Share With Your Team: Substance Abuse Resources

Find out how AAA’s LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program, automatically covers all member organizations’ employees, can help your staff that is struggling with addiction.

Download our Substance Abuse PDF, then share electronically with employees. Articles covered include:

  • If You Suspect an Employee Has a Substance Abuse Problem
  • Recognizing a Substance Abuse Problem and What to Do
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Warning Signs
  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Quick Facts About Alcohol Abuse
  • Support Groups for Family and Friends of Substance Abusers
  • What to Do If You Suspect a Co-Worker Has a Substance Abuse Problem
  • What is Reasonable Suspicion?
  • How to Help Someone Getting Past Resistance to Drug and Alcohol Treatment
  • Treating Addiction
  • How to Use the Employee Assistance Program
  • and many more!

Download Substance Abuse PDF

As always, you and your team can call our dedicated hotline, 1-800-929-0068, 24/7 to set appointments for FREE IN-PERSON COUNSELING in your area. Learn more on our AAA Employee Assistance Program page (membership required.)

FDA Issues First Responder Drug Dispenser Guidance

In accordance with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act of 2013, the FDA issued regulations last year to require drug dispensaries to build an electronic system to identify and track the distribution of drugs. Many small dispensaries do not have the ability currently to electronically trace small quantities of drugs. The AAA became concerned that hospital and other small dispensers would no longer provide first responders with critical drugs in fear of not being compliant with the new regulations. The AAA joined a coalition of dispensaries, pharmacists and others that also had concerns with the new regulations.

As a result of the efforts of the coalition and the AAA, we were able to delay enforcement of the requirements until today, March 1. The AAA then worked directly with the FDA to educate them about the unique nature that small dispensaries sometimes play in restocking certain ambulance service providers. Upon learning of these transactions, the FDA shared our concerns and worked quickly to release the guidance.

The guidance states that the FDA will not take action against drug dispensaries in providing drugs to first responders if the dispensary follows certain basic recording keeping policies. The agency will also not take any action against the first responder. The guidance is entitled “Requirements for Transactions with First Responders under Section 582 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — Compliance Policy Guidance for Industry“.

VIDEO: AAA Experts in Reimbursement, Regulations, Human Resources, Operations

Did you know that your AAA membership includes access to some of the top minds in the ambulance industry today? As the healthcare landscape becomes ever more complex, it’s nice to know you have experts on your side.

Watch the video below to learn more about the attorney-consultants that AAA retains in order to ensure our member organizations are ahead of the curve on human resource, reimbursement, legislative, and regulatory issues.

Attention, AAA Members!
Have a question? Submit it to our experts today!
Ask a reimbursement or Medicare question.
Ask a human resources or operations question.

Not yet a member? Join today to gain access to AAA experts, plus a wealth of other powerful member benefits.

Savvik 10 Minute, 10 Item, 10% Savings Challenge

Savvik Buying Group, formerly North Central EMS Cooperative, is offering AAA members the opportunity to save even more on their first orders for Henry Schein medical supplies. Read below to learn more!

10 ITEM – 10 MINUTE – 10% CHALLENGE!

Give Savvik 10 items and 10 minutes of your time, and we will help you save money!
Pick the 10 med supply items that you use the most and we will share with you our Savvik national contract price. We will do all of the comparison work! We will even give you an extra 10% discount* on top of our already low contract price on your first order with our medical supplies provider Henry Schein. No minimum purchase requirement, no long term commitment, no freight charges orders of $150.00 or more.

Start the new year saving money!

Email Savvik Your Top 10 Items!

Good for new Henry Schein customers only thru January 31st 2016. *10% discount offer on first orders not to exceed an order total of $10,000.

10 Safety Topics that Will Move EMS Forward in 2016

What are your ambulance services’s safety priorities for 2016? AAA member The Center for Patient Safety has just released 10 Safety Topics that Will Move EMS Forward in 2016, a free download covering:

  • Airway Management
  • Behavior Health Encounters
  • Crashes: Ambulance and Helicopter
  • Device Failures
  • Medication Errors
  • Mobile Integrated Healthcare
  • Pediatric Patients
  • Safety Culture
  • Second Victim Intervention
  • Transition of Care

Get your copy today to learn how to ensure safety for your employees and patients.

