Tag: coronavirus

FEMA Grants for Public & Non-Profit EMS Providers

From EMS.gov on October 9, 2020

American Ambulance Association members are advised that these grants are regrettably open ONLY to public and non-profit non-hospital-based EMS providers.

FEMA Accepts New Applications for COVID-19 Assistance to Firefighters Grant

FEMA is providing an additional chance for volunteer and combination fire departments to apply for funding under this year’s Assistance to Firefighters COVID-19 Supplemental grant.

FEMA made $100 million available in funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies. This includes reimbursement for expenditures made since Jan. 1, 2020.

Volunteer and combination fire departments are eligible to apply in this round even if they had a successful application in the first round earlier this year. Departments that applied in the first round but were unsuccessful must reapply to be considered for funding in this round. Applications from the first round will not automatically carry over to this round for consideration.

FEMA will host live webinars on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 15, demonstrating the application process and walking through the questions. Access the full training schedule and information on how to login to the webinars here.

FEMA will accept applications until 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 13. More information on eligibility requirements and how to apply is available on the FEMA website.

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CMS Announces New AAP Repayment Terms

CMS Announces New Repayment Terms for Medicare Loans made to Providers during COVID-19

New recoupment terms allow providers and suppliers one additional year to start loan payments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program as required by recent action by President Trump and Congress.  This Medicare loan program allows CMS to make advance payments to providers and are typically used in emergency situations.  Under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act repayment will now begin one year from the issuance date of each provider or supplier’s accelerated or advance payment.  CMS issued $106 billion in payments to providers and suppliers in order to alleviate the financial burden healthcare providers faced while experiencing cash flow issues in the early stages of combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (PHE).

“In the throes of an unprecedented pandemic, providers and suppliers on the frontlines needed a lifeline to help keep them afloat,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  “CMS’ advanced payments were loans given to providers and suppliers to avoid having to close their doors and potentially causing a disruption in service for seniors.  While we are seeing patients return to hospitals and doctors providing care we are not yet back to normal,” she added.

CMS expanded the AAP Program on March 28, 2020 and gave these loans to healthcare providers and suppliers in order to combat the financial burden of the pandemic.  CMS successfully paid more than 22,000 Part A providers, totaling more than $98 billion in accelerated payments.  This included payments to Part A providers for Part B items and services they furnished.  In addition, more than 28,000 Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) suppliers, received advance payments totaling more than $8.5 billion.

Providers were required to make payments starting in August of this year, but with this action, repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued.  After that first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25 percent of Medicare payments otherwise owed to the provider or supplier for eleven months.  At the end of the eleven-month period, recoupment will increase to 50 percent for another six months.  If the provider or supplier is unable to repay the total amount of the AAP during this time-period (a total of 29 months), CMS will issue letters requiring repayment of any outstanding balance, subject to an interest rate of four percent.

The letter also provides guidance on how to request an Extended Repayment Schedule (ERS) for providers and suppliers who are experiencing financial hardships.  An ERS is a debt installment payment plan that allows a provider or supplier to pay debts over the course of three years, or, up to five years in the case of extreme hardship.  Providers and suppliers are encouraged to contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for information on how to request an ERS.  To allow even more flexibility in paying back the loans, the $175 billion issued in Provider Relief funds can be used towards repayment of these Medicare loans.  CMS will be communicating with each provider and supplier in the coming weeks as to the repayment terms and amounts owed as applicable for any accelerated or advance payment issued.

CMS Updates Medicare COVID-19 Snapshot

From CMS on October 2, 2020

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released our monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population. The updated data show over 1 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and over 284,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Other key findings:

  • The rate of COVID-19 cases among Medicare beneficiaries grew 30% since the August release to 1,562 cases per 100,000 beneficiaries.
  • Similarly, the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries grew 32% since the August release to 444 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries.
  • The rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations grew the most among rural beneficiaries, Hispanic beneficiaries, and Medicare-only beneficiaries (those who are not dually eligible for Medicaid).
  • Medicare Fee-for-Service (Original Medicare) spending associated with COVID-19 hospitalizations grew to $4.4 billion or just under $25,000 per hospitalization.
  • Data on discharge status and length of stay for COVID-19 hospitalizations remained similar to previously reported figures in the August release. 31% of beneficiaries went home at the end of their hospital stay and 22% died. Nearly half of the hospitalizations lasted 7 days or less while 5% lasted more than 31 days.

