Healthcare Resilience Task Force: Three New Documents Released

Healthcare Resilience Task Force: Three New Documents Released

Documents developed by the Prehospital [911 and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)] Team of the Healthcare Resilience Task Force.

Managing Patient and Family Distress Associated with COVID-19
Intended to provide care instructions for the psychological challenges associated with real or perceived exposure to COVID-19. This document includes practices for therapeutic communication between the EMS provider, their patient and the patient’s family to ensure that every aspect of the patient’s well-being is being managed by EMS.

NOTE: this document is based on the previously approved Managing Patient and Family Distress document for healthcare developed by the Behavioral Health Working Group and has been adapted for the EMS population.

Strategies to Mitigate EMS Clinician Absenteeism
This document provides strategies and techniques to maximize EMS capabilities and
service to the public and to hopefully minimize EMS Workforce Absenteeism. The
resilience of our Nation’s healthcare system depends on our healthcare workforce’s
ability to report for duty. Critical supplies, equipment, and surge capacity rely on
dedicated, trained EMS clinicians and support staff to enable care. Prepare now and
take actions, such as those listed below, to help your EMS agency protect your workers’
psychological health and well-being.

Personal Protective Equipment Supply for EMS
This document is intended to clarify for the EMS community the current Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply situation as well as the appropriate requisition process to address local shortages of available PPE supplies.


Financial Relief for Personnel

Financial Relief for Personnel

Download as a PDF

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

• Emergency Paid Family & Medical Leave
• Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Tax Assistance Options

• Extension of 2019 Tax Filing Deadline
• $1,200 checks to each individual making $75,000 or less and a sliding scale (downwards) for people
making between $75,000 and $99,000. No one making more than that will get a check

Unemployment Assistance

• Waiver of waiting period
• Waiver of work search requirement
• Unemployment benefits would be expanded from 26 weeks to 39 weeks and freelancers and gig workers would qualify for the first time

Federal School Loan Assistance (US Dept of Education)

• Interest rates on student loans reduced to 0% from 3/13/2020 to 9/30/2020
• Direct Loans
• Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans
• Federal Perkins Loans
• Lender should have information regarding deferral on their website
• Borrower can get a refund if they paid their monthly payment after President signed the CARES Act

Mortgage or Rent Relief (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

• FHA/HUD mortgages
• Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac
• Lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020
– You won’t incur late fees
– You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
– Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
• If you can pay, pay
• If you can’t pay, contact your mortgage servicer
• Get it in writing
• Many states and municipalities have prohibited eviction activities in the next 60 days
• Any HUD/FHA back multifamily rental properties

Credit Card & Utilities Relief

• If you can continue to pay, pay
• Many credit card companies have options to enroll online for delayed payments
• Many cell phone and utility providers are offering waivers of late fees and deferred payments
Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts
• Retroactively effective as of January 1, 2020, the CARES Act allows participants to now purchase the
following items and services, pre-tax, using their HSA, FSA, or HRA
– Over-the-counter medicines (these treatments no longer require a prescription)
– Menstrual care products (e.g., pads, tampons, liners, and related items)
– Telehealth services, pre-deductible without impacting HSA eligibility (provision in place until December 31, 2021)

Relief Related to Retirement Plans for Individuals

• Waiver of 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty Tax on Early Distributions from Eligible Retirement Plans
– The Act waives the 10% penalty tax on early distributions for distributions up to $100,000 in
2020 made to an individual
– Who is diagnosed with COVID-19,
– Whose spouse or dependent is so diagnosed or
– Who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid
off, having work hours reduced due to the virus, or closing or reducing hours of a business owned
or operated by the individual due to the virus

Wellness Benefits

• Health Plan Co-Pay & Deductible Waivers
– Waiver of co-pays and deductibles for testing and diagnosis of COVID-19
• Short Term & Long-Term Disability Insurance
– Your illness may qualify as a compensable illness under many short-term and long-term disability
insurance plans
• Mental Health Benefits
– All employer-sponsored health plans cannot restrict benefit maximums at a level under that which
is provided for other health benefits
– Employee Assistance Programs


Discounts | Northface

Thank you to The Northface for offering a 50% first responder discount.

As a small show of our heartfelt gratitude for their dedication and bravery in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, from April 14, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020 we will be giving a 50% discount to first responders in the United States. This discount can be used for the purchase of non-sale items on and at The North Face-owned retail stores in the United States. During this same period we will also be offering these individuals a 10% discount on non-clearance items at our outlet stores in the United States.

