EMSA Welcomes Congressman Jim Bridenstine

Long-time AAA member the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) of Oklahoma welcomed Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK, District 1) for a tour today. Thanks to Angie Lehman, EMSA’s Vice President of Financial Services and co-chair of the AAA Medicare Regulatory Committee for sharing these great photos from the visit.



As always, AAA encourages member organizations to open their doors to legislators to showcase the critical importance of prehospital care. If you give a tour or overview to a congressperson, please share your photos with us!

WTAE Shows 25% of Ambulance Calls Unpaid

WTAE Pittsburgh’s Action News recently published a great video investigative piece by Paul Van Osdol on the realities of ambulance funding.

So who pays for these and other non-transport calls?

“The folks that go to the hospital end up paying for the 25 percent that we don’t transport,” Porter said.

But even that does not cover the entire cost, and as a result, ambulance companies are hurting.

A survey of Allegheny County EMS services found 75 percent of them are losing money. On average, they collect only 43 percent of the amount they bill.

“That is frightening when you think about the EMS system as a whole,” Porter said. “The risk is burnout of EMS crews, overworked EMS crews, delayed response time, inadequately trained staff.”

Read the full article, and see their fantastic video, over at WTAE.com.

Watch Now

Share News Stories and Press Releases with AAA

AAA members, do you have a great news story or press release to share with fellow members? We’d love to help. Submit links to content published on non-AAA sites below.

  • News articles may be included in the AAA Digest e-newsletter and/or blog.
  • Press releases are accepted as they relate to heroism, community service, merger and acquisition announcements, and other noncommercial activities. Please note that commercially-focused or product-specific press releases cannot be shared by AAA as a matter of policy.

Stories can be about your ambulance service, your employees, services near you, policy, or other topics that you feel may be of interest to other members. Thank you for sharing your stories with us!

Would you like to write or speak FOR AAA? Read more.

Please note that AAA reserves the right to decline to publish any content for any reason. Only AAA members are eligible to submit content.

  • Submitter Name
  • Link to the content you are submitting for consideration. Note: AAA can't accept Word doc or PDF press releases—please post press releases to your site, then submit the link.
  • Article or press release title
  • Date the article or press release was published
    MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • For news articles, include the name of the newspaper, radio station, magazine, etc. For press releases, note the name of the website where this is published (PR Newswire, your organization's website, etc).

Van Arnam Retires From AEV, Will Head CAAS GVS

Mark Van Arnam, founder and CEO of American Emergency Vehicles, has announced his retirement from the North Carolina based manufacturer of ambulances. “It is extremely difficult to leave AEV,” stated Van Arnam. “But, the company is performing well, and is run by a strong team.” Mark has been in the ambulance business for over 45 years, and is looking forward to some new challenges.

First on his list of projects is the implementation of the new Ground Vehicle Standard (GVS v.1.0), scheduled to be published in February by the Commission on Accreditation for Ambulance Services (CAAS). “Our broad based GVS committee spent over two years developing this new consensus standard for ambulances,” stated Van Arnam, who served as Vice Chair of the Committee. “We are very proud of our document, and anxious to roll it out as a successor to the KKK-A-1822 standard which the US Government will sunset in the near future.”

CAAS is an ANSI accredited organization that defines the “gold standard” for operations in the medical transportation industry. “CAAS is very excited about the Ground Vehicle Standard project,” stated Mark Postma, CAAS Chair. “We have now created the gold standard for emergency medical vehicles, intended for use by all types of providers in the broad spectrum of EMS.”

Postma went on to say “CAAS is proud to appoint an industry leader like Mark Van Arnam to serve as Administrator for the inaugural era of the GVS. We look forward to seeing the CAAS GVS standard become the new cornerstone for emergency vehicle production and certification throughout North America.”

For additional information:

www.groundvehiclestandard.org
www.caas.org

Ambulance Ride-Along Toolkit

AAA ambulance emt member legislation

2017 Kit Coming Soon!

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 15 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 Medicare ambulance relief and reform, 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.  If you cannot host a tour and ride-along, we strongly encourage you to arrange local meetings with your members of Congress during August.  The AAA has made the process of arranging a ride-long or scheduling a meeting easy for you with our 2016 Congressional Ride-Along Toolkit.

While the current temporary Medicare ambulance relief increases don’t expire unit December 31, 2017, meet with your members of Congress now to gain their support for making the relief permanent.  Also, there is a potential opportunity this year to make progress on provisions to change our status from “suppliers” to “providers” of health care services and to direct CMS to collect ambulance cost data.  Enactment of these two provisions is necessary to set the stage for future reform of the Medicare fee schedule and reimbursement for services other than a transport.  During the tours or meetings, please therefore request your members of Congress to cosponsor the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Relief Act (S. 377, H.R. 745) and support moving the provider status and cost data provisions of the bill this year.