The updated data on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries covers the period from January 1 to August 15, 2020. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by September 11, 2020.

HHS Funding Portal Open for Tranche 3

The online portal for ambulance service providers and suppliers to submit applications for additional funding under the HHS Provider Relief Fund is now open.

Access Portal Now

Apply Soon for Funds!

While providers and suppliers have until November 6 to apply for funding, we strongly recommend that AAA members submit applications as soon as you are prepared as funding is on a first-come, first-served basis. HHS allocated a total of $20 billion for this round of funding.

Attend Today’s AAA Funding Webinar

The AAA will be hosting a webinar today, Monday, October 5, at 11:00 am (eastern), on how to apply for the funds and what information you will need in applying.

Register for the Webinar

Thank You AAA Members!

As reported by the AAA on October 1, the additional funds are a direct result of the efforts of the AAA and our members and we thank all of you who reached out to the White House or your members of Congress advocating for the funds.

 

 

 

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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COVID-19 fatalities among EMS clinicians

From EMS1
by
By Brian J. Maguire, Dr.PH, MSA, EMT-P
Barbara J. O’Neill, PhD, RN
Scot Phelps, JD, MPH, Paramedic
Paul M. Maniscalco, PhD(c), MPA, MS, EMT/P, LP
Daniel R. Gerard, MS, RN, NRP
Kathleen A. Handal, MD

The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic resonate around the world. Escalating infection and death rates are reported daily. While emergency medical services clinicians have been operating at the far forward front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic from the start, their infections, lost work time, long-term clinical manifestations and deaths have not been adequately reported or recorded [1]. In this article, we examine currently available EMS COVID-19 mortality data in order to describe the extent of EMS losses and to compare the risks for EMS clinicians to the risks for other related professions.

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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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Expanded Support for EMS Responding to Natural Disasters, COVID-19

Frontline Impact Project Expands Support for Frontline Heroes, Offers Companies a New Way to Give Amidst Historic Natural Disasters

COVID-19 response platform will now direct resources to first responders facing wildfires, hurricanes and other catastrophes   

September 15, 2020 – Frontline Impact Project is expanding its mission and will now also support heroes on the frontlines of major natural disasters including the Western wildfires and Hurricane Laura. The platform, which The KIND Foundation launched in partnership with dozens of companies in response to COVID-19, will activate its existing infrastructure to shepherd resources like meals, snacks, beverages and personal care items to first responders in need. The announcement comes after extraordinary displays of courage and sacrifice from the nation’s firefighters, paramedics and emergency volunteers.

“We started Frontline Impact Project to meet the needs of those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this work will continue, we are cognizant of the many others risking their lives to keep us safe, particularly as peak wildfire and hurricane seasons approach,” says Michael Johnston, President of The KIND Foundation. “Thanks to the generosity of more than 60 companies, we’re set up to respond in real time and help take care of America’s heroes as they take care of us.”

As part of this expansion, Frontline Impact Project has initiated partnerships with two leading disaster response nonprofits, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and Good360, to get donated items to workers across the Gulf Coast and Western United States.

“Non-profit staff and volunteers work tirelessly to serve survivors impacted by disaster. Frontline Impact Project’s commitment and efforts to supporting those serving on the frontlines of disasters across the country is a welcome addition to the disaster response community,” says Katherine Boatwright, Director of Operations, NVOAD.

Since April, Frontline Impact Project has matched more than 650 frontline institutions with companies that have products or services to donate. Available resources include food, beverages, personal care items, mental health services and virtual fitness classes. Together with its inaugural partner KIND, the project has donated nearly four million products to date.

“We were looking for a flexible and streamlined way to donate our products. Frontline Impact Project gives us the opportunity to scale our giving as the situation demands and reach a deserving audience whose needs are paramount but not always top of mind,” says Aaron Croutch, Executive Vice President, Lenny & Larry’s.

Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO of Hint, adds, “Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we support first responders and help keep them healthy and hydrated. Hint has donated water to hundreds of healthcare organizations and first responders across the country, and the Frontline Impact Project has made coordination with a number of those groups much easier.”

