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AAA President Strozyk to Testify Before Congressional Committee

AAA President Randy Strozyk will testify tomorrow, February 14, at 10:00 am (eastern) before the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The hearing is on “Legislative Proposals To Support Patients And Caregivers” and Randy will speak to the SIREN Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4646), EMS for Children Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6960) and legislation to reauthorize the Traumatic Brain Injury program (H.R. 7208) and certain poison control programs (H.R. 7251).

The hearing will be live streamed online at https://youtu.be/Zy-4NCuheGM.
The hearing will provide the AAA and Randy with a platform to voice support for the EMS proposals on the agenda as well as raise the need for the Committee to address our Medicare ambulance add-on payments and the EMS workforce shortage. For a copy of Randy’s written testimony and other details of the hearing, please go to the Committee website for the hearing.

National EMS Advisory Council Meeting November 15-16, 2023

EMS News
The National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) will host a hybrid meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, November 15-16, 2023, from 1:00 pm – 4:15 PM ET. Join us for national EMS program updates and meet the newest members of NEMSAC.

Don’t miss the latest research and innovations and be a part of the discussion during the public comment period. All members of the public are invited to attend the meeting virtually or in person.

Location: Hyatt Place (Georgetown)
2121 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20037
Public attendance available virtually.

The NEMSAC meeting agenda includes:

  • Updates from federal EMS partners, FICEMS and NEMSIS
  • Presentations on body cameras, geographic disparities in ambulance services and violence in paramedicine
  • Standing and ad hoc subcommittee advisory reports, including:
    • Adaptability and innovation
    • Equitable patient care
    • Preparedness and education
    • Professional safety
    • Sustainability and efficiency
    • Integration and technology
    • Ambulance crash data and statistics
Register Now

Registrants who wish to address the council during the public comment periods can submit comments in writing to NHTSA.NEMSAC@dot.gov by 11:59pm ET on November 8, 2023. Questions and comments for the Council may also be presented using the live chat feature.

NHTSA is committed to providing equal access to this meeting for all program participants. Persons with disabilities in need of accommodation should send their request to Clary Mole by phone at (202) 868-3275 or by email to Clary.Mole@dot.gov no later than November 8, 2023. A sign language interpreter and closed captioning services can be provided through the WebEx virtual meeting platform upon request.

Welcome the Newest NEMSAC Members

The NEMSAC consists of 25 members of the EMS community who represent different aspects of the profession, appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation for two-year terms. Below are the latest appointments and the areas of the EMS community they represent.

Air Medical EMS – Evelyn Byers, MBA, BSN, RN
State Highway Safety – Bradley Estochen, MS, PTOE, PE, EMT
EMS Educators – Daniel Gerard, MS, RN, NRP
EMS Quality Improvement – Mike Taigman, MA
EMS Medical Director – Brandon Morshedi, MD, DPT, NREMT-P, FACEP, FAEMS
Emergency Management – Frank Quintero, DO, MBA, FACEP
Emergency Nurse – Tabitha Vaughn, MSN, RN, CEN, TCRN
Emergency Physicians – Kendall McKenzie, MD
Fire-based EMS – Corey Christine Condren, MPA, PMDC
State EMS Director – Justin Romanello, MHS, NRP
Pediatric Emergency Physician – Sylvia Owusu-Ansah, MD, MPH
Private EMS – Michael Thomas, DrPH, MHA, FACPE, NREMT
PSAP Call-takers/Dispatcher (911) – Casey Quintard, BA, EMDQ, ENP
Volunteer EMS – Wade Miles, ABA, NRP

Read More

Ninth Brain and PHASE Team Up to Give Away 100 Binder Lifts in Celebration of EMS Week!

      

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2023
Contact: Holly Taylor, Chief Hat Holder
Phone: 888-364-9995 ext 320
Email: Holly@ninthbrain.com

EMS Week is about celebrating our practitioners and the unparalleled care they bring to our communities. In honor of the upcoming EMS Week celebration, Ninth Brain and PHASE (formerly known as Binder Lift) are teaming up! These two EMS centric companies, with a combined 30 years of experience, wish to inspire EMS Leaders to share their story.

This year’s theme, “EMS: Where Emergency Care Begins”, brings a sense of nostalgia with it. Why did your EMS career begin? Hearing stories of the ‘why’ behind the journey and reminiscing those first days in EMS is both important and inspirational. Mentors sharing their passion for what they do and providing impactful words of wisdom to future EMS leaders, is how we keep Emergency Care thriving. “We know sharing their story may not fix the problems they face, but it may provide a brief reprieve and to remember the ‘why’ when faced with the everyday pressures that weigh heavily on their responsible shoulders.” said Holly Taylor, Chief Hat Holder at Ninth Brain. “And for opening up and sharing, we want to give them an opportunity to help their EMS Agency win equipment that has a proven track record of safety.”

