NHTSA Names New Office of EMS Director

From NHTSA on January 13, 2022

Long-time OEMS Staff member assumes leadership role

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that Gamunu Wijetunge, NRP, will assume the role of Director of the Office of EMS effective January, 29, 2022.

Gamunu “Gam” Wijetunge, who has worked within NHTSA’s Office of EMS for more than 20 years, is also a volunteer paramedic, fire captain and the president
of a volunteer rescue squad in Maryland. He will assume the director role — which is also responsible for the National 911 Program housed within the Office of EMS — following the retirement of Jon Krohmer, M.D., FACEP, FAEMS.

“For many years, Gam has been a leader within NHTSA’s Office of EMS, an
advocate for clinicians, and a trusted colleague for both Federal partners and Fire/EMS organizations,” said Dr. Krohmer. “His commitment to collaboration within the EMS community may be best illustrated through his stewardship of EMS Agenda 2050, which sets a clear path for the continued improvement of people-centered EMS systems for the next 30 years.”

Throughout his tenure at NHTSA, Gam has played an integral collaborative role in the development of EMS systems nationwide. These include leading efforts to:

  • Develop evidence-based guidelines and tackle EMS system improvement issues
  • Address recruiting, retention, clinician safety and other EMS workforce topics
  • Improve national EMS preparedness through coordination with other Federal agencies
  • Facilitate consensus and collaboration within leadership and working groups of the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS).

“I am thrilled to continue the office’s collaborative work side-by-side with our Federal partners, EMS stakeholders nationwide, and my colleagues at NHTSA,” said Gam. “I look forward to continuing Jon’s good work to support state, regional and local EMS and 911 agencies as we strive to advance our people-centered EMS and 911 systems.”

Wijetunge has a Bachelors’ Degree in Emergency Health Services from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master of Public Management from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has several professional affiliations and has been recognized repeatedly for outstanding performance and federal service, including most recently the HHS/ASPR COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal in 2021.

EMT Reid Needs a Kidney! Living Donor Sought

URGENT:  Fellow first responder Reid Cappel is in kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant.  A living donor is his best chance at survival. 


For years, Reid Cappel has selflessly served his New Jersey community as an emergency medical technician. Now, it is his turn to ask for a lifeline from his fellow public health and public safety professionals. Help Reid find a living kidney donor, so that he can get back to doing what he does best: caring for others.

Anyone who is healthy and eligible to be a kidney donor can give Reid the gift of life.  A donor does not have to be a direct match, can live anywhere in the US, and will have access to donor protections and resources.  EMS Gives Life, a nonprofit organization for first responders, by first responders, will provide guidance to our EMS, fire, and police brethren who are considering living donation.

All inquiries will be held in complete confidence.  There is no commitment required to learn more.  Meet Reid and learn more about living kidney donation at  www.emsgiveslife.org/Reid.

 

Colorado | What it’s like in the day of a Denver Health paramedic

From KDVR on January 3, 2022

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Health paramedics are often first on the scene of an emergency. And when seconds matter, they make life or death decisions.

FOX31 joined them on a ride-along to see how they do their jobs and how they are holding up during the pandemic.

If you need help, Denver Health paramedics are just minutes away.

Continue Reading on KDVR

EMS1 | 2021 EMS Trend Report

From EMS1

The 2021 EMS Trend Report, produced in collaboration with Fitch & Associates and the National EMS Management Association, and sponsored by Pulsara, continues our effort to identify how those in EMS perceive growth, change and the challenges impacting the sustainability and future of the industry.

Last year, we said that 2020 would be a “defining year” for EMS. Even at the time, soon after the emergence of the new coronavirus in the U.S., we didn’t realize how much that might be true. It certainly was a defining year for EMS, for healthcare and for the entire global community.

A year later, the long-term impacts of the pandemic on our profession remain uncertain. What we do know is how the pandemic highlighted the adaptability of EMS. The sixth annual EMS Trend Report dives into the impact COVID-19 had, and didn’t have, the changes we’re embracing and the change providers want to see, as we explore the opinions, concerns and hopes of your colleagues across EMS at this critical moment in history.

