NBC | Ambulance companies at ‘a breaking point’ after receiving little Covid aid

From NBC News by Phil McCausland on December 1, 2020

Stefan Hofer’s ambulance company, West Traill EMS, in Mayville, North Dakota, has received only one or two calls that weren’t related to Covid-19 over the past two months. But he said the case count has ballooned by 20 to 30 percent because of the pandemic. At the same time, the company’s expenses have mounted, its revenue has cratered and its workforce is being decimated by the virus.

The company — which is private and supported by volunteers, a few employees and four trucks — covers more than 1,500 miles of North Dakota prairie and serves about 10,000 people on the far east side of the state.

Private EMS services, both in urban and rural centers across the country, collectively received $350 million in Covid-19 relief funds in April, but those companies said that money ran out within weeks. Months later, the need remains great as they face another coronavirus surge.

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NYT | Family Decontamination Station

From the New York Times

Their Pandemic Safety Plan Starts With a ‘Decontamination Station’
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the lives of many American families. Follow this weekly feature called “Family, Interrupted” to find out how.

Quentin and Stacy Blakley opened the “decontamination station” in their home garage as the coronavirus pandemic took root in Georgia in March and have never shut it down. Mr. Blakley, 45, an Atlanta firefighter based at the city’s international airport, uses it to protect his family from a job that exposes him to strangers daily. At the end of each 24-hour shift attending to aircraft emergencies and medical calls, he returns to his South Fulton, Ga., home and removes his uniform in the garage. No exceptions. He showers away from Stacy, 45, and their four sons — ages 14, 12 and a set of 9-year-old twins — then dumps his clothing in a bag to be washed. Finally, Mr. Blakley walks into his house.

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NYT | The Long Darkness Before Dawn

From the New York Times

The Long Darkness Before Dawn

With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.”

The nation now must endure a critical period of transition, one that threatens to last far too long, as we set aside justifiable optimism about next spring and confront the dark winter ahead. Some epidemiologists predict that the death toll by March could be close to twice the 250,000 figure that the nation surpassed only last week.

“The next three months are going to be just horrible,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health and one of two dozen experts interviewed by The New York Times about the near future.

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NPR | COVID-19 In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known

From NPR

Coronavirus Was In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known, Study Says

The coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, and before cases in China were publicly identified, according to a new government study published Monday.

The virus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but it wasn’t until Jan. 19 that the first confirmed COVID-19 case, from a traveler returning from China, was found in the U.S.

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Massachusetts | Stress On EMTs Increases During Pandemic

From CBS Boston

‘You’re Always Thinking About COVID,’ Stress On EMTs Increases During Pandemic

MEDFORD (CBS) – Frontline workers are now in their ninth month battling the COVID-19 pandemic. For Emergency Medical Technicians coronavirus has introduced a new kind of uncertainty to their jobs.

“You’re always thinking about COVID,” paramedic Victor Markaze told WBZ-TV. “You don’t know who’s sick and who’s not sick anymore, so now everyone is being treated as sick.”

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JEMS | Ambulance Market Growth

From JEMS

Ambulance Services Market to Grow by $7.77 Billion amid COVID-19 Spread

Market research firm Technavio says the ambulance services market is poised to grow by $7.77 billion during 2020-2024. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current market scenario, latest trends and drivers and the overall market environment.

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, however, the immediate impact of the outbreak is varied. While a few industries will register a drop in demand, numerous others will continue to remain unscathed and show promising growth opportunities. COVID-19 will have a low impact on the ambulance services market. The market growth in 2020 is likely to increase compared to the market growth in 2019.

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JEMS | FDNY EMS & Fire Fatalities Jan-Aug 2020

From JEMS on November 19, 2020

Occupational Fatalities Among EMS Clinicians and Firefighters in the New York City Fire Department; January to August 2020

On October 6, 2020, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) conducted a memorial service for department members who had recently died. It was a somber ceremony for the many fallen personnel. The ceremony was very inclusive and noted the passing of emergency responders, FDNY civilians and mechanics as well as a paramedic who had come to NYC on a FEMA deployment to assist during the pandemic.1 The information on the notice also provided an opportunity for a preliminary agency-level epidemiology analyses to develop a better understanding of the risks faced by FDNY personnel in 2020.

NYT | N95 Gray Market

From the New York Times on November 17

Inside the Chaotic, Cutthroat Gray Market for N95 Masks

As the country heads into a dangerous new phase of the pandemic, the government’s management of the P.P.E. crisis has left the private sector still straining to meet anticipated demand.

