President Postma’s Capital Campaign

At the 2016 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show, new president Mark Postma announced a visionary capital campaign to build our association’s reserves to $1 million. We invite all members to give as they are able to build a rainy day fund capable of weathering any storm. Thank you in advance for your support and participation.

Funds contributed to the Capital Campaign can only be used by the association following a board vote.

Pledge Now

Capital Campaign Pledge

  • How should this pledge be acknowledged? Ex: "John Smith" OR "Jane Jones, ABCXYZ Ambulance" OR "ABCXYZ Ambulance"
    Does your generous contribution originate from you personally, or your organization?
  • Any comments or special instructions?

What is Reddit? (And Why EMS Leaders Should Care)

If you were asked to name the top 10 most popular websites in the United States today, I’m willing to bet that you could guess most of them: they are, in descending order of Alexa page view rankings, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Twitter, Reddit, Ebay, and LinkedIn.

“Wait,” you may be asking, “what is ‘Reddit,’ and how can it be in the top 10 most popular American websites if I’ve never even heard of it?”

As a self-appointed cultural ambassador for the millennial-heavy EMS workforce, I’d love to give you a basic introduction. Seasoned Redditors, feel free to skip this post. But those new to Reddit, or even social media in general, please hang in there—it is increasingly important for ambulance executives of all age groups and technology skill levels to “get” what is going on in influential online communities.

What is Reddit?

Reddit describes itself as “the front page of the internet.” What does that mean?

Reddit (usually styled lowercase as “reddit,” but I’m capping for clarity) is an online community platform allowing users to anonymously share, comment, and vote on links, images, personal stories and more in topic-specific “subreddits.” A user’s self-selected subreddits are merged into a personalized feed, which is often very different than the generic Reddit Front Page generated from the posts voted best across the whole site.

Wildly popular with millennials, Reddit is one of the most engaged and active digital communities in history. Reddit communities’ collective taste-making influence drives modern pop culture and politics in unprecedented ways, and the popularity and sway of the site is only growing.

I am sticking mostly to practicalities in this post, but highly recommend reading a little bit about the history of Reddit (2014 Mashable article, 2016 WSJ CEO interview), if you have a moment. The Wikipedia entry also gives a great overview.

Why should EMS leaders care?

Large swaths of your staff are routinely participating in Reddit communities, likely many times per week. For all that we hear about generational conflict in EMS organizations, wouldn’t it be great to gain some firsthand insight into the candid thoughts of EMTs and Paramedics across the country? Of course this only works if leaders approach Reddit (and the subs and threads of varying merit within) with an open mind—because of its inherently populist and anonymous nature, there is an ever-changing mix of valuable and abhorrent content that sometimes takes a little time to sort through.

Additionally, more and more people are electing to get their news, pop culture, and entertainment first through Reddit or other social media, instead of mainstream news sources. EMS leaders relying solely on information from TV newscasts or even the websites of traditional print journalism outlets are missing the backchannel dialogue and meta commentary that is shaping the way our industry is perceived.

Can Reddit participation help with EMS advocacy?

Many ambulance execs are unfamiliar with the fact that top politicians as diverse as President Obama and Gary Johnson choose to interact directly with Redditors, personally fielding user questions in the r/IamA sub. Reddit’s political commentary subs are also famed for the sometimes prescient, sometimes wacky user analysis of current affairs and election hoopla. Start with r/politics, the largest sub, to get a feel for the Reddit politosphere, then find your niche in some of the more targeted subs below. Not seeing your interest? Search the site for hundreds of other options ranging from radical to reactionary—or start your own.

How can I get started on Reddit?

We all have that kooky relative who doesn’t “get” Facebook, and so posts inappropriate rants or the equivalent of text voice mails on our walls. Don’t be “that guy” (or gal) on Reddit—although most people are nice, not everyone is patient, and some users may report your post to moderators for removal. Also, it is just good manners to follow the norms of any community in which you participate, be it face-to-face or online. Here are some easy steps to ensure that you become a valued contributor to the Reddit community.

