Biden Administration Executive Orders Related to COVID-19

AJC | Georgia EMS crews near ‘breaking point’

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 8

On a recent day, a Dawsonville ambulance worker was trying to rush a patient with dangerously high blood pressure to the hospital.

But after a brief call, she learned its emergency department was on “diversion,” meaning her patient could wait more than an hour for a bed, tying up the ambulance from responding to other calls.

“I have been hung up … and told to go else where!” she posted on the social media page of a statewide group of emergency medical personnel.

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KHN | One Ambulance Ride Leads to Another When Packed Hospitals Cannot Handle Non-Covid Patients

From Kaiser Health News on January 11

One Ambulance Ride Leads to Another When Packed Hospitals Cannot Handle Non-Covid Patients

Keely Connolly thought she would be safe once the ambulance arrived at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Kansas.

She was having difficulty breathing because she’d had to miss a kidney dialysis treatment a few days earlier for lack of child care. Her potassium was dangerously high, putting her at risk of a heart attack. But she trusted she would be fine once she was admitted and dialysis was begun.

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JEMS Op-Ed | You Should Take the Vaccine

COVID-19 Can Kill You Now or Later. You Should Take the Vaccine.
By AJ Heightman on December 31, 2020

It pains me to have to write about a young, healthy EMS provider/firefighter from my hometown of Scranton, PA, but there is an important message for you to hear about COVID-19 and importance for all emergency responders to take the vaccines being offered to them.

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EMS1 | EMS advocacy and adaptability with Shawn Baird

EMS1 Interview of AAA President Shawn Baird by AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence

As we enter, hopefully, a happier new year, several of our national associations that have been at the forefront of collaborative advocacy efforts and the voices of the EMS profession have undergone planned changes in their leadership.

To welcome in 2021, I sat down, via Zoom, with Shawn Baird, incoming president of the American Ambulance Association and asked him about 2020 and his thoughts on the future of our industry. Shawn is the vice president for rural services with MetroWest Ambulance Family of Companies in Oregon. Shawn spent the last two years serving the AAA as president elect and has been at the center of AAA activity and advocacy.

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Happy 2021, EMS!

Happy New Year, EMS! No matter how big the challenge, mobile healthcare NEVER gives up on our communities. Paramedics, EMTs, and Dispatchers have been a ray of hope in the #COVID19 pandemic. Thanks for showing us all what CARING really means.

Happy New Year, #EMS! No matter how big the challenge, #mobilehealthcare NEVER gives up on our communities. #Paramedics,…

Posted by American Ambulance Association on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

NYT | With Virus Surging, EMS’s Job Just Got Harder

From The New York Times on December 29, 2020

With Virus Surging, Ambulance Workers’ Hard Job Just Got Harder

By Gabriella Angotti-Jones

Emergency medical technicians for Amwest Ambulance have worked with coronavirus patients in Los Angeles since March. During this surge of cases in California, roughly 40 percent of the patients they transport are considered “Covid-19 probable.”

The day begins with calls to the dispatch center. Linze Thompson, 26, records information: the state of patients’ health, their coronavirus test results and safety precautions the E.M.T.s must take.

The dispatcher notes an estimated time for patient pickup and contacts the crew on call. Crews time each transport down to the minute.

Once on location, Joshua Berrios, 30, dons a mask, gown, face shield, goggles and gloves. The E.M.T.s approach each scene as if the patient were positive for the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 EMS Association Thank You Video

#EMS association leaders say THANK YOU to #paramedics, #EMTs, #dispatchers, and other #MobileHealthcare professionals. Thank you for serving on the very front lines of our nation’s #COVID19 response!

Thank you to Matt Zavadsky for creating this video!

COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group Vax Videos

The Federal Pre-Hospital / EMS COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group put together two wonderful videos to encourage EMS providers to get both the COVID-19 vaccination and seasonal flu shot. Please share with your staff!

Watch Video 1: https://vimeo.com/492847212/3682909c4c

Watch Video 2: https://vimeo.com/492847424/d5a17f6b4c

 

 

EMS.gov | DOT Recognizes NHTSA OEMS Staff with Prestigious Awards

Congratulations to Kate Elkins and OEMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD!

From EMS.Gov

DOT SECRETARY RECOGNIZES KATE ELKINS, JON KROHMER WITH PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has awarded Kate Elkins the Secretary’s Award for her dedication to improving emergency services. An EMS specialist for NHTSA’s Office of EMS, Kate received the honor for her commitment to making a positive impact on EMS and 911 systems. From overseeing the allocation of $109 million in federal 911 grants, to collaborating with federal colleagues, to increasing awareness about mental health and suicide in public safety, she approaches her work with enthusiasm and passion.

Tireless in her efforts to advocate for EMS clinicians and 911 telecommunicators, Kate has provided countless hours of her time, expertise, and experience in doing what she does best—helping others. For example, Kate has focused on efforts to improve EMS pandemic response, serving as the deputy team lead of the Prehospital (EMS/911) Team as part of the HHS/FEMA COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group. At the same time, she continued to serve her local community as a paramedic, chief officer and EMS and public health educator.