For participating in sharing their story, Ninth Brain and PHASE, will be giving away a total of 100 Binder Lifts to chosen participants’ Agencies. “One of the biggest challenges EMS leaders face is the nationwide shortage of emergency care workers. Though we can’t help agencies find new personnel, we can help them retain employees by keeping existing care providers happy and injury free.” stated by Rick Binder, Chief Executive Officer at PHASE. Take a few minutes to motivate others with your ‘why’, what you love about EMS, and advice for future leaders, for the opportunity to win Binder Lifts for your Agency! Visit https://www.ninthbrain.com/ems-week-2023/ to get started as the opportunity will close on May 31st at 5pm ET!

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About Ninth Brain: Launched in 2001, Ninth Brain is a Michigan based software solution that provides a centralized solution to help EMS organizations with maintaining their daily operations, such as tracking required credentials, providing a robust learning management system, creating forms/checklists, managing workforce scheduling, and much more! With one login, you can easily manage your company’s needs with the Ninth Brain software, AND enjoy superb client support including training, webinars, and (gasp) real people! To learn more, visit www.ninthbrain.com

About PHASE: We’re on a mission to empower emergency care providers to have longer and healthier careers by providing the equipment and training necessary to safely move patients of any size with ease. All our products and services are science-backed solutions that help emergency care providers avoid injuries where they happen most. PHASE is a family-owned business that brings our family values to the workplace. When you do business with us, you’re more than a customer. You’re family. So, let’s connect. We look forward to helping you. To learn more, visit www.phaseintl.com

Fitch & Associates 2023 EMS Trend Survey

The 2023 EMS Trend Survey explores issues tied to provider recruitment and retention, including leadership; health and wellness support; and the impact of staffing shortages on providers’ work and job-related stress. We invite EMS field providers, supervisors, senior leadership and educators from all service types and response areas to participate and share the survey with their colleagues. The questionnaire will only take about 10 minutes to complete. Share your input by March 15, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Your response is confidential and the results, including expert analysis from industry experts from all walks of EMS, will be published in the EMS Trend Report “What paramedics want in 2023” Digital Edition in July, 2023, and shared at the 2023 Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum. The EMS Trend Report is produced by Fitch & Associates and EMS1in partnership with EMS Survey Team, and the National EMS Management Association. If you have any questions, please email emstrends@fitchassoc.com. 

TAKE THE SURVEY

Department of Veterans Affairs Issues Final Rule on Reimbursement for Ambulance Services and Other Special Modes of Transportation

On February 16, 2023, the Department of Veterans published in the Federal Register the final rule to revise the payment methodology for beneficiary travel by ambulance and other so-called “special modes of transportation. The changes contained within the final rule were first included in a November 5, 2020 proposed rule.

The final rule will become effective on February 16, 2024.

Relevant Background

The VA currently pays for beneficiary travel under certain circumstances.  To be eligible for reimbursement, the veteran must meet certain eligibility criteria.  Specifically, the veteran must be traveling either: (i) for care at a VA health facility or (ii) for care at a non-VA facility that has been previously approved by the VA.  The veteran must also meet one of the following additional criteria:

  1. The veteran must have a VA disability rating of 30% or higher;
  2. The veteran must be traveling for treatment of a service-related condition (if their VA disability rating is less than 30%);
  3. The veteran receives a VA pension;
  4. The veteran has an income below the maximum annual VA pension rate;
  5. The veteran cannot otherwise afford to pay for their travel; or
  6. The veteran is traveling for one of the following reasons: (i) to obtain a VA compensation and pension exam, (ii) to obtain a VA service dog, or (iii) to obtain VA-approved transplant care.

Beneficiary travel covers all modes of transportation, including transportation by private vehicle, common carriers (e.g., taxi, livery, and public transportation), mass transit, etc.  Beneficiary travel also covers so-called “special modes of transportation,” which includes air and ground ambulance services, wheelchair vans services, and stretcher vans services.

The rules governing the payment for beneficiary travel services at set forth in 38 C.F.R. § 70.30.

Subpart (a)(4) sets forth the payment methodology for the reimbursement of special modes of transport, and simply provides that payment is based on “[t]he actual cost of a special mode of transportation.  In the context of ambulance services, this has historically been interpreted to mean the ambulance provider’s full billed charges.