Download your copy to read:

  • The state of the profession: The more things change, the more they stay the same
  • Roundtable: Incremental change through transformative events
  • Is poor leadership more dangerous than a pandemic?
  • Why EMS systems that scale represent the future of EMS
  • 8 Places to invest in provider safety

Download on EMS1

In Memory of Larry Stone

From The Boston Globe

STONE, Lawrence W. “Larry” Founder and President of PRO EMS Ambulance of Cambridge Passed away at Massachusetts General Hospital on October 9th. He was 75. Raised in Somerville, he was the son of the late John and Frances (Nichols) Stone. Larry served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Upon his return from the war, Larry embarked on a long career in public safety and medical service, founding Professional Ambulance & Oxygen Service in 1969. Today, PRO EMS continues to proudly service the City of Cambridge and surrounding areas. During his years as President of the company he oversaw its steady expansion and navigated the increasing scope of services that emergency medicine provided. He was a leader in the development of inter-agency response to mass casualty events and could always be relied upon in the public safety community for rendering sound advice, born from the breath and length of his experience. Known as “225” to his colleagues and friends, Larry continued to be the driving force and conscience of his company. He has been featured in articles of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services and the Boston Globe. Larry was active in professional associations and civic affairs. He was a long time member and Past Commander of Cambridge VFW Post 299. The beloved husband of Catherine A. “Cathy” (Leonard) Stone, Larry was a devoted father to Teresa Cruz and her husband Edwin of Burlington, Danielle Santiago and her husband Javier of Billerica, and Kelly Stone-Pantojas and her husband Alex “Big Al” of Burlington. He was a loving Papa to Anthony, Ariana, Victoria, Xavier and Sofia. He was the brother of Francis, Jean, John, Sandra and Norman. He also leaves many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to visit at the Dello Russo Funeral Home on Thursday, October 14th from 4 through 8 PM and again on Friday at 10 AM followed by a funeral Mass celebrated in St. John the Evangelist Church, 2270 Mass. Ave., Cambridge at 11 AM. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent in Larry’s name to the Vietnam Veterans of America, 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. To leave a message of condolence, visit www.dellorusso.net

View the online memorial for Lawrence W. “Larry” STONE

American Ambulance Association 2021 Award Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact
Amanda Riordan
media@ambulance.org

 AMERICAN AMBULANCE ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES 2021 AWARD WINNERS

Washington, DC, October 5, 2021—Shawn Baird, President of the American Ambulance Association (AAA), announced the 2021 Award Winners at the AAA board meeting on September 21st.  The awardees are as follows:

Affiliate of the Year

  • The Mercury Group – for their strategic outreach shining the light and attention on the role that EMS plays in the pandemic.
  • Sellers Dorsey – for their efforts in support of state Medicaid supplemental payments for EMS providers.

Partnership of the Year

  • International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) for their collaboration throughout the pandemic on both legislative and regulatory issues.

Distinguished Service Award

  • Jon Krohmer, Director, NHTSA’s Office of EMS – for his tireless efforts during the Public Health Emergency (PHE).
  • Maria Bianchi, AAA Chief Executive Officer – for her unwavering dedication and leadership through a global pandemic.

President’s Award

  • Asbel Montes, Acadian Ambulance Service, Lafayette, Louisiana for his leadership on ground ambulance policies, future payment reform initiatives, and balance billing.

Robert L Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Josef (Joe) Penner, Medic (Mecklenburg EMS Agency) for his decades of service, leadership, and vision in EMS.

Walter J. Schaefer Award

  • Rachel Harracksingh, Life Ambulance, El Paso, Texas for her leadership, guidance, and tenacity in growing AAA’s political outreach and presence on Capitol Hill.

The Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference and Trade Show President’s Reception on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine Texas.


About the American Ambulance Association

The American Ambulance Association safeguards the future of mobile healthcare through advocacy, thought leadership, and education. AAA advances sustainable EMS policy, empowering our members to serve their communities with high-quality on-demand healthcare.

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2021 Ambulance Ride-Along Toolkit

AAA ambulance emt member legislation

2021 Ride-Along Toolkit Now Available!

Educating your members of Congress about ambulance industry issues makes them more likely to support our policy efforts. An easy and effective way to educate them is to invite them to participate in a local Ambulance Ride-Along!

Congress has adjourned for summer recess and members have returned home to their districts and states. This is the perfect opportunity for you to educate your members of Congress about our issues, in particular our Medicare Ambulance Bill, Balance Billing, and access to the Provider Relief Fund, which are all essential to your service.