Everything you need to arrange the ride-along or schedule a meeting is included in the Toolkit. Act now and invite your elected officials to join you on an Ambulance Ride-Along!

Other Important Resources:

2016 AAA Legislative Overview and Priorities

Permanent Medicare Ambulance Relief Leave Behind – For Congressional Staffers

Talking Points for Permanent Medicare Relief

Advocacy Handbook

CMS Releases Ambulance Cost Data Collection Report

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its report on the feasibility of collecting cost data from ambulance service providers.  Under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, Congress directed CMS to conduct the report entitled “Evaluation of Hospitals’ Ambulance Data on Medicare Cost Reports and Feasibility of Obtaining Cost Data from All Ambulance Providers and Suppliers”. The report can be accessed here.

The report states that due to the diverse nature of our industry with a majority of providers being small entities, traditional mandatory ambulance cost reporting is not feasible.  While it does not make a recommendation on a data collection system, the report highlights the work of the AAA with The Moran Company and will be helpful in our push for a survey approach to collecting ambulance cost data.  Here is AAA’ summary of the report, AAA Summary of CMS Acumen Cost Analysis.

The survey approach to collecting ambulance cost data is a major component of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 377, H.R. 745) which would make the current Medicare ambulance increases permanent.  The data collected through the survey would help the AAA make data-driven recommendations to the Congress and CMS on future changes to the Medicare ambulance fee schedule.

The contractor, Acumen, who developed the report, was also asked to look to see if cost data submitted by hospital-based ambulance service providers would be helpful.  Acumen determined that the data submitted varied significantly and thus was not useful.

For questions about the AAA efforts on cost data collection, please contact AAA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tristan North at tnorth@ambulance.org.

Tribute to Melissa Hudson, EMT, EMD, EMD-Q

HudsonA long-time member of the EMS community died on Sunday, September 6. Melissa J. Hudson, EMT, EMD, EMD-Q, won widespread respect and well-deserved recognition during her 23 years of service at the Emergency Medical Services Authority in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was 52 years old.

Melissa started her career at EMSA on June 1, 1992. As an EMT, she was a strong patient advocate and was promoted to a preceptor role. Later, Melissa uncovered her life’s calling in the communications center. Melissa had an innate skill to calm callers and manage resources in a high-volume system. Her multitasking skills and ability to keep tracks of trucks in her head were legendary. It is no exaggeration to say that Melissa answered tens of thousands of emergency calls during her career. As a communications supervisor, Melissa set very high standards for herself and her crew, yet she also displayed great patience with and compassion toward her peers. She was a loyal friend, a dependable leader and a true force to be reckoned with.

In 2010, Melissa was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She chose and was able to work full-time, almost to the end of her life, while undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Melissa was named the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technician’s Communications Specialist of the Year in 2011. In 2013, she was commended by the Tulsa City Council for helping rescue a premature infant born in the midst of a violent domestic dispute. Melissa talked the mother through the birth, persuaded an irate man at the scene not to harm the mother or child, and provided CPR instruction to a police officer who arrived at the scene just minutes after the baby’s birth. In 2014, Melissa was nominated by her peers and selected to receive the EMS industry’s most prestigious honor, the American Ambulance Association Star of Life award.

Melissa spent quality time with friends and loved ones during the last five years of her life. On November 4, 2014, Melissa and her longtime love, Pamela Kritikos, were married. The two traveled to Europe, took a cruise with dear friends, and loved spending time with their furry companions, Dexter and Tugger.

Melissa is survived by her wife, Pamela Kritikos, her sisters Cheryl Hudson and Linda Lane, brother Ed Evans, and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Verl and Esther Hudson, and her twin sister, Patricia Hudson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider a donation to a cause that was close to Melissa’s heart: ovarian cancer research, the American Cancer Society or the Tulsa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ) Receives AAA Legislative Award

Congressman Frank Pallone visited MONOC Mobile Health Services corporate headquarters in Wall Township, New Jersey on August 13 to receive the 2015 American Ambulance Association (AAA) Legislative Recognition Award from MONOC’s President and CEO, Vince Robbins.

The AAA chose Congressman Pallone for this award for his co-sponsorship and support getting HR 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, signed into law. Section 203 extends through 2017 the temporary increases in payment for ground ambulance services throughout the country.