Provisions of Final Rule 

Under the final rule, the VA would revise its existing payment methodology for beneficiary travel by ambulance and other special modes of transportation to no longer reimburse providers for their actual costs, and to instead base reimbursement on:

  1. For ground and air ambulance services, the lesser of: (i) the actual charge for ambulance transportation (i.e., the provider’s billed charges) or (ii) the amount determined under the Medicare Ambulance Fee Schedule.
  2. For other special modes of transportation (i.e., ambulette, wheelchair van, or stretcher van), the lesserof: (i) the provider’s actual charge, (ii) the applicable Medicaid rate in the state where the provider is domiciled (using the lowest Medicaid rate where the provider is domiciled in multiple states), or (iii) the applicable Medicaid rate in the state where the transport occurred (or the lowest Medicaid rate if the transport occurred in more than one state). Note: the revised regulations provide that if none of the states involved has a “posted rate,” the VA would continue to pay the provider’s full billed charges

The revised payment methodology for non-ambulance special modes of transport is intended to be temporary.  In its proposed rule, the VA indicated that it would use this payment methodology for a minimum of 90 calendar days after a final rule was posted in the Federal Register.  This period of time was intended to allow the VA to gather payment data.  If the VA believes that it gathered sufficient payment data during this initial 90-day period, it indicated that it would develop a new payment methodology “using the lowest possible rate.”  If the VA determined that it did not have sufficient payment data after the initial 90-day period, it would extend the proposed payment methodology for additional 90-day periods as needed until it believed it had sufficient data.  The VA indicated that it did not anticipate needing more than 18 months from the effective date of the final rule to gather sufficient payment data to implement a new payment method

EMS Narratives | Friday Night [Under The] Lights

EMS Narratives Columns

Below is the first in a series of monthly personal narratives from EMS leaders. If you would like to submit a column for consideration, please email hello@ambulance.org.

Written Friday, November 25, 2022 | By Ed Racht, MD

Happy Friday, and happy Thanksgiving weekend. I hope by now your blood sugar is slowly but surely heading back to baseline despite all the leftovers calling you from the fridge. Worth it though, right? My dad taught me long ago, “everything in moderation—even moderation.”

So, I want to tell you something tonight, especially because it is the Thanksgiving season. I’ve been thinking for a while about how to say this without sounding cliché, routine, robotic, or insincere. And then—as so often happens in life—I got a little help from a very unlikely encounter.

This past Saturday, my bestie, Heather, and I went to try a local diner for breakfast. This place has been around since air was invented. Cash only. Same tables and seats since the day they opened. Part Formica, part particle board countertops. None of the coffee cups match. Open only until 2:00PM and always closed on Sundays. The ham & cheese omelet is $7.99. Biscuits, bread, or hashbrowns only. Everyone that comes in knows everyone else. And it is packed all the time.

We chose a booth in the corner by the window because our server told us that was the warmest table she had available. She was right.

As we sat drinking our coffee in mismatched mugs, we both noticed an elderly man sitting by himself at the end of the counter. He had placed his walker against the ATM along the wall (cash only, remember?).

Then he slowly got up from his stool, grabbed that walker, and carefully wobbled his way to the restroom. It was one of those moments where we both watched and quietly prepared to jump up to help prevent what seemed like an inevitable fall. We didn’t want to offend him with an offer to help but didn’t want him taking a trip to ground either.

We looked across the table at each other and did that mutual raised eyebrow thingy. Ugh. “Warmest booth we have,” she said. Great.

A few minutes later, he slowly made his way back to his spot. But he went a few feet too far this time with the walker, making a beeline directly toward the warmest booth in the diner. He stopped for a minute (what the heck?) grabbed the handwritten check off our table and turned around, without saying a word, and made his way back to his seat. His walker made those sequential two inch turns.

Great. How do you tell an older man he has OUR check (and why did we come here again)?

“Excuse me?” We both said, eyebrows up again.

He turned to us and said, “I’ve got it.”

Wait. What?

He said, “I come up here every day for breakfast when they’re open. Twice a month, I like to buy somebody else’s breakfast. I’ve got it.”

Wow. We sat in stunned silence as this gentleman made his way back to the counter and sat down on his stool.

To make a long story short, we thanked him and struck up a small conversation with him. A few minutes in, he asked, “can I get closer?”

Of course.

So once again we went through the diner-walker challenge and he made his way over to the warmest booth in the restaurant and sat with us for the next hour. We talked about all sorts of things. His wife had been a nurse (mental health was her specialty). He told us about where they had lived and their adventures. He talked a little about his opinions of healthcare today (you can fill in those blanks).

At one point, he told me he lived in Texas and he’d always travel into Mexico to get his medications because they were so much cheaper than in the US. I asked him if he was nervous about going.

He laughed, and said, “I always went in the morning. Bad guys don’t get up early.”

Now, I’ve been in EMS for a few years and you know what? He’s right. Holy crud. Funny and spot-on relevant.

