Published by Demers-Braun-Crestline
COVID-19 is the present-day challenge facing our first responders, but infectious diseases have always posed a threat to EMS personnel and their patients. Developed with insights and internal testing from engineering resources at Demers-Braun-Crestline, the white paper aims to identify verified solutions to reducing the spread of infectious diseases inside an ambulance. Highlighted are five key areas of focus; each is discussed in-depth to help identify why it is important and what proven options are available to implement inside an ambulance.
The white paper includes a detailed overview of each of these, helping to educate readers on ambulance options and features that assist in limiting the spread of viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. From plexiglass dividers to HEPA filters, chemical fogging systems to self-disinfecting surfaces, and everything in-between, this white paper outlines a variety of solutions that every emergency response organization should consider for protecting patients and personnel from infectious diseases.
Recently, Reno’s REMSA launched a tiered response model. The news segment from Aging and Awesome featured below offers a clear explanation about how using a variety of healthcare provider levels for an out-of-hospital medical response is an effective and safe way to help patients access the healthcare they need – which can range from an urgent ambulance transport to the emergency room or access to a telehealth provider.
By Meredith M. O’Neal, MA; Simone Joannou, MA; and James Langabeer, PhD, EMT
About 30 percent of first responders develop mental health disorders, including depression, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as compared with 20 percent in the general population.3 Another common occupational risk factor includes acute and chronic exposure to both primary and secondary trauma, the latter referring to the phenomenon of emotional and moral attachment to the experience of the individuals they rescue.
These overwhelming demands from first responders can lead to compassion fatigue, a depleted capacity for empathy that results in various behavioral issues including depression and anxiety. Burnout is a similar phenomenon of exhaustion resulting from occupational strain such as overwork and lack of support from leadership. These conditions have been found to directly contribute to the more than doubled suicide rates among medics than other professionals.
On October 8, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Fact Sheet setting forth the repayment terms for advances made under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Program (AAPP). These changes were mandated by the passage of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, which was enacted on October 1, 2020.
On March 28, 2020, CMS expanded the existing Accelerated and Advance Payments Program to provide relief to Medicare providers and suppliers that were experiencing cash flow disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated economic lockdowns. Under the AAPP, Medicare providers and suppliers were eligible to receive an advance of up to three months of their historic Medicare payments. These advances are structured as “loans,” and are required to be repaid through the offset of future Medicare payments.
CMS began accepting applications for Medicare advances in mid-March 2020, before ending the program in late April following the passage of the CARES Act. CMS ultimately approved more than 45,000 applications for advances totaling approximately $100 billion, before it suspended the program in late April 2020.
Under the pre-existing terms of the AAPP, repayment through offset was required to commence on the 121st day following the provider or supplier’s receipt of the advance funds. The program also called for a 100% offset until all advanced funds had been repaid.
Revised Payment Terms
Under the revised payment terms announced by CMS, providers and suppliers will not be subject to recoupment of their Medicare payments for a period of one year from the date they received their AAPP payment. Starting on the date that is one year from their receipt of the AAPP payment, repayment will be made out of the provider’s or supplier’s future Medicare payments. The schedule for such repayments will be as follows:
To the extent there remains an outstanding AAPP balance after that 17 month period (i.e., 29 months after the date the provider or supplier received its AAPP payment, the provider or supplier will receive a letter setting forth their remaining balance. The provider or supplier will have 30 days from the date of that letter to repay the AAPP balance in full. To the extent the AAPP balance is not repaid in full within that 30-day period, interest will begin to accrue on the unpaid balance at a rate of 4%, starting from the date of the letter.
Medicare providers and suppliers are also permitted to repay their accelerated or advance payments at any time by contacting their Medicare Administrative Contractor.
As part of the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017, which was passed 3 years ago, the DEA was required to establish regulations associated with the use of controlled substances by EMS agencies. The DEA has now published in the Federal Register proposed rules to implement the law. Comments on the proposed rules can be submitted electronically or by mail on or before December 4, 2020. Individuals, agencies and organizations may submit comments.
From JEMS on October 2, 2020 | By Hanan Cohen
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created extraordinary new challenges for the emergency medical services (EMS) industry. Frequently shifting state and federal guidance and emerging information about the novel virus has required EMS agencies to be even more nimble in delivering care.
This is true for Empress EMS, a PatientCare EMS Solutions company, which serves New Rochelle, New York – the first epicenter of America’s COVID-19 pandemic. Empress first began monitoring for COVID-19 on February 15, 2020, as it recognized the New York City area’s high risk for the virus.