  1. Create an account. Note: Do not use a variation of your real name or company name in your username. This is not Facebook, or even Twitter. It is crucial that unless you are a world leader (u/PresidentObama), celebrity (u/GovSchwarzenegger, u/williamshatner), or other very public figure (u/thisisbillgates, u/ColChrisHadfield) that you keep your personal information as private as possible for your own safety.
  2. Curate your subs.
    • Login to reddit, then visit your subscription page to remove yourself from any default subs that don’t interest you. For me, this meant immediately axing everything related to sports (sorry, I mean, “Go Sox!“).
    • Next, find and subscribe to many subs that interest you. There are thousands of subreddits for everything from r/cooking to r/gardening to r/motorcyles to r/parenting to r/books, and that is just scratching the surface. Typically large, general-interest subs will list more niche subs in their sidebars to make them easy to find.
  3. Lurk and get used to voting. Read your feed, or peruse a specific sub in-depth, upvoting posts and comments based on quality, not your level of agreement with the poster’s opinion. Typically, it is best to lurk (read without posting) for a month or two before you leap into the fray to get a sense for how each community interacts.
  4. Start posting and commenting. Now that you have some context for the types of conversations going on in your favorite subs, you’re ready to start submitting new posts and commenting on the posts of others, in addition to voting. It is really important to read Reddit’s content rules and Reddiquette guidelines, as well as the sidebar rules for your particular sub, before posting. Also, it is pretty much universally forbidden to share with the group any personally identifying information, even about yourself. Don’t get overwhelmed—most of the rules are common sense, and the time investment will pay off when you experience the thrill of sharing ideas and news with like-minded people from around the world.

Are there EMS-specific subs?

There are many EMS-focused subreddits, ranging from the (mostly) serious to the ridiculous. Here are just a few:

  • r/EMS – by far the largest, with 21k subscribers as of today. Diverse mix of jokes, personal stories, protocol questions, opinions on employers, and more.
  • r/RealEMS (2k subscribers) and r/TalesFromEMS aka r/TFEMS (3k subscribers) smaller subs focused on the perceived “real” side of EMS.
  • r/911Dispatchers – (2k subscribers) – Sub targeting dispatch professionals.
  • r/EMScringepics, r/LookImAFireFighter, etc – smaller subreddits where some popular EMS sartorial choices are mocked. Very definitely Not Nice, but may strike your funny bone if you have a certain sense of humor.
  • r/firefighting (11k subscribers) – sub serving firefighters, but often touches on EMS topics

Hint: Sort by “TOP” then choose a timeframe to catch up on the best (or at least most popular) posts in a particular sub.

My service is mentioned on Reddit in a negative manner. Should I respond?

If someone posts something negative on Reddit (or Facebook, or Twitter, etc, etc) about the organization to which you’ve dedicated so much time and love, it can be very tempting to fire off your side of the story in response. However, it is almost always inadvisable to go in “guns blazing” on an anonymous message board, particularly if you aren’t very familiar with the norms for the specific sub in which you would respond.

If you really feel you must set the record straight, I suggest asking three other sensible Redditors and your attorney to review before posting, to make sure that you don’t accidentally open your organization up to a lawsuit or media nightmare. You may also want to create a separate “throwaway” username before replying, as anything you’ve previously commented or posted under your usual username is publicly visible. No matter how innocuous your past activity may be, it can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion (see: Ken Bone Reddit controversy).

My service is mentioned on Reddit in a positive manner. Should I respond?

In this case, it is a hard maybe. The tricky thing is that you want your organization to avoid being perceived as “Big Brother,” particularly in response to anything (good or bad) that might have been posted by one of your own employees. Given Reddit’s higher level focus on anonymity than, say, Facebook, even a “thanks so much, so glad to be your favorite employer!” reply can seem creepy or intrusive, depending on context. It may be best to just privately enjoy the knowledge that thousands are reading your unsolicited praises (and likely looking for job openings at your service).

If there are no HIPAA or human resources concerns involved, you can enlist the help of seasoned Redditors in crafting a response that is right in tone for your service.

Can I market my ambulance service on Reddit?

Commercial self-promotion of any kind is very much frowned upon by the Reddit community. Viral marketing, or any post planting or vote manipulation that can be perceived as viral marketing, even more so. For a glimpse at the level of energy around this issue, please see r/HailCorporate, or consider the vitriol directed at users who create alternate “sockpuppet” accounts to upvote their own posts. Any kind of advertising outside of appropriate subs that specifically allow it (or actual Reddit ads) is risky at best, and may completely backfire.

