On May 29’s Inside EMS podcast, AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence spoke with hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson about national EMS issues including reimbursement, ET3, and more.
On May 29’s Inside EMS podcast, AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence spoke with hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson about national EMS issues including reimbursement, ET3, and more.
Thank you to the dozens of AAA member ambulance services who answered the call to serve in New York City’s time of need. This Facebook video from fellow member FDNY shows the final deployed medics heading home.
Wes Wampler wakes at 4:30 a.m. on the days he works as a captain for the Richmond Ambulance Authority.
The typical shift, 12 hours at time, two days on, two days off, is anything but typical these days. Though no longer a paramedic, as a captain with 15 years of experience, Wampler still reports to emergency medical calls. Now, he’s in an SUV instead of an ambulance.
Being on the front lines during a pandemic, things change, all the time.
“It’s an exciting job. It’s a fulfilling job. It’s a rewarding job,” he said.
Ambulance companies are suffering major financial losses in the coronavirus pandemic because of an interaction between state government regulations and Medicare payment policy.
In an effort to combat hospital overcrowding during the coronavirus pandemic, states have required ambulances to treat patients at home if possible. Yet Medicare only reimburses ambulances when they transport a patient to a hospital, and most private insurers follow Medicare’s lead. This Catch-22 has cut deeply into ambulance companies’ revenues during the pandemic.
The staggering American death toll from the coronavirus, now approaching 100,000, has touched every part of the country, but the losses have been especially acute along its coasts, in its major cities, across the industrial Midwest, and in New York City.
The devastation, in other words, has been disproportionately felt in blue America, which helps explain why people on opposing sides of a partisan divide that has intensified in the past two decades are thinking about the virus differently. It is not just that Democrats and Republicans disagree on how to reopen businesses, schools and the country as a whole. Beyond perception, beyond ideology, there are starkly different realities for red and blue America right now.
…In Newark, emergency medical services teams made 239 on-scene death pronouncements in April, a fourfold increase from April 2019. Fewer than half of those additional deaths could be attributed directly to Covid-19, said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and chief executive of Newark’s University Hospital…
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa—As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, Iowa’s first responders say the state should no longer hold off on declaring Emergency Medical Services an essential service.
That status is something EMS workers in Iowa have sought long before COVID-19. Being declared “essential” would require ambulance service across the state, instead of relying on a patchwork of volunteers, agencies and providers.
#AmericaStrong coverage from ABC shares the story of a medic returning home after 42 days of deployment to New York to respond to COVID-19.
BOSTON (CBS) — Fifty ambulances traveled from Worcester’s UMass Medical Center to Boston’s Fenway Park Wednesday in a show of appreciation for paramedics, EMTs and 911 dispatchers. It’s all part of a local celebration of National EMS Week.
May 22 at 2:20 PM | EMS1 | By AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence
In my last EMS One-stop column, I commented on the legislative to-do list to ensure that EMS receives the federal support it deserves right now as we staff the front lines and perhaps brace ourselves for COVID-19 round two as the nation craves a return to the normality and liberty enjoyed before the lockdown.
On May 15, 2020, the much talked about HEROES Act narrowly passed from the U.S. House of Representatives by a 208 to 199 vote to the Republican-controlled Senate. The HEROES Act proposed $3 trillion in tax cuts and spending to address the negative health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included benefits for the public safety community, extensions to enhanced unemployment benefits, debt collection relief, direct cash payments to households and possibly even hazard pay.
Reno, Nevada’s REMSA provides nationally recognized ground ambulance service within Washoe County, Nevada. Don’t miss their amazing new “Thank a Healthcare Provider” page, where members of their community are able to share digital thank you notes with REMSA’s Paramedics, EMTs, telecommunicators, pilots, and nurses as well as administrative and operations staff.
“MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced a grant program funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Totaling $100 million dollars, the funding will support providers most at-risk for financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. The providers targeted for financial assistance include emergency medical services, home and community-based services, and long-term care providers such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.”
A parade of more than 50 ambulances, representing more than 20,000 paramedics, EMTs, and 911 dispatchers, traveled from UMass Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts to the warning track inside Fenway Park on Wednesday, May 20. The Boston Red Sox, Mayor Marty Walsh, state officials, and healthcare professionals joined the Massachusetts Ambulance Association, the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, and municipal ambulance providers in celebrating these front line heroes during National EMS Week.