So, why am I telling you about Gary (his real name, by the way)? First, I need to cover a few more things to pull the meaning of this story together. Bear with me.

Fair warning. This next part doesn’t feel Thanksgivingy, but I’m going to argue that it’s at the very heart of a meaningful “thanks.”

Take a look at some of the toughest parts of our world right now:

  • How can we ever understand recent senseless acts of violence—and how will we ever comfort our own who responded?
  • What do we do about the fact that a recent survey shows that nine in 10 nurses believe the quality of patient care often suffers due to nursing shortages?
  • And, by the way, the majority added that they feel guilty about taking a break because they think they must always be on call (55%).
  • … resulting in half of the nurses polled admitting they have considered leaving the nursing profession altogether (50%).
  • And how about this one? According to a AAA survey of 258 EMS organizations across the country, nearly a third of the workforce left their ambulance company after less than a year. Eleven percent left within the first three months!
  • Did you know that the number of serious patient safety incidents reported to The Joint Commission jumped in 2021, reaching the highest annual level seen since the accrediting body started tracking them in 2005?
  • And … In Minnesota, nearly 60% of the state’s EMTs and about 15% of Paramedics did not provide patient care in 2021. This suggests that they left the EMS workforce altogether.

I’ll stop there, because I think you get the gist. How (and why) do I go from a Gary story to this?

This is, without a doubt, the most challenging period of EMS and healthcare history that we have faced together. Ever.

It’s really, really hard right now. And it’s hard in a different way than we’ve ever faced. Clinically hard. Operationally hard. Financially hard. Culturally hard.

Which also means that it’s personally hard. Whether you are directly providing care to a patient or supporting all the complexities that make that interaction possible and effective, it’s hard on us. The facts above reflect exactly that.

Now, I’ve been in EMS for a year or two (insert big-eye emoji), and one of the most rewarding feelings on the planet is creating order out of someone else’s chaos. I honestly believe that people like you choose this profession and support this profession in large part to make other people’s lives better.

Our mission is among the purest and most important on the face of the earth. Just think about how many people enjoyed a Thanksgiving with the people they loved because someone years before fixed their distorted anatomy or disrupted physiology.

It’s easy to forget the massive good a profession, an organization, or an individual can do. Gary gave us a little gift. When I first saw him, I was certain we would end up having to help him. But instead, he helped us.

When we work hard to take care of our patients, our communities, each other, our organization and our profession—They. Take. Care. Of. Us.

So. When our workplace is supportive, people want to join us. When our partners are fun, we seek them out. When our medicine is strong and sound, the medical profession embraces us. When our operation is accountable, we grow, evolve, and thrive when the art and science changes. When we come together as a team, we become the model of effective care. And when all that happens, WE, as individuals, can help tackle all the tough stuff in the most effective way possible.

I’d love to have more people choose EMS as a profession. I’d love to see them seek out advancement and growth. I’d love to see the science evolve to support better outcomes in unplanned illness and injury. I’d love to see hospital metrics and EMS metrics get better, not languish. I’d love to help communities become safer. And I would absolutely love for every one of us individually to be a part of that. I promise. That’s the way we make things so much better.

So tonight, on this day after Thanksgiving, I want to tell you that I’m not just thankful for what you do, I’m also extremely grateful. My daughter taught me there’s a difference. The definition of thankful is “pleased and relieved.” The definition of grateful is “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness and gratitude.” In that spirit, I wanted to share that I’m grateful for you and I’m grateful for EMS.

We need the best in one another right now. There are four legs in our Bench of EMS Strength:

  • Taking care of ourselves
  • Taking care of our partners
  • Taking care of our patients
  • Taking care of our organizations

There is plenty of hard stuff ahead, so let’s do this. We can sit in the warmest booth in the place. I’m so grateful for that.

So, that’s it from my World. Happy Friday, and happy Thanksgiving.

Ed

NHTSA’s Office of EMS Thanks You for Your Service

The Office of EMS (OEMS) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is celebrating our nation’s dedicated EMS clinicians during National EMS Week, May 15-21, 2022. We would like to thank you for your commitment to providing high-quality care and compassion to your patients. Your work makes your communities safer and healthier every day.

Please take a moment to watch this video to hear a special message from OEMS Director, Gam Wijetunge, expressing his heartfelt gratitude for EMS clinicians nationwide.

EMS Week Thank You Video


This year’s EMS Week theme is “Rising to the Challenge,” addressing the courage and perseverance EMS clinicians demonstrate every day. Despite the obstacles, EMS clinicians remain dedicated to treating patients in the face of a continued pandemic response while handling the typical challenges of working in EMS.

Take advantage of this opportunity to educate others about all that you and your fellow clinicians do, like Office of EMS EMS Specialist, Kate Elkins, featured on an episode of the Everything is Public Health podcast, scheduled for release on May 19, 2022.