Can I post job listings to Reddit?

Read the sidebar rules of the subreddit you’re considering posting in to see if commercial offers are permitted (for example, counter-intuitively, r/jobs forbids job postings). Your may wish to consider posting to one of the subs dedicated to job seekers, including r/jobopenings, r/youngjobs, and r/jobbit, or your closest local job sub.

Another thing to consider is buying an ad on the Reddit site, then running it in EMS-specific subs, particularly if you’re open to paying relocation for medics from other areas, or if you are willing to train individuals coming from other industries.

Note: recruitment is not yet a primary Reddit focus, so you may or may not have much luck at this point. However, as  more people join Reddit and rely on it new and different ways, this is likely to change.

Glossary

  • Default sub—Default subreddits are subs considered to have the right mix of popularity and quality to be automatically included in new users’ subreddit subscriptions. You can remove default subreddits that you are not interested in following on your subscription page after you create a login.
  • KarmaWhen a post or comment is submitted, other users can vote it up or down. “Karma,” divided into post karma and comment karma, is a loose indicator of the quality of a thread. You can track your own karma on your profile page, but it has no monetary or other value. In theory, voting is supposed to be based on the quality and relevance of the post or comment, but this doesn’t always play out perfectly. Some users have high overall karma scores because they post very relevant articles or incredibly insightful posts, others because they draw sketches or write poems related to posts, and still others because they are known for submitting posts or comments that the community finds funny.
  • NSFL—an initialism for “Not Safe for Life.” This is used in the title of a post to indicate offensive content that shows or makes reference to gore, death, serious injury, the abuse of animals or people, etc. I would very strongly suggest that even the most hardened EMS folks stay away from most of these posts and the comments sections about them—NSFL posts do not bring out the best in humanity.
  • NSFW—an initialism for “Not Safe for Work.” This is used in the title of a post to potentially sensitive content involving any kind of nudity or sex. Depending on context and the subreddit in which it is posted, this flag can be used for posts covering everything from a news photo of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction to actual pornography. Use your best judgment.
  • OP—like most other internet forums, on Reddit “OP” refers to “original poster,” and is a generic term used in comments to refer to the creator of the thread you’re currently reading.
  • MemeMost folks have probably heard of memes (pron. “meems”, not “meh-mehs,” “me-mes,” etc), or may even have shared some around the office or on Facebook. Reddit has a variety of inside jokes and memes specific to the community. If someone replies to a post with something that seems like a total non-sequitur, but others seem to find it funny, you may want to Google for inside jokes or check Know Your Meme for answers. Be forewarned: while some are funny or insightful, many memes and Reddit inside jokes are crass, prejudiced, or just stupid.
  • Reddiquette—Reddit’s own set of community manners. Read it here before posting!
  • Sub / Subreddit—Although originally not officially recognized, “sub” or “subreddit” are now almost universally used terms refers to self-moderated community centered around a particular topic. Here are just a few examples of the tens of thousands of subs you can choose to subscribe to, depending on your interests.

 

Have questions about Reddiquette or other social media platforms? Please don’t hesitate to reach out at ariordan@ambulance.org. Please feel free to share your own tips in the comments section below. We would love to hear about your ambulance service’s online successes and foibles.

Press Release: Ambulance Delivery To ERs Set To Skyrocket

CDO2tm-2 (1)Press Contact
Don Johnson
Vice President Marketing
CDO Squared, Inc.
309.530.8269

Ambulance Delivery To Emergency Rooms Set To Skyrocket Putting Ambulance Company Financials On Life Support

Medicaid and Medicare Drive Reimbursements Below Cost of Service

More Boomers will visit the ER
More Boomers will visit the ER

Schaumburg, IL—September 22, 2016—The convergence of the aging baby boomer population, the projected increase of emergency room services for baby boomers, added to lower reimbursement rates for Medicaid and the increasing influence of private insurance companies with Medicare, signals a rough road ahead for ambulance companies.

In a new survey by revenue realization leader, CDO Squared, and the American Ambulance Association, 126 ambulance company executives were asked, As a rule, the number of emergency department visits is much higher for Medicaid and Medicare recipients than for the uninsured and those with private insurance. How will this effect your profitability over the next five years?”