…But as the coronavirus rapidly rode the channels of international commerce between continents, it turned the advantages of globalization into vulnerabilities. Right when the United States needed masks most, there were severe shortages. Chinese production had ground to a halt as the country locked down to stop the virus’s spread — and just-in-time supply chains dependent on their manufacturing quickly disintegrated. Baystate Health was consuming about 15 times more respirators monthly than during pre-pandemic times, and had no easy way of finding new suppliers. It would take months for American companies to build out new production lines…

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Atlantic | No One Is Listening To Us

From the Atlantic

‘No One Is Listening to Us’

Bloomberg | NYC Mental Health Responders in Place of Police

From Bloomberg CityLab

NYC Pilot Tries Mental Health Responders in Place of Police

New York City plans to test out a program where dispatchers send out emergency medical services and mental health crisis workers, instead of police officers, to mental health-related calls, making it the latest city to attempt a pivot away from policing as a cure-all.

The city’s mental health teams will work in two high-need communities starting in February. They will include health professionals and crisis workers from the fire department’s emergency medical services division. They will respond in place of the traditional police and paramedic teams, except in cases that involve a weapon or imminent danger, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office this week.

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EMS1 | Inside EMS Podcast: Elephants In the Room

From EMS1 featuring AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence

What to do about the EMS elephants in the roomOur hosts discuss industry hot topics that will need to be addressed in the future, including the debate about responding with lights and sirensNov 6, 2020
This episode of Inside EMS is sponsored by ImageTrend, the creators of the free mobile app for first responders, CrewCare. It’s time to thrive.

In this episode, host Chris Cebollero speaks with guest host Rob Lawrence about his recent keynote address at the American Ambulance Association’s Annual Conference. Lawrence shares his thoughts on his EMS “elephants in the room.” Where should EMS stand on the issue of responding with lights and sirens? Do EMS practitioners need college degrees? Listen to the discussion and join the debate in the comments below.

In Memory of Larry Anderson

With heavy hearts, the American Ambulance Association shares the passing of former board member Larry Anderson. Please see the announcement below from Ron Slagell of Emergent Health Partners.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and former colleagues.

Larry retired in 2006 as the CEO of LifeCare Ambulance, a company he helped found in 1983 when the community’s EMS system was in crisis.  Larry had a lengthy career before his involvement in EMS as a hospital administrator, and was also involved in the creation of Huron Valley Ambulance.
LifeCare served on the Board and Committees of many non-profit organizations including MAAS and the American Ambulance Association, where he championed that ambulance accidents should be referred to as crashes, because most are preventable.
He was committed to his community, was known as an advocate for collaboration, and was passionate about patient care and safety. His contributions to EMS and public health will be long standing well beyond the time he was with us.

KFF 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey

From the Kaiser Family Foundation on October 8

This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. The 2020 survey included 1,765 interviews with non-federal public and private firms.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,588 toward the cost of their coverage. The average deductible among covered workers in a plan with a general annual deductible is $1,644 for single coverage. Fifty-five percent of small firms and 99% of large firms offer health benefits to at least some of their workers, with an overall offer rate of 56%.

Survey results are released in several formats, including a full report with downloadable tables on a variety of topics, a summary of findings, and an article published in the journal Health Affairs.

REMSA’s Tiered System Featured on Aging & Awesome

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.

October 16 is World Restart a Heart Day

From the Citizen CPR Foundation

The Citizen CPR Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Committee have combined talents and resources to produce a video featuring sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survivors under 40 years of age. The video highlights the fact that sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at any age, at any time – and that it should not be confused with a heart attack.

“There are too many people outside of our field who don’t understand the difference between a heart attack and a sudden cardiac arrest. Sadly, this also means they probably don’t know how to respond when it happens right in front of them – often to someone they know or love dearly,” says Stu Berger, MD, Foundation President and Division Head, Cardiology, at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“One of the first issues the 40 Under 40 committee decided to work on after being formed in 2020 is sudden cardiac arrest awareness. This video was created to educate the public on cardiac arrest and inspire them to act if/when the time comes. I was 26 years old when I suffered my cardiac arrest. I was saved by my wife and a fellow police officer who both did incredible CPR until Fire/EMS could arrive and successfully resuscitate me. I am alive today earning my second chance at life because my wife and the responding officer did not hesitate to act” says Officer Brandon Griffith, 40 under 40 committee member, SCA survivor, and project lead on the video production.

Griffith continues, “We feature actual out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest survivors under the age of 40 to not only tackle stigmas of SCA but to highlight that it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. With cardiac arrest, every second counts. Knowing how to recognize SCA and properly react can significantly increase survival outcomes.”

The video stresses and plays out the chain of survival steps necessary to save the life of someone suffering SCA: call 911, start compressions hard and fast in the center of the chest, use an AED if available, and don’t stop until first responders arrive and take over medical care. In other words, “Don’t wait, ACT!” as the video highlights.

View the video here:  https://citizencpr.org/actnow/

The launch coincides with World Restart a Heart day, a worldwide call to action on October 16th that is issued by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation.

The Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Program is supported in part by its Partner Council, a collaboration of committed, mission-aligned businesses and non-profits. It includes the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, with support from industry including AED Superstore, Laerdal Medical, MD Solutions International, Nasco Healthcare, Prestan Products, Save Station, WorldPoint and ZOLL.

About Citizen CPR Foundation 

Founded in 1987, the mission of Citizen CPR Foundation is to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest by stimulating effective community, professional and citizen action. Every two years, the foundation holds its international Cardiac Arrest Survival Summit, formerly the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update (ECCU), which features the latest information and trends in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They will host their first ever Virtual Summit December 8 & 9, 2020. Register here: https://www.wregistration.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=579171& Contact Jennifer Crocker at 816-916-6843 or jcrocker@wellingtonexperience.com for more information.

 

Rural Healthcare Grants from HRSA FORH

From the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has released the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach) (HRSA-21-027).  HRSA plans to award 60 grants to rural communities as part of this funding opportunity.

Review the Funding Opportunity

The Outreach Program administered by HRSA’s FORHP focuses on expanding the delivery of health care services to include new and enhanced services exclusively in rural communities. Applicants are required to deliver health care services through a consortium of at least three health care provider organizations, use an evidence-based or promising practice model to inform their approach, and demonstrate health outcomes and sustainability by the end of the four-year performance period.

In addition to funding Outreach programs through the regular Outreach track, in FY 21, FORHP will also afford applicants a unique opportunity to take part in a national effort that targets rural health disparities through a second track called the “Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative.” This initiative was created through the HHS Rural Task Force and driven by findings from a report published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that noted that the number of preventable death from the five leading cause of death in rural areas was higher than those in urban areas. Unfortunately, these findings echo earlier CDC research on the rural disparities in avoidable or excess death in 2017.

The Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative (HRHI) is an effort that seeks to address the underlying factors that are driving growing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of avoidable death (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury/substance use, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke). The goal of the HRHI track is to demonstrate the collective impact of projects that better manage conditions, address risk factors and focus on prevention that relate to the leading causes of death in rural communities. This track should be a good fit for applicants who want to identify and bridge the gap between the social determinants of health and other systemic issues that contribute to achieving health equity with regards to excess death in rural communities. Furthermore, this is a rural-specific and community-based approach to addressing these disparities and represents a new and more targeted strategy given the enduring health gaps between rural and urban populations.

Of the successful 60 award recipients, HRSA aims to award approximately 45 to regular Outreach track applicants and at least 15 to HRHI applicants for a ceiling amount of up to $200,000 (Regular Outreach) or $250,000 (HRHI) total cost (includes both direct and indirect, facilities and administrative costs) per year (and final numbers will be subject to how applicants score). 

The HRHI is part of an ongoing multi-year effort by FORHP to highlight how rural community health efforts can improve health at the local level. We are encouraging rural health stakeholders to join us in this broader effort while also taking on the challenge of addressing these long-standing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of death.    

NOTE: The eligibility criteria for this program has changed and now includes all domestic public and private, nonprofit and for-profit entities with demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations. Urban-based organizations applying as the lead applicant should ensure there is a high degree of rural control in the project. The applicant organization must represent a network that includes at least three or more health care provider organizations and, at least 66% (or two-thirds) of consortium members must be located in a HRSA-designated rural area.

Please review the guidance in its entirety for more information about eligibility criteria and specific program requirements. Visit www.grants.gov to review the Outreach NOFO and apply. Learn about the Outreach Program.

A webinar for applicants is scheduled on Tuesday October 13, from 3-4:30 p.m., EST. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend.

For more information about this funding opportunity, contact the Program Coordinator, Alexa Ofori, at RuralOutreachProgram@hrsa.gov.

JEMS | How Empress EMS (NY) Responded to COVID-19 in the Pandemic’s Epicenter

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.

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PA | $20,000 Signing Bonus, $25/Hour—Zero Applicants

From JEMS 

Cumberland Goodwill EMS (PA) hang up a help wanted sign, but no one answered.

Assistant Chief Nathan Harig tells ABC 27 they’re seeing a shortage of paramedics and are trying to hire a paramedic for an open position. One problem: not one person applied despite the agency offering a $20,000 signing bonus and $25 per hour pay.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to motivate people to come on in but it’s just not working,” Harig told the station.

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Free Beacon | HHS Leaves $50 Billion in Coronavirus Relief Unspent

From the Washington Free Beacon on September 17

Over $50 billion in coronavirus relief meant for health care providers remains unspent, even as some in the industry say they have gotten just a fraction of what they need to cover pandemic-related losses.

The Department of Health and Human Services has distributed roughly 70 percent of the $175 billion appropriated by Congress to relieve health care providers of economic strain imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. HHS maintains that it is distributing funds in a way that is “fast, fair, transparent and simple,” a spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon.

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