From all of us here at the Office of EMS, NHTSA, and the Department of Transportation: Thank you.

NHTSA Names New 911 Program Coordinator

Please see the following statement from NHTSA announcing their newly named 911 Program Coordinator
911 program coordinator

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services announced today that Brian Tegtmeyer, ENP (Emergency Number Professional) will assume the role of National 911 Program Coordinator effective May 9, 2022. 

Mr. Tegtmeyer brings more than 26 years of experience in the field of public safety communications to the position.

“NHTSA’s long-term commitment to supporting 911 systems continues with the selection of Brian as the new coordinator for the National 911 Program,” said Gam Wijetunge, Director of the Office of EMS. “His deep knowledge of 911 systems and history of working within the 911 community, at a state, regional and national level is the experience needed to collaborate on updating and improving 911 across the nation.”

Brian began his career as a dispatcher at Hazel Crest Illinois Police Department and continued serving in various leadership roles in 911 systems before assuming his most recent position as Executive Director of DuPage Public Safety Communications in 2007. There he managed a 911 center with 44 agencies that serves a population of over 850,000 citizens.

“Next Generation 911 is the future of public safety communications. This evolution will impact every aspect of a communications center from the technology to operations to our most valuable resource—our telecommunicators,” said Tegtmeyer. “I am excited to join the National 911 Program’s efforts to help state and local 911 systems provide optimal 911 services to their communities.”

Brian has spent over a decade as a national educator teaching Public Safety Telecommunicator courses. He has also been an active member of multiple public safety organizations, including the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and has been active in Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforces (TERT) on a state and national level.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology at Western Michigan University and also served as a firefighter-EMT at the start of his career.

VHA Office of Community Care Overview

From VHA Train

In this series of live webinars provider participants will receive an overview of Community Care which includes the background on Community Care programs and the corresponding VA regulations. In-dept discussions on topics from referrals and authorizations, authorized emergency and unauthorized emergency care, urgent care, claims, and more. This webinar will take place in February, April, June, and August in 2022.

Prior to the webinar, please send any questions you have to vha13communitycaresupportstaff@va.gov +

Register Now

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Application Period Extended for FY 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program

Please see the below notice from FEMA on the extension of the Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) Program:

“FEMA has been working with the General Services Administration to resolve interface issues related to SAM.gov that were affecting some applicants’ ability to begin inputting their federal fiscal year (FY) 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program applications into the FEMA GO System. Specifically, this issue included applicants that received error messages stating their organizations were not found and that their Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)/Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) combination did not exist despite the applicants’ SAM.gov accounts being fully active.

As this issue is ongoing, the FY 2021 AFG Program application period will remain open until January 21, 2022 5:00 p.m. ET. All applicants will automatically be granted this extension. This ensures that applicants affected by the UEI/EFT issue will have sufficient time to complete the online application. The extension to the application period will not affect the award timeline. In the meantime, FEMA continues to strongly encourage applicants to review the FY 2021 AFG Program Notice of Funding Opportunity and the associated tools posted on the FEMA website here: FY 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Application Guidance Materials | FEMA.gov. In preparation for application submission, applicants may also draft their narratives separately and cut and paste them into the appropriate areas of FEMA GO once the SAM.gov interface issue is resolved. The questions that are asked in the narrative section may be found in the FY 2021 AFG Program Narrative Get Ready Guide.

Fire Grants Help Desk: If you have questions about the NOFO or application process, call or email the Fire Grants Help Desk. The toll-free number is 1-866-274-0960; the e-mail address for questions is firegrants@fema.dhs.gov.The Fire Grants Help Desk is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET. “

 

HRSA Announces Distribution of Phase 4 General Distribution Funds

The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has announced that it will begin distributing Phase 4 General Distribution Payments on Thursday, December 16, 2021.  According to HRSA, approximately 75% of all Phase 4 applications have now been processed.  HRSA indicated that the remaining 25% of applications require additional review under its risk mitigation and cost containment safeguards.

HRSA further indicated that it began distributing American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural Payments on November 23, 2021.  As of December 14, 2021, HRSA has indicated that it has processed approximately 96% of ARP applications.  The ARP allocated a total of $8.5 billion to health care providers who serve rural Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP patients.  HRSA indicated that it will distribute $7.5 billion of these funds in its initial distribution.

To the extent a provider was determined to be eligible for either a Phase 4 payment or an ARP Rural Payment, the provider will receive both an email notification and a paper letter with additional details on these payments.  This will include the individual amounts attributed to any subsidiary TINs submitted as part of their application.  To the extent HRSA determined that you were not eligible for a Phase 4 payment, the email notice will provide an explanation for why you were determined to be ineligible.  These email notices will be sent to the email address provided in the Phase 4 application.  Providers selected for additional review will receive email notification as soon as HRSA completes its review process, which it indicated would be completed in “early 2022.”