The survey revealed that well over 70 percent of ambulance companies saw decreased profitability over the next five years. “In an industry already hard hit by the effects of Obama Care, this is just one more pressure point put onto ambulance companies to maintain profitability.” according the William Stuckert, CEO of CDO Squared. The American Ambulance Association also weighed in on the survey results. “Ambulance services continue to struggle to do more in the way of providing high-quality medical care and improving patient outcomes with less financial resources, and from the survey it doesn’t appear it will get better.”  Stated Mike Hall, AAA President.  “On the Medicare payor front, H.R. 745 and S. 377 would make permanent the current temporary add-ons that have allowed ambulance services to maintain critical financial relief.”

Stuckert offered this advice for those struggling with increased pressure on their financials. “Ambulance companies must learn how to balance their payer mix. With the push by many states to move Medicaid patients into Managed Medicaid Programs, ambulance companies must choose a payer mix that provides a reasonable amount of profitability.” Stuckert stressed the importance of using cash flow analytics to take a deeper look at the profitability of an ambulance company’s location. “Once you understand the true value of your facility, you’ll be able to balance your runs for reasonable profitability” said Stuckert.

About CDO Squared

CDO Squared maximizes revenue realization for profit-minded EMS providers by connecting data, developing processes, and optimizing their ROI. CDO Squared has been helping healthcare businesses run more profitably for over two decades. Through proven financial technology and innovative workflow tracking, CDO Squared provides the medical industry advanced software and tools for analytics, visualization, and financial management along with the industry experience of seasoned revenue realization management professionals.

About AAA

The American Ambulance Association represents ambulance services across the United States that participate in serving more than 75% of the U.S. population with emergency and non-emergency care and medical transportation. The AAA was formed in response to the need for improvements in medical transportation and emergency medical services. AAA views pre-hospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

#  #  #

Visit CDO Squared at the AAA Annual Conference & Tradeshow in island booth #518!

2016 AAA Award Winners Announced

The AAA is proud to announce this year’s award winners. Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference and Tradeshow Awards Reception on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Please join us in congratulating the winners.

J. Walter Schaefer Award

Randy Strozyk, American Medical Response

The J. Walter Schaefer Award is given annually to an individual whose work in EMS has contributed positively to the advancement of the industry as a whole. Randy has achieved this through his tireless dedication and service to the industry and his role in elevating the association and its members to national prominence.

Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award

Julie Rose, Community Care Ambulance

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. Julie has held numerous leadership positions in the AAA including Membership Committee Chair, Region III Director and Alternate Director. Julie has worked tirelessly to get members of her Region to join the AAA, knowing that it is important to participate in the national organization to be part of the team finding solutions to today’s challenges in EMS.

President’s Award

Jon Howell, Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (HEMSI)
Asbel Montes, Acadian Ambulance Service
David Tetrault, St. Francois County Ambulance District

These awards are given 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 the three outstanding volunteers represent tireless work on behalf of the AAA.

Jon Howell has served as the chair of the AAA’s nominating committee for 4 years and in that time has worked to grown the involvement of our members to participate in the AAA nominating and election process.  Asbel Montes has worked tirelessly as Co-Chair of the Payment Reform Committee, and David Tetrault has served as a Region IV Board or Director as well as an active participant on the Membership and Education Committee.  AAA President Hall was quoted as saying, “this award is given by the sole discretion of the President of the AAA and I cannot think of three more deserving individuals than Jon, Asbel and David.  No matter what I have asked them to do for the AAA, they have taken on the task with determination, commitment and a level of servant leadership rarely seen anymore.”

Distinguished Service Award

Brian Choate, Solutions Group
Kathy Lester, MPH, JD, Lester Health Law & AAA Healthcare Consultant
Scott Moore, Esq., EMS Resource Advisors LLC & AAA Human Resources Consultant
Brian Werfel, Esq., Werfel & Werfel, PLLC & AAA Medicare Consultant

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) is proud to award Brian Choate, Kathy Lester, Scott Moore, and Brian Werfel with 2016 Distinguished Service Awards.