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. While COVID-19 has made a traditional ride-along difficult, you can still host them for a virtual site visit to show your operation and how you are handling the public health emergency. The AAA has made the process of arranging a ride-long or scheduling a meeting easy for you with our 2021 Congressional Ride-Along Toolkit.

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

Into the Unknown Documentary to Tell Paramedics’ Stories

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 11, 2021

Media Contact:

Tonya Mantooth
Executive Producer
tonya@intotheunknown.com
858-945-8912

Documentary to Tell Paramedics’ Stories

“Into the Unknown: The Paramedics’ Journey,” Produced by “Emergency!” Stars Randy Mantooth and Kevin Tighe, in Pre-Production

LOS ANGELES—The 1970s TV show Emergency! introduced the concept of paramedics to millions of viewers and inspired thousands to become EMS practitioners themselves. Some historians say it launched modern EMS in the U.S.

Now the two stars of the show are coproducing a documentary to tell the story of today’s paramedic—following a pandemic that strained our healthcare system and revealed the critical role paramedics play in caring for their communities.

“My life was saved by two firefighter paramedics,” said Randy Mantooth, who played Johnny Gage in the Emergency! series. “My sister’s life was saved by a paramedic and a flight nurse. They literally gave us our lives back, and yet I don’t even know their names.”

“Overworked, sometimes overlooked, and nearly always taken for granted, paramedics are real-world heroes,” Mantooth said. “My hope is that Into the Unknown will provide the public with an understanding of and appreciation for the critical role these individuals play.”

“Paramedics have to deal with unending fatigue and stress,” said Kevin Tighe, who played Roy Desoto in the series. “This is a topic we have to explore not only on the job but also at home. We have to face it and also show how it can be successfully overcome.”

FirstNet, Built with AT&T* is the principal sponsor of the project, which will realistically depict the lives and jobs of half a dozen paramedic crews around the nation. Additional sponsors supporting the documentary’s production include Masimo and ZOLL Medical Corporation.

EMS World is a media partner of the project.

“This project brings awareness of the vital role EMS plays and highlights the very real impacts to the personal health and wellness of these individuals,” said Lynnée Hopson, assistant vice president, FirstNet Marketing at AT&T. AT&T holds the federal contract to build and maintain FirstNet.

“Stories like these are why we’re committed to supporting FirstNet. And it’s one of the reasons we launched the FirstNet Health and Wellness Program. Paramedics—and all the first responders they represent—need our support as they face daunting challenges in delivering care in every situation imaginable.”

The project has an advisory board made up of 18 key industry leaders and is endorsed by 20 of the major national EMS organizations, representing almost 2 million members. Baxter Larmon, PhD, a nationally recognized EMS educator/researcher and professor of emergency medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, serves on the executive committee for Into the Unknown.

“Throughout my four-decade career and in my travel and interactions with every type of stakeholder in the EMS profession, I’ve found they all have one thing in common,” Larmon said. “They believe the U.S. public doesn’t understand what EMS is about and what paramedics do day to day, one patient at a time, to make sure they are cared for, safe, and end up where they belong.

“Whether it’s a senior who has fallen, a teenager who has overdosed, a middle-age woman in cardiac arrest, or the victim of a severe car crash,” he continued, “these are people often facing the worst days of their lives—we’re there to help. This documentary will go a long way in ensuring that the public understands who we are, what we do, and why we matter.”

In additional to Larmon, the executive team includes executive producer Tonya Mantooth, sister to Randy Mantooth, a 10-time Regional Emmy award winner, and Steve Martin, assistant fire chief (retired), Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Find out more about the documentary, the advisory committee, and the organizations supporting it at intotheunknowndoc.com. You can also sign up to get regular updates on the progress of the documentary and behind-the-scenes stories and footage.

ITU Doc LLC is dedicated to telling the stories of today’s paramedics through documentary film. It has an advisory board made up of 18 key industry leaders and has been endorsed by 20 major national EMS organizations, representing almost 2 million members nationwide. Learn more about the project at intotheunknowndoc.com.

Rest in Peace, Jacob Dindinger

From Global Medical Response

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Jacob’s family made the decision to remove him from life support. This decision did not come easy; it came after many tests and conversations and much consideration to his condition. Jacob fought hard, but unfortunately the injuries he sustained were so damaging, he was not able to survive them.