Once inside the park, the EMS professionals were greeted by video tributes from dignitaries and celebrities and a select number of live speakers following safe social distancing guidelines.
The event takes on even greater significance this year because of the unprecedented response to the COVID-19 crisis from EMS professionals and their colleagues across the state’s medical community.
The Commonwealth’s EMS professionals have been crucial in responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts has been among the nation’s hardest-hit states, experiencing the third most deaths and fourth-most cases of the novel coronavirus.
During the current public health crisis, EMS professionals have helped manage testing and treatment for homebound patients and provided supplemental support for hospitals and neighborhood health centers, in addition to its duties in responding to daily emergencies.
“You are making a tremendous difference for our country,” Secretary Chao says in video message
In recognition of National Emergency Medical Services Week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao recorded a video message honoring the people of EMS and their families for their sacrifice and dedication to their communities, especially during this unprecedented pandemic. As the nation marks the 46th National EMS Week, we also recognize the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has supported the advancement of EMS systems since its inception.
…The coronavirus crisis is putting an unexpected financial squeeze on ambulance operators, ratcheting up costs and tanking revenue even as they audibly remind people of the virus’s proliferation throughout the county…
Founded in 1967, Pafford Medical Services continues to provide over 80 communities with the latest, most sophisticated level of pre-hospital care. As a family-owned and operated company, Pafford serves communities across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With over 1200 members of Team Pafford, over 180 ambulances, 3 medical fixed-wing aircraft, 3 rotor-wing aircraft, 2 communications centers, and our corporate billing office, Pafford is staffed 24/7.
It is Pafford’s mission to provide its communities, healthcare partners, and facilities they serve with the highest standards of mobile healthcare. While providing communities with proper 911 ambulance coverage, the company has become known nationwide for its Special Response Taskforce which assists during national disasters. As the company evolves to cater to the citizens it serves, Pafford took notice of the needs of industries and businesses during the global pandemic and now operates OnSite Healthcare Services in order to safeguard workforces as the world resumes operation amidst COVID-19. Another pillar of the company’s mission is its promise as a contributive community partner by providing educational resources, medical equipment, and scholarships along with medical standby for special events.
Pafford is fully equipped to provide the following services:
It was evident that with the novel coronavirus, crew members would need to be properly trained to combat the transmission of the virus. Along with obtaining PPE for their medics, Pafford Medical Services provided additional, in-depth training and education to crew members all while increasing health surveillance, screening, and tracking of employees. Due to Pafford spanning across 5 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the company activated its Emergency Operations Center to provide support to its primary 911 PSAPS.
In these unprecedented times, Pafford Medical Services remained a leader in community discussions and decisions related to COVID-19. To better serve its communities, Pafford dedicated ambulances in their regions to coordinate the transport of COVID cases or suspected COVID cases. All of Pafford’s systems were able to remain fully operational thanks to the diligent work and daily communications with their leadership teams to keep all team members up to date on the latest information for their communities.
“We will never be able to fully express our gratitude to not only our management teams but to our boots on the ground who have been in the trenches remaining strong and vigilant over the past 10 weeks,” says CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham. “These men and women have gone above and beyond the call of duty, serving others, their communities, and their country during this global health crisis.”
“As a rural EMS provider, our challenges on a day-to-day basis require our medics to be prepared to care for our communities, many of which do not have hospitals and with clinics working limited hours, our medics are always there 24/7/365. We are the Healthcare Safety Net and our team does a wonderful, compassionate job. They don’t back down and provide a vital service to our citizens. During this outbreak, I am proud of not only our EMS team members but the entire EMS system across America for stepping up in such a critical time in our Country.”—Jamie Pafford-Gresham, CEO, Pafford Medical Services
“It takes a servant’s heart and a strong mind. But I count it as pure joy to help those in need.”-Alvin Short, Pafford EMS, Paramedic, Canadian County, OK
EMS is important because even when things get rough, the world keeps getting scarier and sickness continues to rise…we never quit.”—Meghann Jones EMT Pafford EMS, Canadian County, Oklahoma
“EMS is important because it provides immediate medical care to people who need it– bringing the ER to the patient in a timely manner.” Jarlicia Scott FTO/ Paramedic
“EMS is an extremely important part of community safety, doctors don’t make house calls anymore so EMS practitioners stand readily available to provide that extension of care while treating and managing acute illnesses and trauma.”—Randy Murry, EMS Operations Manager, Coahoma County, Mississippi, Star of Life 2020
Most people that know the Pafford Family, know that celebration is normally in the form of passing the plate, sharing in a meal, and most importantly, fellowship. Pafford Medical Services makes it a point to take a step back and bring families together, to recognize and honor the sacrifices made from all members of the families that have a loved one on the front-lines. This year, team gifts will be given out, but most importantly, Pafford realizes that the ultimate gifts are its people.
Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. was founded by Harvey L. Hall on February 10, 1971. Today, the Company serves as the 9-1-1 paramedic provider for 88% of Kern County, California’s population, or roughly 780,000 people.
Hall Ambulance provides advanced life support, basic life support, and regional ground and air interfacility transport solutions through Hall Critical Care Transport.
Weeks before the first confirmed patient was detected in our community, Hall Ambulance began implementing extensive measures in preparation for the coronavirus pandemic reaching Bakersfield and Kern County. An internal task force was formed to determine how best to confront this new disease. As of May 17, 204 Hall Ambulance employees have cared for and transported 221 confirmed COVID-19 patients; however, we are fortunate that zero employees have been infected with the virus.
One of the first places the Company focused its attention was by having its dispatchers use the Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance (EIDS) tool enabling emergency medical dispatchers to advise crews responding to a suspected COVID-19 patient of the need to donn PPE prior to making patient contact.
Before the first transport of a suspected COVID-19 patient occurred, Hall Ambulance looked at best practices and then developed its own protocol for decontaminating ambulances involved in the transport of a coronavirus patient. This stringent process involves nearly four staffing-hours to complete, using hospital-grade germicidal wipes and spray approved by the CDC, and is performed by two technicians (in PPE), and a manager, who works from a safe zone to observe and document the process. As of May 18, 238 ambulances have been decontaminated so that they are properly sanitized and ready to respond to the next request for medical aid.
Hall Ambulance implemented a screening process for all employees prior to starting their shift to ensure they are not exhibiting symptoms. The screening includes a temperature check, and questions about sore throat, new or change in cough, and whether they are experiencing shortness of breath.
For those employees who came in contact with COVID-19 patients, the human resources department places daily phone calls to check on their well-being.
The Company has also worked to assist employees with locating daycare providers and provided financial assistance to cover the cost so those employees could provide care with the peace of mind knowing their little ones were safe and secure.
With the pandemic taking a toll on everyone, a licensed therapist was contracted to work with any employee who felt they needed additional support for their mental health.
To help minimize exposure for non-clinical staff, Hall Ambulance implemented staggered schedules and remote working.
“Hall Ambulance employees have raised the bar in their response to the coronavirus pandemic. The extra amount of care and compassion they are demonstrating to their patients, coworkers, and communities is inspiring and indicative of what emergency medical services is all about.”
Lavonne C. Hall, President & CEO
“I believe EMS is extremely important to be the immediate help that our patients often need. We are able to begin care and help gather information from our patients during our transport in the ambulance that will quicken treatment once at the hospital.”
Paramedic Jennifer Phillips
A few weeks ago, President and CEO Lavonne C. Hall introduced a “Heroes Work Here” campaign consisting of banners being placed at all ambulance post locations throughout the Company’s response area. For EMS Week, Hall Ambulance is presenting custom backpacks emblazoned with the “Heroes Work Here” logo to its employees in appreciation of everything they do. In addition, a social media campaign highlighting several of the paramedics, EMTs, RNs, and dispatchers will be posted throughout the week.
…Through it all, Cullen — a registered nurse who started her career at Good Samaritan fresh out of school 15 years ago and returned to the hospital just seven months ago to head the emergency and critical care departments — has also seen a lot of text messages from her father, Ray Florida.