The Regional Workshop team worked countless hours to create the content for the four compliance, billing and reimbursement policy workshops that were presented throughout the country. The workshops were designed to help all types of services structure their billing departments more maximum efficiency and integrity.

It is for this dedication of the team members to the AAA that we are proud to recognize Brian Choate, Kathy Lester, Scott Moore, and Brian Werfel with the 2016 Distinguished Service Award.

Partner of the Year Award

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)

The Partner of the Year Award is given to an EMS partner whose collaboration with the AAA enhances educational programs, legislative priorities and/or member benefits. This pas year the NAEMT has partnered with the AAA on numerous projects including Medicare Relief, EMS Compass and most recently issues a joint statement regarding Payment Reform Policies for EMS.

Affiliate of the Year Award

AVESTA

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) is proud to award Avesta with the 2016 Affiliate of the Year Award. The award is given to the vendor whose supports the programs of the association. Avesta is dedicated to solely to the practice of Human Capital Management and the development of solutions that meet the unique human resource challenges of their EMS clients. This year’s Affiliate winner has shown unconditional support of the AAA Stars of Life Program. The Stars of Life event, held annually in Washington, D.C., publically recognized and celebrates the achievements and exceptional work of EMS professionals.

Press Release: ACA Costs Ambulance Companies More Than $2B

CDO2tm-2 (1)Press Contact
Don Johnson
Vice President Marketing
CDO Squared, Inc.
309.530.8269

Obama Care Costs Ambulance Companies More Than $2 Billion In Lost Revenue

Schaumburg, IL—August 30, 2016—To understand the serious affect that the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) has had on ambulance companies, CDO Squared™, the leader in revenue realization for profit-minded EMS providers, initiated a survey with the American Ambulance Association. The results were staggering when dollarized. One hundred twenty-six ambulance company executives were asked the following question: “Over the past few years, many ambulance companies have been negatively impacted by the increase in Medicare and Medicaid patients now enrolled in managed care plans run by for-profit insurance companies. What effect has this had on your operation in lost revenue since the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) was enacted?”

The result: Overall the impact totaled $2.1 billion in lost revenue because of reduced margins due to lower fees dictated by the plan. The survey also revealed that those with revenues of $1 to $50 million (82.5% of the participants) had lost revenues between $315,000 to $730,000 with larger operations driving the averages up. According to William Stuckert, President and CEO of CDO Squared, “The results are not surprising when you consider that over 75 percent of Medicare and Medicaid patients now opt for a managed care plan. What it boils down to is that these for-profit insurance companies are driving costs down, in many cases below the actual operating costs of many ambulance companies. It’s a numbers game, as you see the larger companies with more exposure being hit the hardest.” When asked what ambulance companies can do to offset these losses, Mr. Stuckert said “Ambulance companies need to manage their commercial payers and overall costs better, and that means collecting more of the revenue they are entitled to. Since ambulance companies excel at saving lives, many lack the tools to collect revenue they are owed. In fact, on average, ambulance companies collect only 70 percent of the revenue they are due as reimbursements are lost in a sea of EMS data.”

Maria Bianchi, Executive Vice President of American Ambulance Association, echoed much the same sentiment regarding insufficient reimbursements in the industry. “The CDO Squared survey results reinforce what the American Ambulance Association has long known—ambulance services across the country are operating in a climate where reimbursement is often well below the cost of service. AAA volunteers, consultants, partners, and staff are working tirelessly across many channels to bring to ambulance services the reimbursement revenue they need to continue serving the public each and every day.”

About CDO Squared

CDO Squared maximizes revenue realization for profit-minded EMS providers by connecting data, developing processes, and optimizing their ROI. CDO Squared has been helping healthcare businesses run more profitably for over two decades. Through proven financial technology and innovative workflow tracking, CDO Squared provides the medical industry advanced software and tools for analytics, visualization, and financial management along with the industry experience of seasoned revenue realization management professionals.

About AAA

The American Ambulance Association represents ambulance services across the United States that participate in serving more than 75% of the U.S. population with emergency and non-emergency care and medical transportation. The AAA was formed in response to the need for improvements in medical transportation and emergency medical services. AAA views pre-hospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

#  #  #

Visit CDO Squared at the AAA Annual Conference & Tradeshow in island booth #518!

