMS, which strives to reduce death and disability by providing leadership and coordination to the EMS community in assessing, planning, developing, and promoting comprehensive, evidence-based emergency medical services and 911 systems.

DOL Electronic Injury & Illness Reporting

Proposed Changes to the OSHA Electronic Injury & Illness Reporting Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing amendments to its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR 1904.41. The current regulation requires certain employers to electronically submit their summary injury and illness data (Form 300A) to OSHA annually. OSHA uses these reports to identify and respond to emerging hazards and makes aspects of the information publicly available.

In addition to reporting their Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, the proposed rule would require certain establishments in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit additional information from their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, as well as their Injury and Illness Incident Report (Form 300, 300A, & 301). The latest proposed rule will require certain employers to submit more detailed information and is a return to the original electronic data submission rule that was proposed in 2016 and rolled back in 2017, prior to the rule taking effect. EMS organizations will be included in those industries that are considered high-hazard and thus, required to submit this information.

As we reported last month, OSHA reported that there was a 249% increase in illnesses and injuries reported by healthcare employers in 2020. This is no surprise given that this was at the heart of the pandemic. OSHA believes this rule will improve the agency’s ability to use the information in its enforcement and compliance assistance efforts to identify workplaces where workers are at high risk.

The proposed rule would:

  • Require establishments with one hundred (100) or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301, and 300A to OSHA once a year. Currently, only the Form 300A summary data is submitted electronically.
  • Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
  • Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA annually.
  • Require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.

Under the proposed rule, establishments with 20-99 employees in certain high-hazard industries would continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA annually.

Those interested can submit comments must do so by May 30, 2022. If you have questions about your organization’s reporting requirements under the OSHA Regulations, be sure to contact the AAA at hello@ambulance.org for assistance.

DOL COVID-19 Exposure Rule-Making

The United States Department of Labor (US DOL) has published a notice of intent to partially reopen the rule-making process to permit additional comment and a public hearing on certain aspects of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare employers which was originally published in June 2021. OSHA is seeking further input from stakeholders as they develop a final standard. The public hearing will begin on April 27, 2022.

The agency is reopening the rulemaking record to allow for new data and comments on topics, including the following:

  • Alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for healthcare infection control procedures.
  • Additional flexibility for employers to permit less prescriptive requirements
  • Removal of scope exemptions.
  • Tailoring controls to address interactions with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Employer support for employees who wish to be vaccinated.
  • Limited coverage of construction activities in healthcare settings.
  • COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions.
  • Triggering requirements based on community transmission levels.
  • The potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2 into a second novel strain.
  • The health effects and risk of COVID-19 since the ETS was issued.

OSHA made it clear that it is not proposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers. However, they are seeking comments regarding how it could help employers further support healthcare worker employees in their vaccination and boosting efforts. This could include paid leave, including travel time, for those seeking vaccinations or boosters.

The notice in the Federal Register had a slightly more relaxed tone as many areas in the country have seen a significant drop-off in cases.  If you are interested in submitting comments, you can do so electronically at www.regulations.gov.  If you wish to attend the video-based public hearing, you must file a notice of intention to appear with the US DOL within 14 days of the notice being officially published in the Federal Register.

If you have any questions about your current obligations under the OSHA rules, please email the AAA at hello@ambulance.org.

EMS Gives Life | EMT Reid Needs a Living Kidney Donor

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.

 

EMS1 Webinar | Navigating a path to career satisfaction

Limited options for professional growth and the lack of a clear career path are barriers to recruitment, retention and career longevity.

The EMS Burnout Repair Kit series, presented by EMS1 and Zoll, equips individuals at all levels in EMS with tools for dealing with the primary sources of burnout, helping them emerge as better, happier providers and more complete people.

In this installment, a panel comprised of individuals representing different career paths in EMS and leaders from progressive agencies will discuss resources for career advancement and resiliency, how to find the path that is right for you, and how agencies can support providers in advancing their careers.

Join the live discussion, March 1 at 1 p.m. CT

Register Free

Meet the speakers 

Carly Alley

Carly Alley is the executive director for Riggs Ambulance Service in Merced, California. Earlier in her career, Alley served as a firefighter-EMT in the U.S. Forest Service while earning her paramedic certification. After being hired by Riggs, she transitioned to the agency’s tactical EMS program, where she spent 10 years as the team leader before moving into administration.

Michael Fraley, BS, BA, NRP

Michael Fraley has over 25 years of experience in EMS in a wide range of roles, including flight paramedic, EMS coordinator, service director and educator. Fraley began his career in EMS while earning a bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University. He also earned a BA in business administration from Lakeland College.

When not working as a paramedic or the coordinator of a regional trauma advisory council, Michael serves as a public safety diver and SCUBA instructor in northern Wisconsin.

John (JP) Peterson, MS, MBA

JP Peterson is the newly appointed executive director at Mecklenburg EMS Agency (MEDIC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. He started his career as an EMT in Chicago in 2000 and most recently served as vice president of Florida operations for PatientCare EMS Solutions.

He is licensed as a paramedic in Florida and North Carolina, and holds National Board Certification as an occupational therapist. He has completed Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and is a graduate of the American Ambulance Association, Ambulance Service Manager Course. JP received the Pinellas County Commissioner, John Morroni Award for first responders in 2013.

JP is a past president of the Florida Ambulance Association. He is a member of the North Carolina Association of EMS Administrators as well as the AAA Bylaws, Professional Standards and Ethics committees.

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

EMS Gives Life | EMT Reid Needs a Living Kidney Donor

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.

 

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.

New for Members | 2022 Human Resources Manual!

The 2022 Human Resources Toolkit includes the addition of numerous practice notes intended to provide EMS leaders with a more practical understanding of the legal principles that necessitate much of the language found in many of the sample policies in the HR Manual. Additionally, the practice notes provide suggestions for EMS agencies to better insulate the organization from legal liability.

Members, Download Your Free PDF Copy!

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.