Jacob made such a big impact in our community with each interaction he had. He was dedicated and driven to succeed and continually looking for his next accomplishment. To Jacob, failure was a setback, but it didn’t stop him from working harder to succeed. His family meant everything to him, and the smiles we have seen in recent photos show the love he had for his family and friends. He made an even bigger impact on our family here at AMR and we feel like we are all better people after being touched by Jacob and his family.

These past two weeks have been difficult for the entire GMR family. We appreciate all the support you have given to our local teams as well as the family. CISM teams have been working in Arizona to help our teams there, and GMR Life teams have been offering support across all our operations. I encourage you to reach out to them and to our HR teams, and to use EAP resources.

When final arrangements have been made, we will notify our local teams.

If you would like to help the family, a Go Fund Me account has been established.

Thank you,

Glenn Kasprzyk, Southwest Region President
Jackie Evans, Regional Director
Global Medical Response

NHTSA | Office of EMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD, to Retire

NHTSA Office of EMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD, to Retire Later this Year

After 15 years of federal service, including the last five leading the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS, Jon Krohmer, MD, will be retiring in November.

During his tenure as director, Dr. Krohmer and the NHTSA Office of EMS team oversaw a number of milestones for the profession, including the creation of EMS Agenda 2050; major revisions to the National EMS Scope of Practice Model and the National EMS Education Standards; and improvements in the collection and use of EMS data through the expansion of the National EMS Information System. Soon after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Krohmer was tapped to lead the prehospital/911 team as part of the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force.

“Dr. Krohmer’s tenure at NHTSA—especially over the last year and a half as EMS clinicians have faced one of the greatest public health challenges in generations—has been marked by real advances for the profession, thanks in no small part to his leadership,” said Nanda Srinivasan, NHTSA’s associate administrator for research and program development. “He was a true advocate at the federal level for state, tribal and local EMS systems, EMS clinicians, and patients.”

Prior to joining NHTSA, Dr. Krohmer had decades of experience as a local EMS medical director, initially in his home state of Michigan. His EMS career began as an EMT with a volunteer rescue squad. Like many EMS professionals, he was inspired by the television show Emergency! and by the emergence of the relatively new field of emergency medicine. He entered medical school at the University of Michigan knowing he wanted to make EMS his career. After becoming involved in EMS at the state and national level, he also served as president of the National Association of EMS Physicians from 1998 to 2000. In 2006, he came to Washington to serve as the first deputy chief medical officer for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Health Affairs and served in several other DHS roles before joining NHTSA in 2016.

“Working alongside EMS clinicians and the people who support them at local, state and national levels has been a privilege and a heck of a lot of fun,” said Dr. Krohmer. “The decision to leave NHTSA was difficult, but it’s made easier knowing that the team in the Office of EMS, our colleagues throughout the federal government, and leaders of EMS at state and local levels are committed to improving the lives of people in their communities and will continue to advance EMS systems everywhere.”

NHTSA will launch a national search for a new director for the Office of EMS.

“The example set by Dr. Krohmer will serve as a great model for the next director,” said Associate Administrator Srinivasan, “and the team of dedicated public servants at the Office of EMS has the experience and expertise to ensure a smooth transition.”

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

From NEMSIS on May 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

Salt Lake City, Utah, May 11, 2021 – The National Emergency Medical Services Information System Technical
Assistance Center (NEMSIS TAC) today announced the availability of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset,
the largest publicly available dataset of emergency medical service activations in the United States. With this
release, NEMSIS aims to improve understanding of, confidence in, and support for EMS data collection and
analysis that will lead to data being utilized more effectively to improve patient care.

“The 2020 dataset is a powerful asset for researchers looking into all manner of conditions that affect different
aspects of EMS service.,” said Dr. N. Clay Mann, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of
Utah School of Medicine and Principal Investigator for the NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center. “Hopefully, the
information gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic will help give EMS agencies valuable insight on their work
improving EMS services under all sorts of conditions.”

The 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset is a subset of the National EMS Database that is the repository for
EMS data collected from U.S. States and Territories. NEMSIS maintains the national standard for how patient
care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is collected. The dataset includes
43,488,767 EMS activations submitted by 12,319 EMS agencies servicing 50 states and territories.

Those interested in requesting a copy of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset can contact the NEMSIS TAC
and fill out a request form at their website https://nemsis.org/using-ems-data/request-research-data. A
password-protected USB drive containing the dataset, the 2020 NEMSIS Data User Manual, NEMSIS Data
Dictionary v3.4.0, Extended Data Definitions v3.4.0, and sample SAS code file will be sent via postal service.