In addition to Lenny and Larry’s and Hint, a number of companies have signed on to support this effort, including Adrenaline Shoc Smart Energy; Belgian Boys; CLEAN Cause; Just the Cheese; Kabaki Tea; Kodiak Cakes; KIND; La Colombe; Neuro; Paunchy Elephant; RISE Brewing Co; ROWDY; Purely Elizabeth; and ZICO Coconut Water.

To submit a donation or make a request, visit www.frontlineimpact.org.

CMS | Independent Nursing Home COVID-19 Commission Findings Validate Unprecedented Federal Response

From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) received the final report from the independent Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes (Commission), which was facilitated by MITRE.  CMS also released an overview of the robust public health actions the agency has taken to date to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes. The Commission’s findings align with the actions the Trump Administration and CMS have taken to contain the spread of the virus and to safeguard nursing home residents from the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s announcement delivers on the Administration’s commitments to keeping nursing home residents safe and to transparency for the American people in the face of this unprecedented pandemic.

The Trump Administration’s effort to protect the uniquely vulnerable residents of nursing homes from COVID-19 is nothing short of unprecedented,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “In tasking a contractor to convene this independent Commission comprised of a broad range of experts and stakeholders, President Trump sought to refine our approach still further as we continue to battle the virus in the months to come. Its findings represent both an invaluable action plan for the future and a resounding vindication of our overall approach to date. We are grateful for the Commission’s important contribution.”

As the capstone to the Commission’s extensive report, tomorrow, Administrator Verma will join Vice President Mike Pence and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield, some members of the Commission, and other public health and elder care experts at the White House. The Vice President, Dr. Redfield and Administrator Verma will lead the group in a discussion regarding the Commission’s findings and general issues facing the nation’s elder care system.

Nursing homes and other shared or congregate living facilities have been severely affected by COVID-19, as these facilities often house older individuals who suffer from multiple medical conditions, making them particularly susceptible to complications from the virus. To help CMS inform immediate and future actions as well as identify opportunities for improvement, the   Commission was created to conduct an independent review and comprehensive assessments of confronting COVID-19. The Commission’s report contains best practices that emphasize and reinforce CMS strategies and initiatives to ensure nursing home residents are protected from COVID-19.

As outlined in the overview released today, the Trump Administration has already taken significant steps to implement many of the Commission’s findings. The Administration has worked to support nursing homes financially during this challenging time, distributing over $21 billion to America’s nursing homes – more than $1.5 million each on average. To ensure nursing homes had access to supplies, the Trump Administration shipped a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to more than 15,000 nursing homes across the Nation in May.

The Administration has also required facilities to report data about COVID-19 cases, deaths, and supply levels, with 99.3 percent of facilities currently reporting. CMS took action to keep COVID-19 out of nursing homes by requiring them to test staff, a requirement that was paired with the Administration’s distribution of 13,850 point-of-care testing devices to America’s nursing homes. The Administration has also deployed federal Task Force Strike Teams in six waves, in 18 states so far, to 61 facilities particularly affected by COVID-19 to share best practices and gain a deeper understanding of how the virus spreads. CMS also required states to conduct focused infection control inspections at their nursing homes; between June and July, states completed these inspections at 99.8 percent of Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes.

Additionally, since March, CMS has conducted weekly calls with nursing homes, issued over 22 guidance documents and established a National Nursing Home COVID-19 Training program focused on infection control and best practices.  CMS is also using COVID-19 data to target support to the highest risk nursing homes. In May, CMS released a new toolkit developed to aid nursing homes, Governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies who provide oversight and assistance to nursing homes.  The toolkit is a catalogue of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes as they combat COVID-19. CMS updates the toolkit on a biweekly basis.

To view the full independent Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes report, visit here:  cms.gov/files/document/covid-final-nh-commission-report.pdf

To view the Trump Administration Response to Commission findings, visit here: cms.gov/files/document/covid-independent-nursing-home-covid-19-federal-response.pdf

To view the COVID-19 Guidance and Updates for Nursing Homes during COVID-19, visit here: cms.gov/files/document/covid-guidance-and-updates-nursing-homes-during-covid-19.pdf

The full list of CMS Public Health Actions for Nursing Homes on COVID-19 to date is in the chart below.

CMS Public Health Action for Nursing Homes on COVID-19 as of September 16, 2020

February 6, 2020

CMS took action to prepare the nation’s healthcare facilities for the COVID-19 threat.

March 4, 2020

CMS issued new guidance related to the screening of entrants into nursing homes.

