CMS Updates Cost Data Collection FAQs and Data Collection Instrument

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released printable version of the ground ambulance data collection instrument and an expanded FAQ. Both updated documents address some of the more common questions that CMS has heard over the past months, many of which the American Ambulance Association raised.  Importantly, CMS announces through the FAQs the registration process will begin December 2021. The topics covered in the FAQs include: General questions related to the rationale for collecting data, definitions, and how the information will be used and reported; Sampling and notification questions related to how ground ambulance organizations will be selected to participate in the data collection system; Data collection and reporting timelines and effort questions, which focus on the timelines for collecting and reporting the information, as well as the projected effort required; There are three new FAQs in this section about the impact of the delay due to the pandemic (the questions and answers are below) Requirement to report questions, which focus on the types of information that must be reported and responding to requests from MACs; There is a new FAQ in this section about applying for a hardship exemption (the questions and answers is below) Reporting...

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Income Disparities In Access To Critical Care Services

From Health Affairs Income Disparities In Access To Critical Care Services Genevieve P. Kanter, Andrea G. Segal, and Peter W. Groeneveld ABSTRACT The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in preventing death from the severe respiratory illness associated with COVID-19. However, the availability of ICU beds is highly variable across the US, and health care resources are generally more plentiful in wealthier communities. We examined disparities in community ICU beds by US communities’ median household income. We found a large gap in access by income: 49 percent of the lowest-income communities had no ICU beds in their communities, whereas only 3 percent of the highest-income communities had no ICU beds. Income disparities in the availability of community ICU beds were more acute in rural areas than in urban areas. Policies that facilitate hospital coordination are urgently needed to address shortages in ICU hospital bed supply to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality rates in low-income communities. Continue Reading

Ambulance Crews and In-Home Care Providers Seek Collaboration

From Home Health Care News Ambulance Crews and In-Home Care Providers Seek Collaboration—Not Competition As hospitals continue to experience overcapacity challenges due to the COVID-19 emergency, 911 ambulance crews and community paramedics have found themselves treating more patients at home. Historically, ambulance crews and community paramedics — both of which operate in the emergency medical services (EMS) space — have always provided some degree of care in the home setting. To do so, they’ve often worked alongside traditional home health and home care agencies, too. “There’s been a certain amount of care [or treatment] in the home for many years,” Hanan Cohen, paramedic and director of corporate development at Empress EMS, told Home Health Care News. “On the 911 system, it’s not at all uncommon for an EMS crew to respond to a multitude of emergencies. After assessing and, sometimes, treating the person, … they may decide not to go to the hospital.” Continue reading►

OCR Issues Guidance on Civil Rights Protections Prohibiting Race, Color, and National Origin Discrimination During COVID-19

News Release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services |  Monday, July 20, 2020 OCR Issues Guidance on Civil Rights Protections Prohibiting Race, Color, and  National Origin Discrimination During COVID-19 Yesterday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing guidance to ensure that recipients of federal financial assistance understand that they must comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in HHS-funded programs during COVID-19. This Bulletin focuses on recipients’ compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). To help ensure Title VI compliance during the COVID-19 public health emergency, recipients of federal financial assistance, including state and local agencies, hospitals, and other health care providers, should: Adopt policies to prevent and address harassment or other unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Ensure – when site selection is determined by a recipient of federal financial assistance from HHS – that Community-Based Testing Sites and Alternate Care Sites are accessible to racial and ethnic minority populations. Confirm that existing policies and procedures with respect to COVID-19 (more…)

ESO Announces Peer-Reviewed COVID-19 EMS Research

From Yahoo Finance via Cision ESO Announces Peer-Reviewed Research Describing Characteristics of COVID-19 EMS Encounters with Linked Hospital Diagnoses Key Findings from the Report Include: COVID-19 Diagnoses and Ailments: Those with COVID-19 hospital diagnoses were more likely to present with elevated heart and respiratory rate, hypoxia and fever during the EMS encounter. COVID-19 Suspicion: A COVID-19 EMS suspicion was documented for 78 percent of hospital-diagnosed COVID-19 patients. Patient Origin: EMS responses for patients with COVID-19 were more likely to originate from a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. PPE Usage: PPE usage by EMS was more frequently documented on records of patients who had hospital diagnosed COVID-19. Dispatch Complaints: While dispatch complaints for hospital-confirmed COVID-19 patients most commonly included general illness and breathing difficulties, there were also cases dispatched as falls, chest pain, and strokes. Demographic Insights: Consistent with reported in-hospital findings, African American and Hispanic patients made up a disproportionately larger number of COVID-19 diagnoses.