Acadian Sets Up Employee Flood Relief Fund

August 18, 2016–In the wake of historic flooding across South Louisiana, Acadian has established an Employee Assistance Fund for those employees who suffered damage and losses.

During the storm response, Acadian activated more than 60 additional ambulances and crews, and assisted in the evacuation of hospitals, nursing facilities and prisons across their affected service area. Additional crews from Acadian’s Texas operations came in to assist with the load.

Although Acadian’s operations never ceased during rising floodwaters, many of Acadian’s medics and employees experienced flooded homes and vehicles. It is a testament to their dedication that many employees still reported for work, helping to rescue residents and treat the injured, while facing their own tragedies.

“Our company has more than 100 employees whose homes flooded and suffered substantial damage. We are working with those employees to help them meet their families’ immediate needs and are working to develop other methods of support to help them through what will be a long and tedious recovery and rebuilding process,” said Acadian Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag.

The Employee Assistance Fund is administered through the Community Foundation of Acadiana, a Lafayette, Louisiana-based 501(c)(3) philanthropic organization. Donations will be facilitated through the secure link below, and funds will be distributed to employees throughout Louisiana who have been affected.

Acadian Ambulance is one of the largest ambulance services in the nation, offering emergency and non-emergency transportation to areas in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.

Acadian Employee Assistance Fund donation form: www.AcadianGiving.com

In Memory of Allan S. Reichle (1934–2016)

The American Ambulance Association is saddened to report  that f Allan S. (“Al”) Reichle passed away on July 20. In addition to owning Springs Ambulance and other successful business ventures, Al served on AAA’s Government Affairs and AMBUPAC Committees. Our thoughts are with his family.

Service Information

Wiefels and Sons Mortuary

690 S. Vella Road
Palm Springs, CA  92264
Saturday 8/20/16 @ 10AM

“Save Lives, Not Seconds” member editorial

Don’t miss the fantastic member-written editorial, Save lives, not seconds, in Wednesday’s Boston Globe. Submitted by Cataldo Ambulance’s Tom Kimball, it gets to the heart of many issues with using response times as the only performance metric. (Emphasis below is ours.)

Many cities and towns in Massachusetts still judge the performance of their ambulance services using metrics like response times, which can miss the point. An additional two minutes waiting for an ambulance will rarely make a difference for a trauma patient facing emergency surgery that may take hours.

Patient outcome is a more valuable measure of whether a medical service is doing right by people. In many areas of health care these days, it is the gold standard, a key factor in determining how much insurance companies pay service providers. Changing the terms of ambulance companies’ contracts to make good patient outcomes the goal could greatly improve the quality of medical care across the state — and save lives.

Read the full editorial over at the Boston Globe. 

AAA to Participate in 2016 EMS Strong Campaign

AAA is proud to announce its participation in the EMS Strong campaign during this year’s EMS Week. EMS Strong is a campaign that seeks to celebrate, unify and inspire the men and women of our nation’s emergency medical services. Learn more►

EMS Week will take place May 15-21, 2016. We’d love to hear how your organization plans to celebrate. Please fill out this brief form to share your story!

 

American Ambulance Association and Journal of Emergency Medical Services Announce Collaboration

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact

Amanda Riordan
Membership Director
American Ambulance Association
703-610-0264
ariordan@ambulance.org
www.ambulance.org

A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P
Editor-In-Chief
Journal of Emergency Medical Services
858-638-2605
aheightman@pennwell.com
www.jems.com

Baltimore, MD, February 25, 2016 – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) and the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) today announced a collaboration to bring robust content and educational offerings to AAA members in the emergency medical services (EMS) and medical transportation industry.

AAA members will now receive complimentary access to EMS Insider gated content covering key EMS topics for top-level decision-makers. Additionally, JEMS will provide in-depth journalistic coverage, as the exclusive media partner, of AAA’s events and initiatives, including the Stars of Life EMS personnel recognition program.

“We are excited to bring innovative EMS Insider content and high-quality event coverage to our members,” said American Ambulance Association executive vice president Maria Bianchi. “We look forward to working with the JEMS team to shine light on the AAA Stars of Life who do so much for their communities.”