March 10, 2020

CMS issued guidance related to the use of PPE.

March 13, 2020

CMS issued guidance on the restriction of nonessential medical staff and all visitors except in certain limited situations.

March 23, 2020

CMS announced a suspension of routine inspections, and an exclusive focus on immediate jeopardy situations and infection control inspections.

March 30, 2020

CMS announced that hospitals, laboratories, and other entities can perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home and in other community-based settings outside of the hospital – including nursing homes.

April 2, 2020

CMS issued a call to action for nursing homes and state and local governments reinforcing infection control responsibilities and urging leaders to work closely with nursing homes on access to testing and PPE.

April 15, 2020

CMS announced the agency will nearly double payment for certain lab tests that use high-throughput technologies to rapidly diagnose large numbers of COVID-19 cases.

April 19, 2020

CMS announced it will require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 to all residents and their families, as well as directly to the CDC. On May 1, CMS published the proposed policy in an Interim Final Rule. The rule became effective on May 8.

April 30, 2020

CMS announced the formation of an independent commission by a contractor that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to COVID-19.

May 6, 2020

CMS released a memorandum to State Survey Agency directors providing more details on the new reporting requirements of the May 8, 2020, Interim Final Rule.

May 13, 2020

CMS published a new informational toolkit comprising recommendations and best practices from a variety of front line health care providers, governors’ COVID-19 task forces, associations and other organizations and experts that is intended to serve as a catalogue of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes as they combat COVID-19. Toolkit is found here: Toolkit

May 18, 2020

CMS issued guidance for state and local officials on the reopening of nursing homes.

June 1, 2020

CMS issued guidance to states on COVID-19 survey activities, CARES Act funding, enhanced enforcement for infection control deficiencies, and quality improvement activities in nursing homes. CMS also issued a letter to Governors.

June 4, 2020

CMS posted the first set of underlying COVID-19 nursing home data and results from targeted inspections conducted by the agency since March 4, 2020, linked on Nursing Home Compare.

June 19, 2020

CMS announced membership of Independent Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in nursing homes

June 23, 2020

CMS released FAQs on nursing home visitation.

June 25, 2020

CMS released a memo announcing the end of the emergency blanket waiver for the nursing home staffing data submission requirement.

July 10, 2020

CMS announced it will deploy Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) across the country to provide immediate assistance to nursing homes in hotspot areas.

July 14, 2020

HHS and CMS announced an initiative for rapid point-of-care diagnostic devices and tests in nursing homes.

July 22, 2020

CMS announced several new initiatives designed to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19, including new funding, enhanced testing and additional technical assistance and support.

August 7, 2020

HHS announced the distribution of $5 billion in Provider Relief Funds, consistent with the Administration’s announcement in late July, which will be used to protect residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities from the impact of COVID-19.

August 14, 2020

CMS released nursing home enforcement actions during pandemic.

August 24, 2020

CMS issues informational bulletin on Medicaid Reimbursement Strategies to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Facilities

August 25, 2020

CMS announced an unprecedented national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management.

August 25, 2020

CMS strengthens COVID-19 Surveillance with New Reporting and Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes, Other Providers. On Aug. 26, CMS posted guidance for the new requirements.

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Get CMS news at cms.gov/newsroom, sign up for CMS news via email and follow CMS on Twitter CMS Administrator @SeemaCMS and @CMSgov

Contact the White House About Ambulance Funding

Congressional leaders and White House senior officials remain deeply divided in negotiating an additional stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Senate Republicans unveiled a smaller, limited package of COVID-19 relief. This “skinny” bill failed in the Senate in a 52-47 vote, with all Republicans except Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky supporting it, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance.

Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans in Congress remain far from a passable stimulus package, and little progress is expected until after the 2020 election. Until then, the American Ambulance Association remains focused on ensuring ambulance service providers and suppliers have the resources they need to continue combating the coronavirus. The AAA is keeping in contact with Congressional and Administration officials as we push for expanded federal relief for the EMS industry.

Not over yet

While negotiations between Congress and the White House have stalled, there are still opportunities to advance the needs of EMS. The federal Department of Health and Human Services holds $50 billion in unappropriated stimulus dollars in its Provider Relief Fund. The AAA and our members have been doing a full-court press on the White House to allocate part of the $50 billion for ground ambulance services. We at the AAA strongly encourage you to use our platform to contact your federal elected officials and urge them to appropriate an additional $2.62 billion from the Provider Relief Fund directly to ambulance service providers and suppliers

We would like to thank the hundreds of AAA members who have already written their elected officials about the need for increased funding for EMS using our new platform which makes contacting your federal elected officials as easy as a few clicks.