The secretary also honored the leaders of the department’s response to the COVID-19 health emergency with a gold medal for outstanding achievement, including Jon Krohmer, MD, director of the NHTSA Office of EMS. Every member of the Office of EMS team has contributed tirelessly to the department’s response and to the interagency COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group.

Congratulations to Kate and the entire team for their outstanding achievements and contributions.

Congress Passes $900 Billion Stimulus Package with Ambulance Relief

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives followed soon after by the United States Senate passed an approximately $900 billion legislative package to provide additional economic relief to businesses and individuals struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic. The package also contained numerous unrelated policy changes with several provisions on interest to ground ambulance service organizations. The AAA is currently analyzing the legislative text of the massive 3,000 plus page package and will provide members with the final analysis. In the meantime, below are some highlights.

Sequestration Delay

Sequestration, which reduces Medicare reimbursement by 2% for Medicare providers and suppliers, is suspended through March 31, 2021.

Provider Relief Fund

An additional $3 billion is added to the Provider Relief Fund administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Balance Billing

Health care providers will no longer be able to balance bill patients with private insurance. Rates will be determined through an arbitration process. The restrictions do not apply to ground ambulance services. The AAA along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Firefighters and National Association of EMTs successfully educated lawmakers about the oversight role of local governments in 911 EMS systems. The legislation instead establishes an Advisory Committee on Ground Ambulance Billing which will issue a report to Congress on its findings. The AAA will be pushing for representatives of the AAA to be on the Committee.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Another round of $284 billion in PPP funding is made available to small businesses hit especially hard by the pandemic. Businesses must employ 300 or fewer employees and report losses of 25% or more in order to qualify. For ground ambulance service organizations which receive PPP funds under the past round or the current one, expenses covered by forgiven funds will now be deductible.

 

Today’s AAA webinar, “Wrapping Up a Year for the Record Books”, will include an overview of the stimulus package. This webinar is free for AAA members. Register Here!

AJC | Vaccine campaign dawns in Georgia; Kemp attends 2nd day of doses

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution on December 16

Vaccine campaign dawns in Georgia; Kemp attends 2nd day of doses

… Chatham EMS Chief Chuck Kearns got the call Tuesday. His paramedics are in line for vaccination appointments next week, and his staff immediately prepared a blast email to go out first thing Wednesday on how to sign up.

“We’ve had over 100 personnel who’ve gone into quarantine at one time or another since March,” Kearns said. “When they got the result of tests for quarantine, days were cut in half. We’ve had a few dozen of our employees test positive and some were hospitalized.” He added that this is the 10th epidemic he’s worked as a paramedic, starting with AIDS. To him, his staff’s vaccines are arriving fast enough.

“We’re very relieved,” Kearns said.

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National Academies | Vaccine Confidence Information Gathering Session

Friday. December 18, 2020
11:30–16:00 ET

Register Free

To inform a forthcoming rapid expert consultation on building public confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) of the National Academies will hold an information gathering session on vaccine confidence. The session will cover the current state of vaccine confidence, reasons for hesitancy, and best practices for messaging. Facilitated discussions will incorporate special attention to communities at higher risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19, including underserved and vulnerable communities. Drawing from what is known about reaching and engaging diverse audiences to change beliefs and attitudes, this session will illustrate strategies that are likely to promote uptake of FDA-approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19.

This project is being done in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats.

Register Free

LED lights found to kill coronavirus

From Tel Aviv University on December 14

LED lights found to kill coronavirus: Global first in fight against COVID-19

TAU finding suggests technology can be installed in air conditioning, vacuum, and water systems

Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have proven that the coronavirus can be killed efficiently, quickly, and cheaply using ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs). They believe that the UV-LED technology will soon be available for private and commercial use.

This is the first study conducted on the disinfection efficiency of UV-LED irradiation at different wavelengths or frequencies on a virus from the family of coronaviruses. The study was led by Professor Hadas Mamane, Head of the Environmental Engineering Program at TAU’s School of Mechnical EngineeringIby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering. The article was published in November 2020 issue of the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology.

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ACEP | EMS Priority Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank you to ACEP for the following statement.

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Fox | ‘What if you call EMS and nobody comes?’

From Fox News by Hunter Davis on December 10

Coronavirus crippling emergency response agencies: ‘What if you call EMS and nobody comes?’

DALLAS, Texas – The coronavirus pandemic has strained the country’s hospital systems and pushed front-line workers mentally and physically as the number of cases spikes upward again. Some agencies dealing with budget issues due to demand in personal protective equipment (PPE) and an uptick in calls have been forced to shutter, begging the question of who will respond in the event of an emergency?

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WaPo | Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point’

From the Washington Post by William Wan on December 3, 2020

Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point,’ ambulance operators say
Surging demand, financial strain are leaving ambulance teams exhausted and running out of funds

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed America’s 911 system and emergency responders to a “breaking point,” with ambulance operators exhausted and their services financially strained, according to the group that represents them.

The situation since the novel coronavirus struck last winter has grown so dire that the American Ambulance Association recently begged the Department of Health and Human Services for $2.6 billion in emergency funding.

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