JEMS is pleased to collaborate with the American Ambulance Association,” said A.J. Heightman, editor-in-chief of JEMS and EMS Insider. “AAA members are EMS leaders, and we look forward to providing additional content that will support their efforts to provide expert care to patients while driving operational excellence.”

To kick off the partnership, AAA will exhibit at EMS Today Conference and Exposition|The JEMS Conference 2016 in Baltimore, February 25–27, accompanied by top leaders from the member community. JEMS will in turn serve as the official media partner of AAA’s Stars of Life in Washington, D.C. April 11–13, bringing fresh visibility to the EMS heroes honored there. The collaboration will carry through the 2016 AAA Annual Conference and Tradeshow and EMS Today Conference and Exposition|The JEMS Conference 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT, with additional content and networking opportunities for AAA members to be developed over time. “This is just the beginning,” said JEMS’s A.J. Heightman.

About the American Ambulance Association (AAA)

Founded in 1979, the American Ambulance Association represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and nonemergency care and medical transportation. AAA’s advocacy, member resources, educational offerings, and publications support excellence in pre-hospital care, an essential part of the public healthcare system. www.ambulance.org

About the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS)

As “The Conscience of EMS,” JEMS leads the industry in providing the EMS advanced provider, instructor and administrator with clinical breakthroughs, product reviews, continuing education and more. JEMS is backed by the strength of PennWell, a media and information company with 130 print and online magazines and newsletters, 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and an extensive offering of books, maps, websites, research products, digital media, and database services. www.jems.com.

About PennWell Corporation

Founded in 1910 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, PennWell Corporation is a privately held and highly diversified business-to-business media and information company that provides quality content and integrated marketing solutions for the following industries:  Oil and gas, electric power generation and delivery, hydropower, renewable energy, water and wastewater treatment, waste management, electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, optoelectronics, fiber-optics, aerospace and avionics, LEDs and lighting, fire and emergency services, public safety, and dental.

PennWell publishes over 130 print and online magazines and newsletters, conducts 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and has an extensive offering of books, maps, websites, research and database services.  PennWell Public Safety, a PennWell business located in La Jolla, CA, produces public safety products and services including JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services), JEMS.com, Law Officer Magazine, EMS Today Conference and Exposition, LawOfficer.com and other products.

In addition to PennWell’s headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Company has major offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; London, England; Houston, Texas; San Diego and Mountain View, California; Fairlawn, New Jersey; Moscow, Russia; and Hong Kong, China.  www.pennwell.com

– END –

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!

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

Microphone

MedStar PR Guru’s 5 Best Practices for Media Appearances

If you attended AAA’s 2015 Annual Conference & Tradeshow, there is a good chance you participated in our Becoming Irreplaceable Community and Media Relations Boot Camp. This session, presented by MedStar Mobile Healthcare’s Matt Zavadsky, covered proven strategies to become a partner in your community. Today, Matt put pen to paper over at EMS1 and shared 5 best practices for media appearances by EMS chiefs and field personnel.

Reporters will LOVE you if you incorporate their question into your answer. This allows them to take the sound bite they are looking for without having to dub in their question to make it understandable for the viewer or listener.

Read the full article at EMS1!

The Acadian Effect

By Desiree LaFont, Education & Events Director, American Ambulance Association

October 2015

In a previous life I worked for a hospitality-related association. Within that industry there was something known as the “Gaylord Effect”—when Gaylord Hotels would open a property in a city, all of the other businesses in the area, including other hotel brands, benefitted. High standards, a sterling reputation, and the ultimate in customer service meant Gaylord booked convention and leisure business on a scale few could rival. Everyone from the local cab drivers to the bartenders to the surrounding hotels profited from the huge influx of travelers. Where once feared as the luxury brand that would crush the competition, they were soon seen as a desirable ally. So fast forward a few years, and I have a new life working for the American Ambulance Association (AAA), but I often think about the Gaylord brand and their ability to change a city with their commitment to their customers. If you are wondering what any of this has to do with ambulance services, I’m about to get to that.