AAA members are encouraged to look for this email.  If you have not received an email notification, we would suggest that you check your spam filter, as several of our members have indicated that the email was flagged as “spam” by their email system. 

Call to Action: Write Your Members of Congress Today!

Our nation’s EMS infrastructure is at risk. Ground ambulance service organizations are facing a financial crisis due to the lack of adequate reimbursement for their services and a crippling shortage of paramedics and EMTs. If Congress does not act soon, the situation will become worse with an additional 4% sequestration cut for all Medicare providers and suppliers including for ground ambulance services. Our nation’s 9-1-1 EMS infrastructure is at risk.

Place follow the link below to contact your members of Congress and ask that they protect ground emergency and non-emergency ambulance services in our communities.

Contact your Members of Congress

TODAY | CMS Cost Data Collection System Q&A Session

CMS Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection Q&A Session

Tuesday, September 14 from 2-3 pm ET

CMS is hosting a Q&A session about the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System tomorrow at 2:00pm Eastern.

Do you have questions about the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System? Join this live Q&A session. You may also send questions in advance to AmbulanceDataCollection@cms.hhs.gov with “September 14 Q&A” in the subject line. We’ll update documents on our Ambulances Services Center webpage with answers to common questions from this session.

More Information:

Register for this session

 

NEMSIS | EMS Body Cam Guide

New Guide Offers Body-Worn Camera Legal Considerations for EMS Agencies

Although body-worn cameras aren’t yet widely used in EMS, interest is growing and organizations that have employed them have seen significant benefits – and some limitations.

To help guide agencies, the National Emergency Medical Services Information System Technical Assistance Center (NEMSIS TAC), in cooperation with the legal firm Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, has released the EMS Body-worn Camera Quickstart Guide: Legal Considerations for EMS Agencies. The guide provides an overview of general legal issues for EMS agencies thinking about using body-worn cameras.

An overview of these key legal considerations for EMS agencies are covered in the new document:

  • Federal HIPAA standards
  • State invasion of privacy laws
  • State wiretap/eavesdropping laws
  • State open records laws
  • Data retention requirements
  • Developing a body-worn camera policy

Every EMS agency considering the use of body-worn cameras must evaluate not just legal issues but financial considerations, public perception, impact on staff, potential union bargaining and more.

Download PDF

Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Measures

Read a summary of President Trump’s proposed stimulus package developed by analysts from AAA lobbying firm Akin Gump.

As was the case following September 11, and during the Great Recession, President Trump and Congress have managed to bridge partisan divides and quickly develop several legislative packages to address the expanding impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on America’s public health system and the broader economy. Phase 1—the supplemental appropriations bill—has already become law. Phase 2—targeted relief for individuals, including paid family leave—has passed the House and is poised to pass the Senate this week. Phase 3—broader economic stimulus designed to deliver cash to individuals to help them weather the downturn, as well as industry-specific relief—is being crafted as we write, hopefully with a bipartisan agreement and quick enactment in a matter of days, not weeks. Continue reading►

President’s Perspective April 2019

Aarron Reinert
President,  AAA

Dear Fellow AAA Members,

Spring is in full bloom in Washington, D.C., and the American Ambulance Association is hard at work in our nation’s capital advocating for mobile healthcare providers. I am pleased to share with you several updates from your association.

Advocacy Progress

The AAA continues to forge ahead advocating for the legislative and regulatory priorities of our membership. Earlier this month, more than forty AAA volunteer leaders and members came to Washington, D.C., meeting with more than 100 congressional offices to advocate for Medicare policies and improved claims processing by the Department of Veterans Affairs for emergency ambulance services. (View photos on Facebook.)

The AAA has also taken an active role in responding to potentially harmful “surprise billing” legislation. The AAA has been urging Members of Congress to recognize the unique and essential nature of emergency ambulance services and ambulance interfacility mobile healthcare transports. Ambulance service suppliers and providers are already heavily regulated at the local level and struggle with receiving adequate reimbursement. The Congress should protect patient access to ground ambulance services and continue to allow us to balance bill.

The AAA is working closely with CMS and the RAND corporation on the development of the ambulance cost data collection system in order to ensure that the end survey and methodology is feasible for our industry. The AAA has established itself and our membership as an important stakeholder throughout the cost data collection development process, and we look forward to remaining involved this year.