The following groups are eligible for the First Responder Discount:

  • Firefighters (incl. volunteer and career firefighters)

  • EMTs

  • Law Enforcement (incl. local police, state police, Federal police, sheriffs, constables, marshals, corrections officers and civilian employees)

  • Employees of the FBI, DEA, CBP and TSA

Learn More

New Benefit: Kindercare Discount & Priority Placement

AAA understands that EMS staff often experience significant challenges securing quality, reliable childcare, and that these challenges have been exacerbated by school and daycare closures caused by COVID-19. We are here to help!

The American Ambulance Association is proud to share that we have partnered with Kindercare to offer EMS providers priority childcare placement as well as a 10% discount on tuition. Please share this information with your staff! Visit for full details.

Kindercare Locations

AAA member employee families receive priority placement at all 1600 Kindercare centers, including the 400 Essential Care Centers that remain open during the pandemic.

Childcare Services & Age Range

AAA member employees save 10% on full-time, part-time, and drop-in tuition for children ages six weeks to 12 years at any KinderCare Learning Center or Champions before- and after-school sites nationwide.

Existing  Kindercare Families

This offer is available to new families as well as those already enrolled in a participating center.

Tuition Discount Guide

  1. Search for a center or site that is near you (Search Essential Centers Open During COVID-19 | Search All Centers, Including Those Currently Closed)
  2. Schedule a tour of the center or site online or by phone with the center information provided.
  3. When you enroll (or if you’re already enrolled), let your Center Director know you are a member of American Ambulance Association and that you are eligible for a 10% tuition benefit.
  4. Your Center Director will apply the discount on your next billing cycle.


Mitigate Absenteeism By Protecting EMS Mental Health

Document Developed by the Healthcare Resilience Task Force Behavioral Health Work group and Adapted by the Prehospital [911 and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)] Team. This guidance applies to all delivery models including but not limited to; free standing, third-service; fire-based, hospital-based, independent volunteer, and related emergency medical service providers.

Download PDF

Mitigate Absenteeism by Protecting Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Clinicians’ Psychological Health and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The resilience of our Nation’s healthcare system depends on our healthcare workforce’s ability to report for duty. Critical supplies, equipment, and surge capacity rely on dedicated, trained health professionals and support staff to enable care. This document contains general concepts to prepare and take action, such as those listed below, to help your EMS/911 agency protect your workers’ psychological health and well- being.


Prepare your workforce for what is to come before the surge takes place:

  • Organize peer support—staff-to-staff and family-to-family—to provide assistance with tangible needs like childcare, dependent care, pet care, and food and medication
    • Assist staff to locate resources to establish emergency plans for childcare, dependent care, pet care, and family communication to mitigate absenteeism due to urgent needs at
    • Encourage staff to pre-arrange their home to accommodate isolation should the staff member become ill (as not to spread infection to other household members).
  • Develop a plan to provide boarding on or near the work site for staff who are unable to commute, have a long commute, or concerned about infecting family and
    • Establish workforce housing by setting up dormitories, acquiring hotel space, or converting unused areas of the
    • Ensure plans account for non-medical staff (e.g., administration, billing, medical supplies, fleet maintenance, ).
    • Consider setting up shuttle service for employees, or designate drivers for staff working unusual shifts or prolonged
    • Check with your local and State Emergency Operations Centers to identify available resources and plans that may help with this
  • Encourage staff to develop a personal stress management plan to address exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, and
  • Pre-identify behavioral health resources in your area such as local behavioral health providers, Red Cross chapters, and Medical Reserve Corps units, tele-mental health services, as well as grief and loss resources for staff who may lose patients, colleagues, or loved
    • Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to locate behavioral health providers in your
      • Identify if any behavioral health providers in your area have experience treating EMS Clinicians.


Support your workforce effectively during the surge:

EMS Clinicians may not be able to use the coping mechanisms that they typically rely on to manage stress. Teaching and encouraging the use of simple relaxation techniques may help to decrease their physiological arousal levels and focus on something besides the situation at hand.