ABOUT NEMSIS

The National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) is the national health information
exchange and database used to collect and store EMS data from states and territories. NEMSIS is a universal
standard for how patient care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is
collected. It is a collaborative system to improve patient care through the standardization, aggregation, and
utilization of point-of-care EMS data at a local, state, and national level.
NEMSIS is a program of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and is hosted at the University of Utah.

Video | TrueNorth Companies | Affiliate Member

Sponsored post by AAA affiliate member TrueNorth Companies

Download Flyer

At TrueNorth, we believe commercial ambulance providers face unique and complex risks. Due to the ever-changing nature of the industry, failure to adapt can result in an insurance program that is both inadequate and inaccurate, leaving your business at risk for uncovered claims, fines, penalties, and litigation.

As a result of our focus and experience working within the EMS industry, we are uniquely qualified to handle the difficult exposures an ambulance service may face.

Watch the video below for a look into TrueNorth’s Ambulance Risk Management Program and the partnership created with our clients.

Have questions? Contact Clay Swanson at cswanson@truenorthcompanies.com!

American Ambulance Association affiliate members can share resources with our membership through the AAA Affinity Program.

HealthAffairs | Boston OHCA Outcomes During the Pandemic

From HealthAffairs

Worse Cardiac Arrest Outcomes During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Boston Can Be Attributed To Patient Reluctance To Seek Care

Abstract

Delays in seeking emergency care stemming from patient reluctance may explain the rise in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and associated poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study we used emergency medical services (EMS) call data from the Boston, Massachusetts, area to describe the association between patients’ reluctance to call EMS for cardiac-related care and both excess out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and related outcomes during the pandemic. During the initial COVID-19 wave, cardiac-related EMS calls decreased (−27.2 percent), calls with hospital transportation refusal increased (+32.5 percent), and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence increased (+35.5 percent) compared with historical baselines. After the initial wave, although cardiac-related calls remained lower (−17.2 percent), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence remained elevated (+24.8 percent) despite fewer COVID-19 infections and relaxed public health advisories. Throughout Boston’s fourteen neighborhoods, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence was significantly associated with decreased cardiac-related calls, but not with COVID-19 infection rates. These findings suggest that patients were reluctant to obtain emergency care. Efforts are needed to ensure that patients seek timely care both during and after the pandemic to reduce potentially avoidable excess cardiovascular disease deaths.

More At HealthAffairs

Study | Rural hospital closures strain community ambulance services

Research Brief From the University of Michigan on May 25

Rural hospital closures force patients in affected communities to travel longer distances for specialized or emergency care. A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health shows that such closures place similar strain on emergency medical service (EMS) providers trying to get patients to the hospital or another facility as quickly as possible.

The study was led by Associate Professor Sayeh Nikpay and recently published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

The study found:

  • The average length of ambulance trips for municipal EMS agencies went up 22% in locations of recent rural hospital closures.

  • The average length of ambulance trips for private EMS agencies increased 10% in those areas.

  • Interfacility transfers and non-emergency EMS trips fell by 31% for all agencies.

  • The total number of trips did not change, likely because many agencies are already operating at full capacity and must prioritize emergency calls over transfers and non-emergency transportation after hospitals close.

Read Full Research Brief

CNN | Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers

From CNN on May 22, 2021

Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers. In some places, the fallout could be nobody responding to a 911 call

America’s rural ambulance services, often sustained by volunteers, are fighting for their survival — a crisis hastened by the impact of Covid-19.

More than one-third of all rural EMS are in danger of closing, according to Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “The pandemic has further stretched the resources of our nation’s rural EMS.”

Read Full Article

ABC | Global microchip shortage impacting ambulance supply

May 21, 2021 | By Mina Kaji and Amanda Maile | Read Full Story

“Without those chassis, the production of ambulances essentially slows down dramatically,” American Ambulance Association Spokesman Mark Van Arnam said. “So that becomes a public safety issue.”

Chassis inventories were already at “historically low levels” due to coronavirus shutting down manufacturing plants, Van Arnam explained.

In order to make an ambulance, manufacturers need to first construct a chassis, or frame, to build it on.

“An ambulance chassis contains dozens and dozens of microchips — more microchips than the average F-150,” Van Arnam said.

Read Full Story