Download Now

Savvik: Save on Vehicles, Supplies, and More!

Did you know that your service may be overpaying for everything from new ambulances to computers to staplers?
If you are not already purchasing necessities through the American Ambulance Association’s partnership with Savvik Buying Group, you’re missing out on deeply discounted group purchasing savings.

Watch our video below to learn more from Savvik President and AAA Treasurer Aarron Reinert.

 

[styled_box title=”Get Started With Savvik” footer=”” icon=”” class=”panel-default”]AAA members, start saving now!

Not yet a member of the AAA? Join today and start saving tomorrow.[/styled_box]

ACA Filing Deadline Extension

In Fall 2015, we alerted you to a deadline for a new employer filings under the Affordable Care Act.  On December 28, 2015 the IRS extended the deadline to furnish and file the required forms for all required filers. The new deadlines are:

  • March 31, 2016, to deliver the 2015 Forms 1095-C to affected employees;
  • May 31, 2016, to manually file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS — for employers who’re eligible for paper filing; and
  • June 30, 2016, to electronically file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS.

According to the IRS this is a one-time filing extension and will not be further extended.   This will give employers and payroll companies additional time to prepare for this new requirement.  If you fail to make the required filings by these extended deadlines, you will be subject to penalties.  If you have not yet determined how you will prepare for this deadline, you should be contacting your payroll service or benefits broker for assistance.

As always, the American Ambulance Association can assist you with any ACA questions.

Active Shooter/Violence Resources for EMS

Updated December 22, 2015

In the sad wake of many recent mass shooting incidents, the AAA wants to ensure you and your team have all of the best information possible about handling these scenarios.

Are there other resources you use with your team to prepare for active shooters? Please share with us in the comments and we will augment this list. Thank you, and stay safe!

Preventing and Surviving Violence

Recovering from Active Shooter Incidents

Articles

Special thanks to Scott Moore of EMS Resource Advisors, Steve Delahousey of AMR, Aarron Reinert of Lakes Region EMS, John Peterson of Sunstar Paramedics, and Christopher Eisenhardt of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team for their assistance.

Spotlight: Randy Strozyk

Randy Strozyk
Tukwila, WA, USA
Senior Vice President of Operations, American Medical Response (AMR)
Secretary, AAA Board of Directors
Randy’s LinkedIn Profile

Tell us a little about yourself, please.

My life-long automobile obsession continues, but that’s old news. Something people may not know about me is that I’m a relatively new and incredibly proud grandfather. My grandson, Samuel, was born in April 2014. Samuel’s parents are brilliant—our son, Terrell, is an attorney and the deputy director of the Oregon insurance commission; Sophie, our daughter-in-law, is Taiwanese and took her final exam for her MBA just a few days before Samuel was born (despite being dilated and having some minor contractions, she aced the test)—so we assume Samuel will develop a cure for cancer, broker peace in the Middle East or do something else to change the world. Samuel is learning English and Taiwanese, which means that when he goes through his awful adolescence period, he’ll be able to hurl insults at me in a language I don’t understand.

My wife, Karma, and I are excited to meet our second grandchild—Samuel’s cousin, and the first child of our other son, Todd, and his lovely wife, Julie—in November. I don’t expect my granddaughter to be speaking a language I don’t understand before she’s potty-trained, but stranger things have happened. What I do know is that this baby is going to have Grandpa wrapped around her little finger in no time.

Our youngest child, Erin, just got married to a great guy, Keith, this summer. No kids in that household, but they have four-legged babies and a shared passion for helping the underprivileged by expanding access to affordable, reliable solar energy.

Our children are unique, interesting and, with six degrees between the three of them, highly learned individuals. I couldn’t be prouder of my family.

How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?