  • Maximize opportunities for effective
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help clinicians focus on decreasing the intensity of their
  • Provide opportunities while working for stress reduction activities i.e. comfort dogs, exercise,
  • Direct EMS leadership and senior staff to role model good stress management, empathy, and psychological support. Organizational policy should support the workforce and a culture and climate of safety.
  • Establish bi-directional communication and a mechanism for staff to make recommendations to leadership through use of dedicated email or a physical suggestion
  • At each shift change provide briefings on the current status of the work environment, safety procedures, and required safety
  • Work with agency for plan of judicious and strategic days off or
  • Establish a behavioral health (or resilience or fatigue management) safety officer who will regularly monitor staff stress, coping, and fatigue management and provide guidance, recommendations, and corrective action as needed. This important role needs to be empowered by leadership and leadership should be committed to adjusting course based on feedback and ground
  • Stress compromises the immune system and affects physical health. Address staff stress and fatigue with organizational strategies.
    • Establish and adhere to regular breaks throughout the shift to mitigate fatigue. Limit overtime whenever possible
    • Rotate workers from high-stress to lower-stress functions and monitor and adjust to address fatigue related to diurnal/shift timing
    • Monitor and evenly redistribute increased workload resulting from staff illness or accidental exposure.
    • Establish communications capabilities so that staff can communicate with loved ones and connect with their social supports through internet, video, and
    • Designate a quiet room or area for staff to use to facilitate rest during
    • Develop a strategy to ensure that healthy food, water, refreshments, hygiene, and comfort items are readily available without the need to leave the
    • If staff are sheltering in place at the facility, ensure access to:
      • Wifi
      • exercise equipment;
      • information such as newsletters, social media, or television;
      • facilities and supplies needed for hygiene (e.g., showering, teeth brushing, laundry); and
      • a means to get needed medications and capability to support personal medical equipment (e.g., CPAP).
  • Assign experienced staff to mentor and support newer staff and develop just in time onboarding materials to orient staff new to work site, including screening and infection control
  • Ensure staff know how to access psychological support through available mechanisms such as Employee Assistance Programs, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISM) team, members trained in stress first aid, and the Disaster Distress
    • SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters (1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746).
    • Ensure staff know how to access telehealth/telemedicine resources

1,2,3 This is a non-federal website. Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. government, or any of its employees, of the information and/or products presented on that site.

Costco Priority Access for EMS

Costco is temporarily allowing priority access to its warehouses during all open hours for Costco members who are healthcare workers and first responders such as police officers, EMTs, and firefighters. Healthcare workers and first responders who present a Costco membership card and official identification of their role will be allowed to move to the front of any line to enter the warehouse.

Learn more about Costco’s COVID-19 policies►

Free Webinar: COVID-19 Issues Affecting the EMS Workplace

Free Webinar | Fri, March 20, 2020 |1:00 PM ET

Register Now

The world has changed in just a few short weeks and we all want answers to the tough questions facing EMS. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is also redefining how we deal with many issues in the EMS workplace. Join us as the nation’s top EMS legal experts from the American Ambulance Association and Page, Wolfberg & Wirth address the hot topics such as patient privacy, workplace safety, staff shortages, pay practices, worker’s comp and leave, discipline practices, liability and more. The webinar will include a Q&A so that you can ask these experts about the issues that matter most to you.


Scott Moore, Esq.
Scott Moore is the owner of Moore EMS Consulting, LLC and an active EMT for nearly 30 years. Scott has held various executive positions, including Chief Executive Officer, Vice President, Director of Human Resources & Operations, at several ambulance services in Massachusetts. Scott is a licensed attorney, specializing in Human Resources, employment law, reimbursement, and compliance matters. Scott is the Human Resources & Operational Consultant to the American Ambulance Association (AAA) and frequently lectures at EMS conferences.

Ryan Stark, Esq.
Ryan Stark is a Managing Partner with Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, and is the firm’s resident “HIPAA guru.” Ryan is a featured speaker in PWW seminars and webinars, including the firm’s signature abc360 Conference, where he hosts the abc360 Game Show. Ryan developed, and is the primary instructor for the nation’s first and only HIPAA certification for the ambulance industry. He also co-authored PWW’s widely used Ambulance Service Guide to HIPAA Compliance.

Stephen Wirth, Esq., EMT-P
Attorney/Founding Partner, Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC
Steve Wirth is a founding partner of the national EMS law firm Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC. Steve has worked in virtually every facet of EMS in a four- decade career – as first responder, firefighter, EMT, paramedic, flight paramedic, EMS instructor, fire officer, and EMS executive. Steve brings a pragmatic, compassionate, and business‐oriented perspective to his diverse legal practice and served for nearly a decade as senior executive of a mid‐sized air and ground ambulance service.

Sponsored By:

By registering for this program, you consent to share the registration information (not including your email address) with the program’s sponsor.

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