On the legislative front, the AAA is eager to introduce a larger piece of Medicare legislation that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the industry. This legislation will address issues such as inadequate reimbursement, the need for innovative payment models, the lack of equitable polices, rural zip code classifications, and more. Buy Diamox 250 mg https://www.rpspharmacy.com/product/diamox/

Legislation to restructure the offset included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to pay for the 5-year extension of Medicare add-on payments has been reintroduced in the Senate (S. 228) and should be re-introduced in the House soon. The AAA is also working on updating the Veterans Reimbursement for Emergency Ambulance Services Act (VREASA) to adequately address issues regarding reimbursement from the VA.

With many important legislative priorities, we will continue to lean on our members for their support and encourage you all to continue to build relationships with your Members of Congress.

Ambulance Cost Education (ACE)

Time is running out to prepare for the new federal cost data collection requirements for ambulance services which go into effect January 1, 2020. To help ambulance services ready themselves, our expert faculty has developed comprehensive Ambulance Cost Education (ACE) webinars, regional workshops, and online resources. With AAA ACE, your service will have all the tools needed to comply with federally mandated cost collection. An ACE subscription is the turn-key solution to prepare for ambulance cost collection. Learn more about our affordable packages today.

Stars of Life

Every year, the American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life program showcases the value of mobile healthcare to legislators and the general public. I look forward to seeing many of you this June in Washington D.C., for the 2019 celebration. Follow the 2019 AAA Stars of Life on Facebook and Twitter in the coming months! Levitra generic http://www.gastonpharmacy.com/levitra.php

Annual Conference & Trade Show

Preparations are in full swing for the 2019 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show in exciting Nashville, Tennessee. AAA Annual is the can’t-miss educational experience for ambulance leaders interested in bringing excellence in reimbursement, operations, and human resources to their services! I hope that you will join me and hundreds of our colleagues for networking, learning, and fun November 4-6Early bird registration is open now!

Thank You, Members!

It continues to be my pleasure to serve so many talented, dedicated health care professionals. Thank you for your service to your communities, and I wish you continued success in 2019!

Aarron Reinert
President
American Ambulance Association

Update on Government Shutdown and Sequestration

As the government shutdown drags on the negative impacts continue to grow. If the shutdown continues through January 24, 2019, which is looking likely at this point, current law will require the Trump Administration to cut about $839 million from non-exempt federal benefit programs to avoid increasing the deficit. This is a result of the “PAYGO” (pay as you go) law which requires spending increases or tax cuts to be offset with cuts to programs or additional revenue to avoid increasing the deficit. As the largest nonexempt benefit program, it is likely that Medicare would experience the worst of these cuts through sequestration.

While the Trump Administration has not yet issued a sequestration order, there is a distinct possibility that one could be issued if the shutdown continues much longer. A sequestration order would mean an additional across the board cut to all Medicare providers, including ambulance services. Ambulance service providers are still feeling the impact of the 2% sequestration cut that has been in effect the past few years. Any new cuts would likely start out being targeted at administrative tasks which could slow payments to providers. Temporary cuts would be expensive for the administration to facilitate and is made more challenging by the fact that many important staff members are currently furloughed. There are also some at the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) who believe that these cuts could not actually be administered until the government is reopen.

The AAA will keep members informed of any new developments.

LifeWorks October Feature: Work-Life Balance and Productivity

October Feature: Work-Life Balance and Productivity

Ten Tips for Fitting Work and Life Together

Would you like to move beyond feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your personal and work responsibilities? Or learn how to achieve personal and professional success on your own terms? “Knowing how to manage the way work and life fit together is a modern skill set we all need to succeed,” says Cali Williams Yost, an internationally recognized flexible workplace strategist and author of the books Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day and Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You. Here are Yost’s 10 strategies:

