Remembering Joe Huffman

It is with great sadness the American Ambulance Association announces the passing of long-time member and leader Joe Huffman. Obituary  Joe (Joel Claude) Huffman, a long- time member of the American Ambulance Association Board of Directors answered his Last Call July 1, 2019. after a long battle with Leukemia. Born August 11, 1954, Mr. Huffman died at his home in Garland surrounded by his family and friends. From his funeral service at First United Methodist Church of Richardson Mr. Huffman was taken in an ambulance rather than a hearse to Grove Hill Memorial  Park in Dallas The funeral procession included 17 ambulances and 14  command vehicles, as well as a police honor guard  and other mourners.  Following a rendition of Amazing Grace on  bagpipes first responders performed The Last Call ceremony. A licensed paramedic, Mr. Huffman was also active in professional organizations, serving on the board of directors of American Ambulance Association for 18 years and as a member many more years. He served as president of the Texas Ambulance Association for two years, and was on its executive board many of the more than 30 years he was a member While president of the Texas Ambulance Association, Mr. Huffman (more…)

House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Takes Action on Balance Billing

On July 11, 2019, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee held a markup in which they advanced 10 health care bills, including legislation on surprise/balance billing. This legislation, H.R. 3630, the No Surprises Act attempts to address out-of-network surprise medical bills. The AAA Government Affairs team has been in regular communication with the Energy and Commerce Committee and member offices leading up to the markup to ensure that the ground ambulance industry and AAA members were not negatively impacted by the legislation or any introduced amendments. Thanks to the attentive efforts of AAA members, staff, and consultants, there was no mention of ground ambulance during the markup of H.R. 3630, the No Surprises Act. While ground ambulance was not mentioned, Rep. Lujan (D-NM) highlighted the air ambulance transparency language that is included in the No Surprises Act and called for it to be strengthened further before this legislation is considered by the full Energy and Commerce Committee. Over the course of the markup, Subcommittee Chairwoman Eshoo (D-CA) thanked Rep. Lujan for bringing attention to the “extraordinary costs” associated with air ambulance. Rep. Ruiz (D-CA) then expressed his ongoing concerns regarding the balance billing provisions of the No Surprises...

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2019 Ambulance Ride-Along Toolkit

2019 Ride-Along Toolkit Now Available! Educating your members of Congress about ambulance industry issues makes them much more likely to support your efforts. An easy and effective way to educate them is to invite them to participate in a local Ambulance Ride-Along! Congress is scheduled to adjourn on July 27 for their August congressional recess with members of Congress returning home to their districts and states. This is the perfect opportunity for you to educate your members of Congress about those issues, in particular the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB), permanent ambulance relief and ambulance cost data collection which are important to your operation. The most effective way to deliver these key messages is to host your member of Congress or their staff on a tour of your operation and an ambulance ride-along. The AAA has made the process of arranging a ride-long or scheduling a meeting easy for you with our 2019 Congressional Ride-Along Toolkit. Are you willing to host a Member of Congress at your service but unsure of how to set it up? Email or call Aidan Camas at acamas@ambulance.org – (202) 802-9026 and Aidan can help you set up a meeting. Everything you need to arrange the ride-along (more…)

Update on AAA Legislative Priorities

The American Ambulance Association has been working hard to accomplish the legislative goals of the membership in the 116th Congress. The AAA would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on what we have accomplished thus far in the 116th Congress. Balance/Surprise Billing Balance/surprise billing is a hot button issue that recently came into the spotlight at the start of the 116th Congress. With the President’s announcement calling for Congress to pass legislation that would end surprise billing for patients, there has been an increase in Congressional action on the issue including introduced legislation, discussion drafts and hearings in all committees of jurisdiction. The AAA has been working tirelessly with the Congressional committees of jurisdiction to educate Members and staff on the unique characteristics of EMS systems and that it would be inappropriate to apply the same restrictions on balanced billing to ground ambulance services. The AAA has formed a working group comprised of AAA member volunteers that have worked on policy and messaging on balance billing. The working group has submitted comments to the Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate HELP committees advocating that the ambulance industry is unique from other stakeholders, and as such, should be looked (more…)