In attendance were Vince Robbins, President of MONOC, John Gribbin, Chairman of MONOC and President of CentraState Healthcare System, Rob Davis, President of the Medical Transportation Association of New Jersey and President of Alert Ambulance, and Jacob Halpern, President of GEM Ambulance service, also a member of AAA.

As a proud member of the AAA, Vince Robbins presented the award to Congressman Pallone, whose district MONOC provides Emergency Medical Services for. Vince Robbins said, “It was both a pleasure and an honor to recognize Congressman Pallone for his outstanding leadership in supporting the vital service ambulance and EMS agencies perform every day. The Congressman has fought tirelessly to promote the proper reimbursement of such services from Medicare. Although much more needs to be done, we know Congressman Pallone is a strong advocate and ally in this effort”.


A special thanks to MONOC for sharing this recap with AAA members.

Wall Street Journal: Paramedics Aren’t Just for Emergencies

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured several promising community paramedicine programs, as well as some great quantitative results.

“Paramedics are a readily deployable, nimble, clinically trained resource who can help close a gap in American health care,” Dr. Schoenwetter says…

From March 2014 to June 2015, the Geisinger mobile health team prevented 42 hospitalizations, 33 emergency department visits and 168 inpatient days among 704 patients who had a home visit from a paramedic, Geisinger calculates. In the case of heart-failure patients, hospital admissions and emergency-room visits were reduced by 50%, and the rate of hospital readmissions within 30 days fell by 15%. Patient satisfaction scores for the program were 100%.”

Read the full article on wsj.com. (Hat tip to Matt Zavadsky.)

MedStar Helps Reunite Baby, Mom After Tragic Crash

(Details and video courtesy of Fox 4 News and Medstar.)

On June 25, Sergeant Colby Bozo and his wife Kristen were driving home when their vehicle was struck by a stolen car being pursued in a police chase. Sadly, Colby Bozo was killed on impact, and Kristen, then 37 weeks pregnant, was very seriously injured and required an emergency caesarian section.

AAA member MedStar Mobile Healthcare, in coordination with John Peter Smith Hospital, and Cook Children’s Hospital surprised Kristen by arranging for her to see her newborn baby for the first time. Staff took a detour to Cook Children’s Hospital during mom’s ambulance transfer from JPS in Fort Worth to Baylor Rehabilitation Center in Dallas.

George Church, a MedStar Operations Supervisor who helped coordinate the reunion, said at the time, “I’ve been in EMS a long time, and there are very few moments that get to me any more—this one got to me.”

Great job, MedStar, JPS, and Cooks Children’s!

Video from Fox4News.com

Supporters of Kristen and the baby are invited to donate at a Fund.ly page.

Community Paramedicine’s Growth Hindered by Reimbursement Issues

From Politico’s “Reimbursement issues block paramedics from expanded role“—

Despite the track record of [community paramedicine] initiatives in places like Nevada and Texas, where paramedics are providing in-home care, coordinating patient services and saving millions in the process, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans still won’t reimburse for such work. The program successes to date are only beginning to change that…

Nationwide, the impact from reducing ambulance calls and demands on ERs while freeing up doctors could be huge. A 2013 study in Health Affairs estimated that more flexible reimbursement for paramedicine approaches could save Medicare $283 million to $560 million annually and similar sums for private insurers.

AAA Members Named to NEMSAC

On May 12, 2015, two AAA member leaders were appointed to the  National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC) by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. NEMSAC advises the Department of Transportation and the Federal Interagency Committee on critical EMS issues.

Continue reading

Kaiser Health News: REMSA Paramedics Steer Non-Emergency Patients Away From ERs

Innovation in Reno
REMSA program empowers EMS, helps patient outcomes, and cuts costs.

Yesterday Kaiser Health News reported that AAA member organization Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA), is serving its community in innovative ways that reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes. Initiatives led by REMSA CEO Jim Gubbels empower Reno paramedics to lower the number of preventable emergency room visits and close gaps in primary health care.

Using a $9.8 million federal grant, [REMSA CEO Jim Gubbels’] agency launched three different projects. In addition to providing paramedic home visits and offering patients options besides the ER, the agency started a nurse-run health line to give people with health questions another number to call in non-emergency situations.

An early evaluation by the University of Nevada, Reno, which was based on insurance claims and hospital data, shows that the projects saved $5.5 million in 2013 and 2014. They helped avoid 3,483 emergency department visits, 674 ambulance transports and 59 hospital re-admissions, according to the preliminary data. The federal government plans to do its own evaluation.

Continue reading