On a recent trip to Louisiana to document the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the role AAA members had in the recovery, the AAA’s Director of Membership, Amanda Riordan, and I had the opportunity to visit Acadian Ambulance. Armed with a local videographer, a short list of questions, and a crippling doubt in our ability to capture what is arguably the most important private EMS story in recent history, we arrived at Acadian’s Air Med Station in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Lafayette Headquarters

Our first interview was with Marc Creswell, Acadian’s Air Med Operations Manager. Marc’s story is incredible for a number of reasons, and I won’t attempt to retell all of it here, but I will tell you Marc is the kind of guy that could have inspired the phrase, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This is the guy you want in your foxhole. And to be honest, we could have completed our interview with Marc, packed up, and had more than enough material to tell a great story about Acadian and Katrina, but Acadian was just getting started.

We spent the remainder of the day interviewing Dee Dee Sewell, their Critical Support Intervention Specialist; Clay Henry, Acadian’s Vice President of Operations, Communications Center; Blane Comeaux, President of Acadian Total Security; and Chairman and CEO Richard Zuschlag. Everyone, including Mr. Zuschlag, gave us more time then we could have hoped for and held nothing back. They shared a great many operational details, but always through the lens of the story of the people behind all those unseen efforts and rescues.

Downtown New Orleans

Dee Dee at work in Lafayette
Dee Dee at work in Lafayette

The next day we visited downtown New Orleans to meet with Steven Kuiper, Regional Vice President for Acadian. Within minutes, I felt like I was hearing the story of Katrina for the first time. Steven shared facts, but, once again, it was wrapped in the story of the people around him—the suffering and the heroism he personally observed on the ground.

And, then came the big finish; Janie Fuller, Paramedic Field Supervisor and lifelong resident of St. Bernard Parish. Janie accompanied us to the Mayor’s Office to interview Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin and New Orleans Director of EMS Dr. Jeffrey Elder. She then gave us the insiders’ tour of her parish and showed us exactly where the levees were breached. Her entire hometown was under eighteen feet of water in 15 minutes, but by nightfall Janie had commandeered an airboat and was taking a cardiac patient to I-10 and Causeway for evacuation. Needless to say, Janie is a force of nature herself, and no matter what dark alley a call takes her down, this lady is coming out alive and so is her patient.

Telling the Story

[quote_right]What also emerged during our visit was Acadian’s ability to tell the human side of what it means to be in EMS. They tell the Katrina story and the story of their company with humility, grace, and a deep appreciation for their colleagues and the many other services that stepped in to lend a hand.[/quote_right]What emerged over the course of those two days of interviews was the amazing story of what Acadian, and private EMS, were able to accomplish in the midst of the hurricane’s devastation. Hospitals were shuttered, law enforcement was overrun, citizens were cut off, and conditions for everyone—including EMS—were unspeakable. Despite this, medics in the area stayed and other ambulance services rolled in.

Hundreds of ambulances with trained medics rolled in to help New Orleans and countless communities throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Whether or not they knew how bad the situation was, they still went in. No one can ever calculate what that response meant to the City of New Orleans and the other affected areas, but I think we all have a sense of how much worse it would have been without the timely response of private EMS. What also emerged during our visit was Acadian’s ability to tell the human side of what it means to be in EMS. They tell the Katrina story and the story of their company with humility, grace, and a deep appreciation for their colleagues and the many other services that stepped in to lend a hand.
So after an incredible 48 hours in Louisiana we had to head home, and I left with a heavy heart. I wanted to stay a little longer. No, I wanted to stay a lot longer. But why? As I sat on the plane home, it hit me. It was the Acadian Effect. Acadian is that big, shining example of what an innovative, self-determined private EMS company can mean to the population they serve. How you can put people first and come out a winner. How when you put people first everyone benefits. Telling the incredible Acadian success story benefits all of EMS because it typifies the EMS culture of going beyond what’s required and how maintaining human dignity is an essential part of patient care.

So let’s tell that story! Let’s tell the story of Acadian and Katrina. Let’s tell the story of Sandy, Joplin, the Boston Bombing, and the thousands of times a day private EMS responds to 9-1-1 with compassion and highly skilled medical knowledge because that’s your chosen profession. Let’s tell the story until the press, the public and the legislators are telling it for us.

Our heartfelt thanks to Acadian and every AAA member we have the privilege of serving.

Want More?

Watch AAA’s Katrina & Rita retrospective video that features many of the subjects of this blog post.

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.

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.