In Memory of Patrick Wells Smith

Patrick Wells Smith, age 65, passed away unexpectedly on June 21, 2019, at his home in Reno, Nev.  He was well-known as a nationally-respected innovator and icon in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) industry. Most recently he was the President and CEO of REMSA (Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority) and Care Flight, based in Reno, from January 1990 through March 2013 and then President of SEMSA (Sierra Emergency Medical Services Authority) also based in Reno,  from April 2013 to June 2018. He was born on November 17, 1953 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to parents Ted Arvel Smith and Margaret Wells Smith. He was the second of three children. He attended Minnetonka High School, got his start as an EMT in 1973 as a college student in Minnesota, and soon began taking on supervisory roles for EMS agencies in Minnesota and Oregon. In 1980 he was hired as an assistant director of Metropolitan Ambulance Services Trust in Kansas City where he consulted to establish EMS systems in Fort Wayne, IN.; Pinellas County, FL; Fort Worth, TX; and Little Rock, AK. He worked as Vice President of Eastern Ambulance in Syracuse New York after that before moving to Reno.  He was well known (more…)

AAA Honors 107 EMS Professionals at 2019 Stars of Life Awards

For Immediate Release AAA HONORS 107 EMS PROFESSIONALS AT 2019 STARS OF LIFE AWARDS Contact Amanda Riordan 703-610-9018 ariordan@ambulance.org www.ambulance.org Washington, DC,  June 23, 2019– The American Ambulance Association (AAA) celebrated the best and brightest of EMS professionals during its annual Stars of Life celebration June 24-26. At this year’s event, 107 individuals from across the United States and Trinidad & Tobago, were honored as the 2019 Stars of Life. The Stars of Life program pays tribute to the dedication of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. During their time in Washington, the Stars of Life recipients, accompanied by executive hosts, met with members of Congress and congressional aides to discuss legislative issues critical to emergency medical services. In addition to honoring the Stars, Representative Terri Sewell of Alabama was recognized as Legislator of the Year for her distinguished service, and 25 United States Senators and Representatives received Legislative Recognition Awards for their support of ambulance services. # # # About the American Ambulance Association Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and (more…)

2019 AAA Legislative Awards

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 AAA Legislative Awards, in recognition of their strong advocacy for emergency medical services. Each legislator was chosen for their ongoing dedication to the ambulance services across the United States. 2019 AAA Legislator of the Year Representative Terri Sewell (D-AL) 2019 AAA Legislative Recognition Award Recipients Senators Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. Senator Susan M. Collins Senator Chuck Grassley Senator Doug Jones Senator Patrick J. Leahy Senator Pat Roberts Senator Charles E. Schumer Senator Debbie Stabenow Senator Jon Tester Senator John Thune Senator Ron Wyden Representatives Representative Earl Blumenauer Representative Rosa DeLauro Representative Debbie Dingell Representative Richard Hudson Representative Darin LaHood Representative Markwayne Mullin Representative Richard E. Neal Representative Devin Nunes Representative Steve Scalise Representative Scott Tipton Representative Fred Upton Representative Greg Walden Representative Peter Welch Representative Lee Zeldin

CMMI Releases Preview of ET3 RFA

On May 22, 2019, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) released a preview of the Request for Applications (RFAs). This documentation will be used by ambulance providers and suppliers to apply for inclusion as “Participants” in the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) pilot program. Webinar: Learn More About the RFA June 13, 2019 | 2:00 PM Eastern Speakers: Brian Werfel, Kathy Lester, Rebecca Williamson, Asbel Montes $99 for Members | $198 for Non-Members Relevant Background On February 14, 2019, CMMI announced the creation of a new 5-year pilot program designed to give participating EMS agencies greater flexibility to address the needs of Medicare beneficiaries following a 911 call. The ET3 model would create a new payment model under which participating EMS agencies will be eligible for Medicare reimbursement for: (1) transportation to alternative treatment destinations and (2) treatment at the scene. At the time, CMMI indicated that it anticipated starting the ET3 model in early 2020. To that end, CMMI anticipated soliciting Requests for Participation in the Summer of 2019. Participation in this pilot program is voluntary. Regardless of whether an ambulance provider or supplier participates in the pilot program, payment for ambulance transportation currently covered under...

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