  1. Remember that work-life fit is unique for each of us. “Simply put, there is no work-life balance or perfect 5050 split between your work and your personal life,” Yost says. “If you do happen to hit a balance, you can’t maintain it because your realities are always changing, personally and professionally.” There’s also no “right way” to achieve a good work-life fit. Your goal is to find your unique, ever-changing fit, the way your work and personal realities fit together day-to-day and at major life transitions. Don’t compare yourself to others. Find the fit that’s right for you.
    It’s also important to keep in mind that during major life changes — like becoming a parent, caring for an aging relative, relocating with a partner, going back to school, or easing your way into retirement — you may find yourself rethinking how you define success related to money, prestige, advancement, or caregiving. Throughout life, you may need to align and adjust your work and personal realities so they match with your vision and goals for the future.
  2. Harness the power of small actions or “tweaks”. Even small actions can have positive and lasting effects. When you’re feeling overloaded, for example, commit to taking two or three small but meaningful steps toward a better work-life fit. Plan a long weekend away with friends. Clean out your hall closet. Take an online class to learn a new skill. Then do it again and again. Small actions can have a big impact on your sense of well-being and control. To get started, check out more than 200 small, doable get-started actions suggested by 50 work, career, and personal life experts in Yost’s book Tweak It.
  3. Create a combined calendar and priority list. On top of a busy job and home life, how will you fit everything else into your schedule? There’s exercise, eating well, vacation, sleep, career development, time with family and friends, caregiving responsibilities, and just general life maintenance. You can’t do it all. But you can be more intentional and deliberate about how you spend your time.
    First, pull together all your work and personal to-dos and priorities into one combined calendar and list. This will help you determine how you want to prioritize the tweaks — small, meaningful work, career, and personal actions and priorities — to add to your work-life fit. For example, tweaks might include planning all meals and shopping for your groceries on Sunday or getting to exercise class every Tuesday and Saturday. Or they might include researching a vacation one afternoon, going to the movies with your sister, or attending a networking event. Building actions into your schedule makes it far more likely they’ll happen. And you’ll feel better as a result.
  4. Take care of yourself in small ways. Small changes can make a big difference in how you feel. Manage stress during the day by closing your eyes for 15 seconds and taking a few deep breaths. Try to eat more healthfully by adding a vegetable to two of your meals during the day. Turn off the television and your electronic devices an hour before you go to bed to help you get the rest you need.
  5. Preview a skill online before you pay to take a class. In a rapidly changing world, all of us need to keep updating our skills to meet new work and other realities. But going back to school can be expensive and time consuming. Before you invest a substantial amount of money in a class, try to preview a skill online. Watch or listen to any of the hundreds of thousands of videos or podcasts on an infinite number of topics that you can preview by downloading or streaming them. Watch them while you’re commuting, or listen to them while you walk. If you want or need more help than the video or podcast provides, invest in a class
  6. Collect ideas for vacations — then take one. Taking a break to reenergize is more important than ever in our on-the-go world. And many people don’t take vacations just because they don’t know where to go. It takes some research to find a destination that you can afford, and some of us don’t do this until it’s too late. To get inspired, keep a jar or small box where you can store vacation ideas. Every time you hear a friend or relative talk about a wonderful vacation, write down what appeals to you about it and put it there. When you read an article about a place that sounds interesting, put that in the box or jar, too. Once a year, pick a destination from all of the vacation ideas you’ve accumulated.
  7. Get things done while you’re enjoying family and friends. Cook dinner with your kids. When you prepare a meal together, you’re also spending time together. Take a walk with your close friend before work or a tae kwon do class with your partner on the weekend. You’ll be exercising while spending quality time together. At holiday times, plan a cookie exchange and donate some of the cookies to a women’s shelter.
  8. Have 10 technology-free minutes each day with your children. Give the kids time when you aren’t distracted by electronic gadgets. Sit on the floor and do a puzzle. Ask teenagers how their day went, and just listen. Check your email only at certain times of the day, so you aren’t always on it when children need you. When you’re on the phone, turn around and face away from your computer so you aren’t distracted by email. Looking away from the screen will force you to pay attention to the person you’re talking with.
  9. Plan for future caregiving responsibilities. Get a head start if you’re taking care of a grandparent or may be caring for a parent or other relative in the future. Sit down with the adults in your life who may require care. Try to clarify what they want, understand their financial resources, and come up with a plan for meeting their needs and wishes. Try to include in the meeting any family and friends who form a broader network of care, so you don’t have to do it all on your own. Don’t wait for a crisis.
  10. Keep on top of everyday maintenance. Clean as you go, so the work doesn’t pile up. Put a load of laundry in the washing machine in the morning before you leave for work, and put it in the dryer when you get home. Keep a small bucket of cleaning supplies in the bathroom, and wipe down the shower, mirror, and toilet every morning. Set a timer for 10 minutes each weekend and assign each member of your family a task — vacuuming, dusting, straightening up. Check the owner’s manual of your car for the recommended maintenance schedule and write it on your calendar.

For more tips like these, listen to the recording Fitting Work and Life Together on the LifeWorks platform.

Free, confidential counseling for employees of AAA member organizations.

LifeWorks is your employee assistance program (EAP) and well-being resource. We’re here for you any time, 24/7, 365 days a year, with expert advice, resources, referrals to counseling, and connections to specialists including substance abuse and critical incident stress management professionals. If you could benefit from professional help to proactively address a personal or work-related concern, you can turn to LifeWorks.

  • Counseling is available at no cost to you. (Up to three sessions per issue.)
  • To meet individual needs and preferences, counseling is available face-to-face AND live by video.
  • All our counselors are experienced therapists with a minimum Master’s degree in psychology, social work, educational counseling, or other social services field.

Call LifeWorks, toll-free, 24/7, at 800-929-0068.
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