Help us help you

If you have not already done so, please use our platform to contact your Members of Congress and the White House to ensure EMS voices are heard during these unprecedented times.

Contact your Elected Officials

 

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2020

Contact: HHS Press Office
202-690-6343
media@hhs.gov

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) today released two documents outlining the Trump Administration’s detailed strategy to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to the American people as quickly and reliably as possible.

The documents, developed by HHS in coordination with DoD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provide a strategic distribution overview along with an interim playbook for state, tribal, territorial, and local public health programs and their partners on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response to COVID-19 within their respective jurisdictions.

“As part of Operation Warp Speed, we have been laying the groundwork for months to distribute and administer a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it meets FDA’s gold standard,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This in-depth, round-the-clock planning work with our state and local partners and trusted community organizations, especially through CDC, will ensure that Americans can receive a safe and effective vaccine in record time.”

The strategic overview lays out four tasks necessary for the COVID-19 vaccine program:

  • Engage with state, tribal, territorial, and local partners, other stakeholders, and the public to communicate public health information around the vaccine and promote vaccine confidence and uptake.
  • Distribute vaccines immediately upon granting of Emergency Use Authorization/ Biologics License Application, using a transparently developed, phased allocation methodology and CDC has made vaccine recommendations.
  • Ensure safe administration of the vaccine and availability of administration supplies.
  • Monitor necessary data from the vaccination program through an information technology (IT) system capable of supporting and tracking distribution, administration, and other necessary data.

On August 14, CDC executed an existing contract option with McKesson Corporation to support vaccine distribution. The company also distributed the H1N1 vaccine during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-2010. The current contract with McKesson, awarded as part of a competitive bidding process in 2016, includes an option for the distribution of vaccines in the event of a pandemic.

“CDC is drawing on its years of planning and cooperation with state and local public health partners to ensure a safe, effective, and life-saving COVID-19 vaccine is ready to be distributed following FDA approval,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield. “Through the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, CDC will play a vital role in deciding, based on input from experts and stakeholders, how initial, limited vaccine doses will be allocated and distributed while reliably producing more than 100 million doses by January 2021.”

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses. Once these decisions are made, McKesson will work under CDC’s guidance, with logistical support from DoD, to ship COVID-19 vaccines to administration sites.

“The Department of Defense is using its world-class logistical expertise to plan for distributing a safe and effective vaccine at warp speed,” said General Gustave Perna. “Americans can trust that our country’s best public health and logistics experts are working together to get them vaccines safely as soon as possible.”

Download the Strategy for Distributing a COVID-19 Vaccine – PDF*

Download the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook – PDF

About Operation Warp Speed:

OWS is a partnership among components of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, engaging with private firms and other federal agencies, and coordinating among existing HHS-wide efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

About HHS & CDC:

HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. To learn more about federal support for the nationwide COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.gov.

CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

About DoD:

The Department of Defense’s enduring mission is to provide combat-credible military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our nation. The Department provides a lethal and effective Joint Force that, combined with our network of allies and partners, sustains American influence and advances shared security and prosperity.

* People using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, please contact digital@hhs.gov.

Amid Stimulus Impasse, Bipartisan Group Offers $1.5 Trillion Compromise

From the New York Times

Members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus plan to map out a recovery package they hope can push top Democrats and White House officials back to the negotiating table…

A bipartisan group of 50 centrist lawmakers plans on Tuesday to present a $1.5 trillion plan to prop up the coronavirus-ravaged economy, making a last-ditch attempt to broach a compromise in hopes of breaking a stalemate in stimulus talks before November’s elections.

The proposal faces long odds amid partisan divisions over what should be included in such a package, and members of the group — which calls itself the House Problem Solvers Caucus — concede privately that their framework stands little chance of becoming law. But the decision to offer it up publicly reflects frustration among rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties at the failure by their leaders to agree to another round of pandemic aid, and a reluctance to return home weeks before Election Day without cementing such help.