Becoming a paramedic and healthcare executive wasn’t my initial game plan, but I was bitten by the EMS bug. I had the chance to ride out with ambulance crews as a medical explorer scout in high school. I enjoyed the medicine and quick pace, so I earned my EMT certification while studying microbiology at Washington State University and worked on the ambulance during the summers before my junior and senior years. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I went to paramedic school. I planned to do it for only a short while. That was back when the Phillies were a championship baseball team and the only Madonna anyone had heard of wore a serene expression and hung out in mangers. Nearly 36 years later, I’m still here.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Over the past 15 years at AMR, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many different projects. In the course of a single month, you might find me in Oklahoma at EMSA, in Denver at our National Resource Center and AMR-Air headquarters, in Washington on AAA business and in Hawaii with our air operation there. I love seeing how EMS functions across the country. I won’t say that I’ve “seen it all” just yet, but if there’s something I don’t know, there’s someone I know with an answer.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

Some people may think that the biggest challenges I’ve faced have to do with specific tough projects or some of the legendary personalities I’ve worked with or for over the past 36 years. But I’d say the biggest challenge for me—and probably for others—is more internalized. People with deep experience in one field have to work at remaining enthusiastic and engaged. We can’t become attenuated to our circumstances and accept “that’s how it’s always been” as acceptable answers. EMS is a dynamic industry. Many of the tools and techniques that were considered cutting-edge when I first started in the business have already gone the way of the dinosaurs; likewise, the next generation of paramedics are going to look at some of the things we’re doing now with utter disbelief. To remain relevant, leaders must stay informed and be open to new opportunities and alternative viewpoints.

What is your typical day like?

There is no “typical” day in my world. I might be in Oklahoma working with our operations team at EMSA, in Denver at our corporate headquarters or working with the AMR-Air folks, or in any number of other places. No two days are the same.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

AMR has been a part of the American Ambulance Association since the beginning. Involvement—not just paying dues to have a name on the membership roll, but serving on committees, attending meetings and being part of the conversation—provides a platform for professional networking and shared learning. It gives us a chance to uncover about new solutions, hear different perspectives and see the big picture.

Spotlight: Reviving Responders Suicide Prevention

AAA caught up with Amy Young of CareFlite, group leader of an Ambulance Service Manager program team project on EMS suicide prevention. This project resulted in the creation of www.revivingresponders.com.

The Project Team

As part of the February 2015 Ambulance Service Manager (ASM) class, seven of us were randomly assigned to groups and asked to complete a project in ten weeks with team members spread across the United States. Our research we presented our data to the ASM class as part of the requirements for graduation.

All told, the seven members of our group have a combined total of 92 years of service in EMS. Many started as EMTs and worked up to Paramedic status, some began as volunteers, and the rest came to EMS as a second career. Nonetheless, we are all driven by ambitious personalities, our ability to make a difference, our desire to provide meaningful patient care, and the opportunity to work with other public service providers. The group consists of the following people:

Our group decided on a topic that was both personal and something we hoped could make a significant impact on the EMS culture. We chose to do a survey about the prevalence of critical stress amongst EMS and evaluate why suicide rates of EMS providers is on the rise.

The Shocking Survey Results

[quote_left]37% of providers across the nation who responded to our survey had contemplated suicide, and 6.6% of those respondents have actually attempted to take their own lives.[/quote_left]Our EMS specific-survey was open for 40 days, resulting in 4,022 responses from all 50 United States plus Guam, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. When we closed the survey, we were hit with a hard reality: that EMS suicide numbers were skyrocketing and the programs available to help were not sufficient. Our data shows that 1,383 of the 4,022 (37%) providers across the nation who responded to our survey had contemplated suicide, and 6.6% of those respondents have actually attempted to take their own lives.

The survey data shows that respondents working in an EMS culture that does not support the mental wellness and does not encourage the use of formal support institutions like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) are substantially more likely to contemplate and/or attempt suicide. Additionally, respondents that don’t come from an EMS culture of support and encouragement are much less likely to seek help when they need it, and are much less likely to engage in helpful support.

The also survey measured the effectiveness of formal support institutions like EAPs and CISM. The results startlingly showed that these support institutions were rated as being either “Very Helpful” or “Extremely Helpful” by the respondents that use them. After hearing so many stories about how inept an EAP counselor was or what a “waste of time” that CISM session turned out to be, we expected these numbers to be much, much lower.

