Congrats to CAAS Accreditations & Recerts

Congratulations to the AAA members who received Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) accreditation or reaccreditation in November and December! New certifications Superior Air-Ground Ambulance (Elmhurst, IL) Recertifications Ambucare (Bremen, GA) American Medical Response Central Mississippi (Jackson, MS) American Medical Response, Los Angeles (Irwindale, CA) American Medical Response, San Diego (San Diego, CA) American Medical Response of West Michigan (Grand Rapids, MI) American Medical Response South Mississippi (Gulfport, MS) Lifeguard Ambulance Service (Milton, FL) Metro West Ambulance (Hillsboro, OR) Richmond Ambulance Authority (Richmond, VA)

AETNA/CVS Deal Along with Uber Concepts May Finally Change Ambulance Industry

Mark Postma, AAA President & Asbel Montes, AAA Payment Reform Chair The recent merger of Aetna/CVS may be the catalyst that finally brings the change that the ambulance industry has been advocating for over the past several years. This new healthcare strategy supports the ambulance industry’s ideas that alternative patient destinations are needed in EMS. To explain this better, one must understand the current state of ambulance reimbursement via the 911 system or equivalent. At this point in time most commercial payers of healthcare (Insurance) as well as Medicare will not pay for 911 ambulance transportation to any destination other than the “nearest appropriate” hospital based emergency room; arguably, the most expensive and least efficient form of healthcare. The continuation of this policy discounts the advanced capabilities of both EMS and new clinical settings and the savings that can be achieved through innovative change. In addition, at the same time that the cost of healthcare in general is increasing, reimbursement from all payers is decreasing, creating a significant challenge for providers. Medicare consistently pays providers below cost for providing life-saving services and state Medicaid agencies are consistently underfunding the critical services to the un- and under-insured populations that have allowed (more…)

Balance Billing: AAA EVP Maria Bianchi on WOSU Ohio

The American Ambulance Association continues to defend ambulance providers in the face of misunderstandings regarding balance billing. Today, AAA’s Executive Vice President Maria Bianchi provided context on WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher. Maria called in during an interview with Melissa Bailey, author of the November 20 Kaiser Health News article to which association President Mark Postma recently responded. Maria’s comments helped listeners understand the complex reality of EMS funding. Listen on-demand now►

Response to Kaiser Health News Ambulance Billing Article

To the Editor: I write today in response to Melissa Bailey’s November 20 piece about ambulance balance (“surprise”) billing. While we disagree with the characterization of ambulance services in the article, we welcome the ongoing public dialogue about how unsustainable reimbursement for emergency medical services results in cost-shifting to patients. Missing from the article is a true understanding of the sky-high cost of readiness for emergency medical services. Ambulance service providers offer their communities 24/7/365 on-demand mobile healthcare. Skilled staff and ambulances—high-tech emergency rooms on wheels—are ready to respond to a 9-1-1 call at a moment’s notice to help patients with issues ranging from stroke to heart attack to trauma to childbirth. EMS is also on the very front lines of the surge in opioid overdoses, providing naloxone (Narcan) to hundreds of patients each day. Keeping supplies, medications, equipment, and personnel at-the-ready requires a significant ongoing investment, regardless of whether or not an ambulance is out responding to a call. Cost comparisons between EMS and the rideshare app Uber may make for catchy sound bites, but they are misleading and misguided. The piece states that our nation’s 14,000 ambulance service providers received 1,200 Better Business Bureau complaints spread over three (more…)

2017 AAA Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce this year’s award winners. Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show Membership Meeting on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners! J. Walter Schaeffer Award Mark Meijer, Life EMS Ambulance The J. Walter Schaeffer Award is given annually to an individual whose work in EMS has contributed positively to the advancement of the industry as a whole. Mark Meijer has achieved this through his many years of commitment and service to the ambulance industry. Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award Fred Della Valle, AMR Connecticut The Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of the first Executive Director of the American Ambulance Association. It recognizes a volunteer leader who has made a significant long-term impact on the association. Fred Della Valle has achieved this through his decades of service, commitment, and dedication to the AAA and its members. President’s Award Dr. John Russell, Cape County Private Ambulance Paul Main, American Ambulance of Visalia These awards are bestowed by the President to volunteer leaders who have shown commitment to the advancement of the AAA above and beyond the call of duty. This year, (more…)

Hurricane Harvey: JEMS-AAA Adopt-An-EMS-Family Program

EMS professionals selflessly serve their communities each day. But even the most capable healthcare providers sometimes need a little help themselves, especially in the face of a natural disaster. AAA has partnered with JEMS to assist EMS families severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana via the “Adopt-an-EMS-Family” program. Established in August 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the program is empowers EMS agencies, their staff, and other participants to provide direct, personal support to EMTs, Paramedics, Dispatchers, and other EMS professionals who were significantly affected by a large-scale disaster. We invite your ambulance service to join us in adopting the families of EMS providers recovering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Sign up below to be assigned a family or group of families to assist in their time of need. Thank you in advance for your support and participation.

Ambulance Ride-Along Toolkit

2017 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 28 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 2017 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 Aidan Camas at acamas@ambulance.org and Aidan can help you (more…)