A daughter texting with her dad wouldn’t be noteworthy if it weren’t for the fact that Florida is executive director of Rockland Paramedic Services, a network of EMTs, paramedics and ambulance corps that are the very first of first responders in the pandemic…
Metro West Ambulance Services, Inc. has a history rich in meeting the needs and caring for those we serve from very small rural communities to large urban areas. We’ve had great successes, marked many firsts in our industry, have been a part of the evolution of prehospital care over the decades. Founded in 1953, we have grown from a small base operation in Forest Grove, Oregon to the largest and oldest continuously owner-operated ambulance service in the Pacific Northwest. Today our Family of Companies has over 900 employees and includes seven licensed ALS ambulance services in Oregon, one licensed ALS ambulance service in northern California, and one brokerage in Oregon serving the Pacific Northwest. Under the guidance of J.D. Fuiten, our founder’s son and our company’s owner and President, Metro West Ambulance has expanded into a Family of Companies serving Oregon, Washington and northern California. Our companies include Metro West Ambulance, Pacific West Ambulance, Medix Ambulance, Bay Cities Ambulance, Umpqua Valley Ambulance, Mid-Valley Ambulance, Del Norte Ambulance and Woodburn Ambulance.
Metro West Ambulance , serving Washington County and the Portland Metro region provides 911 response and a variety of interfacility mobile healthcare services including Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) providing ICU RN level Critical Care transport; Secure Transport for behavioral health patients; EMT staffed wheelchair services plus a large event services division serving the largest venues and biggest events in our state. We also are one of the largest providers of Mobile Integrated Health services with 18 Paramedics working with Oregon’s health systems.
In Oregon, our Governor declared a state of emergency and stay at home orders early on including school and business shut down. This allowed us to flatten the curve earlier as a state. We saw PPE, decon, patient treatment changes became a daily occurrence; treatment changes; innovation regarding patient care; a deeper closeness with other agencies, sending and receiving hospitals because we were “in it together” and we knew this virus had no mercy and no one was immune. With the quarantine and school shut down came many tough concerns such as childcare coverage. Crews worry about exposing their family and inadvertently bringing this awfulness home. Staff was impacted by worries about their patients who show signs of the virus, wondering if the patient survived and grieving for those who died. Instituting strict guidelines in and out of the ambulances and physical distancing to protect us all. As we took on new challenges-we had staff expand their skill set in new roles in mobile integrated health partnering both regionally and across our country creating a virtual hospital to treat hospital patients in their own homes; our EMT’s learned how to do COVID19 testing; others in our industrial medicine division took the lead on temp checks for large employers; we created partnerships in our community that didn’t exist before. Our Paramedics and EMTs in our 911 system took on new challenges of effectively treating and transporting these patients working with other responding agencies. Together we have learned to track how this virus spreads; to talk about how it is affecting everyone in all departments and most of all, together we continue to make plans knowing that the virus isn’t done with us.
” What sets us apart is that we keep those we serve first and foremost believing that all communities no matter how small or how large deserve the best regarding mobile healthcare that includes emergency medical services, interfacility mobile healthcare and mobile integrated healthcare/community paramedicine models. Our people strive everyday to give their communities their best.”
J.D. Fuiten, Metro West Ambulance Services, Inc. , Owner/President
“EMS is important because we are there to help people in need. It could be an emergency situation or a non-emergent trip the to the doctor. We care about people and the community and are here to serve.”—Rachael Koran, Operations Supervisor, EMT
“We in EMS are the best chance of survival many patients have when it comes to sudden catastrophic injuries or illnesses. We’re not hesitant to step forward and do what needs to be done to care for those that need us.”—Jan Lee, Public Information Officer, Hospital Liaison, Paramedic
“When you have people who can no longer help themselves, we’re (EMS) the ones who are there to help them.”—Benjamin Maduell, Communications Center Floor Supervisor, EMT, EMD
In this new era of social distancing, the celebrating is still on-just different. We want our crews to know how important their work is; what it means to the communities we serve to know that they are there for them; and that most of all we value them knowing how hard this pandemic has been on them and their families.
We will be bringing a food cart to our main office with amazing Greek food instead of our traditional outdoor family party & BBQ. We’ll have our crews text in their orders or pre-order them for pickup allowing them to enjoy before or during or after shift- at their convenience. This was our most popular food truck from the past.
Our cities will be doing EMS proclamations for us during their city council meetings that we can either Zoom into and they will also videotape it for us to play for our crews on screens in our crew room. This will allow them to know that their communities support them.
We especially want to recognize them for the heroes they are….we’ll be setting out huge banners at our work sites with the messaging of “Heroes Work Here” . We’ll be doing social media blasting recognizing them all for what they do. We’ll be doing video messaging to them from our management and executive team thanking them for their service.
We want them all to know just how valued they are, how proud we are of them and how much they mean to all those around them.