In other words, we discovered a very significant prevalence of suicidal ideation in the EMS provider community. We discovered that EAPs and CISM have room for improvement, but do not fall as short of the mark as we originally perceived. It appears, however, that a very significant component to the prevalence and severity of stress in the EMS culture to include suicidal ideation and attempt is the EMS culture itself.

For us, these results brought a whole new meaning to the project. We named our team Reviving Responders, because we realized we need to revive ourselves if want to continue reviving others. A few group members had even experienced suicide by fellow associates in their organizations. [Team member] Monique Rose said, “I was exposed to this issue following a close call involving the resuscitation of the guys in my department. During this time our department struggled to process the tragedy, and I became aware of the flaws in the system while working through some of my own demons.”

CDC. (2012). www.cdc.gov. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How You Can Help

First and foremost, recognition and acknowledgement. As leaders, we cannot afford to be timid about this. If we see one of our own in distress, we must step out of our comfort zone and have the difficult conversations. It will be hard. This is a very dominant and proud profession, and we may not have our staff lining up to say they are struggling. Leaders need tolearn to recognize the warning signs and say something before it’s too late. Really, it should be the responsibility of every single person in EMS to notice subtle changes in individual behavior or work ethics.

Second, employers must be supportive, and offer an environment that supports employee well-being and mental health.

Last, employers should help change the culture of EMS across the board by providing the appropriate resources and ensuring they are available all the time and for as long as the service is needed.

How the Ambulance Industry Can Help

[quote_right]There is no question that field providers are not inherently equipped to deal with the stressors of the profession.[/quote_right] The ambulance industry needs to own the fact that we do not have adequate culture of support for providers to deal with suicide. There is no question that field providers are not inherently equipped to deal with the stressors of the profession. Coping skills for these stressors need to be taught to providers, and providers need to realize that receiving assistance with those skills is acceptable. The irony of the matter here is that many cultures in the industry are in direct opposition to the idea of getting help to deal with the stressors in EMS. As industry leaders, we are responsible for the tone of our respective divisions, and as such have the ability to steer culture. Our data suggests that taking steps to move culture towards one of support for providers’ mental well-being will be far more effective than attempting to reform the current state of CISM and EAP.

With projects like Reviving Responders and ASM, the word is spreading quickly. If we shift the culture, we can reduce the stigma that surrounds this topic. Think about it this way—if we can’t take care of our providers, how do you expect them to take care of patients? As an industry, we must be serious and promote access to various types of resources as no single type will work for everyone.

Most importantly, we must expand our education curriculum to include acknowledgment, recognition, and coping mechanisms far beyond the current single chapter “well-being of the provider” in all our literature.

Final Thoughts

Please speak up so we can help. Reviving Responders is our group’s effort to continue working towards a solution. Right now we are partnering with multiple entities around the U.S. to compile a list of suitable resources tailored to EMS and public safety as a whole. We hope that by sharing our stories others will be encouraged to speak up.

One great resource is Safe Call Now, 206-459-3020, which provides a confidential 24-hour crisis referral service. Safe Call Now allows public safety employees to speak with mental health professionals that are familiar with our line of work , as well as  public safety professionals who understand and can relate. We have more resources available on our website, www.revivingresponders.com..

Credit-Card

Learn & Save: Your Guide to Credit Card Processing Agreements

AAA understands that ambulance services sometimes operate on razor-thin margins. One relatively painless way to reduce operating expenses is to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal on credit card processing. While card processing may seem like a commodity service, it’s not—taking a few moments to become educated on the basic elements of your processor contract may save your service thousands annually.

AAA Guide Tailored to Ambulance Services

AAA worked with industry expert and CardPaymentOptions.com CEO Phillip Parker to develop a card processing guide for ambulance services. We invite you to read it now in the AAA Member Center. Go Now►

New for 2015! Payline Data Partnership

AAA has teamed up with Payline Data, LLC to bring members ultra-low rates and overnight funding on card transactions. Learn more.

[Not yet a member? Learn more about AAA membership.]