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KHN | With No Legal Guardrails for Patients, Ambulances Drive Surprise Medical Billing

This week’s Kaiser Health News piece on surprise coverage includes less than a paragraph of the information provided by AAA Executive Director Maria Bianchi and Communications Chair Rob Lawrence. AAA is deeply disappointed by the lack of balance and inadequate representation of the EMS perspective in this coverage.

Read the article

2020 Member Yearbook | Vendors & State Associations

The American Ambulance Association is creating a “yearbook” for 2020 to highlight EMS’s incredible response to the pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, civil unrest, opioids, and more. We would also love to feature our vendor members and state ambulance associations as we know you are critical to the success of mobile healthcare.

To participate, please complete the short form below!

Please submit your responses by October 31, 2020. One hardcopy book will be mailed to the primary address of each member organization in early February 2021. Organizations that do not submit data will be listed as members, but not featured. All fields are required. Please proofread carefully!

AMBULANCE SERVICE MEMBERS, please complete this form instead!

2020 Yearbook | Vendors & State Associations

  • Email of person completing this form
  • Please upload your company logo with a TRANSPARENT or WHITE background in PNG or JPG/JPEG format. Largest side should be between 200-400 pixels.
  • Please abbreviate "Emergency Medical Services" as "EMS" but spell out all other words. Please omit Inc, Corp, LLC, etc.
  • Enter a description of your organization as well as any details you would like to share about how you supported EMS during the turbulence of 2020's pandemic, fires, hurricanes, civil unrest, and more. Max 1500 characters. Please proofread for spelling, grammar, and capitalization carefully as your entry will not be edited before publication. Enter in paragraph form, not bullet dots.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

2020 Member Yearbook | Ambulance Services

Help AAA tell the story of EMS in 2020… in YOUR words and about YOUR community!

2020 has challenged every EMS provider in the country in myriad ways—pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, civil unrest, opioids, and more. Please take a moment to share with the American Ambulance Association details and photos about YOUR service for inclusion in a virtual and hardcopy yearbook that will be produced in January 2021. The yearbook will highlight the extraordinary contributions of mobile healthcare providers across the country.

Member organizations, please submit your responses by October 31, 2020. One hardcopy book will be mailed to the primary address of each member organization in early February 2021. Organizations that do not submit data will be listed as members, but not featured. All fields are required. Please proofread carefully!

2020 Yearbook | Ambulance Services

  • Email of person completing this form
  • Please upload your company logo with a TRANSPARENT or WHITE background. The largest side should be between 200-500 pixels.
  • Please abbreviate "Emergency Medical Services" as "EMS" but spell out all other words. Please omit Inc, Corp, LLC, etc. Ex: LifeMedStar EMS
  • Enter a whole number
    Please enter a number from 0 to 10000000.
  • Share with us a short description of your ambulance service. You may wish to include when you were founded, what communities you serve, the levels of care you provide, your mission/commitment to the community, how many ambulances you operate, and other similar details. Max 1200 characters (about 150 words). Please proofread for spelling, grammar, and capitalization carefully as your entry will not be edited before publication. Enter in paragraph form, not bullet dots.
  • Share briefly about your service's response to COVID-19 stresses, fires, hurricanes, civil unrest, opioids etc as well as the positive impact you had for your community in these hard times. Max 1200 characters. Please proofread for spelling, grammar, and capitalization carefully as your entry will not be edited before publication. Enter in paragraph form, not bullet dots.
  • Please enter the TOTAL number of your personnel (Employees or Volunteers) who were quarantined due to potential exposure, confirmed exposure, suspected COVID-19 status, and/or confirmed positive COVID-19 status.
  • Upload a photo of your team in action during 2020.
  • Upload a photo of your team in action during 2020.
  • Upload a photo of your team in action during 2020.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Study | Vitamin D reduces risk of ICU admission

From The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

“Of 50 patients treated with calcifediol [bloodstream-form Vitamin D], one required admission to the ICU (2%), while of 26 untreated patients, 13 required admission (50%)… Of the patients treated with calcifediol, none died, and all were discharged, without complications. The 13 patients not treated with calcifediol, who were not admitted to the ICU, were discharged. Of the 13 patients admitted to the ICU, two died and the remaining 11 were discharged.”

Read the full study> Castillo, Marta Entrenas, et al. “Effect of Calcifediol Treatment and best Available Therapy versus best Available Therapy on Intensive Care Unit Admission and Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19: A Pilot Randomized Clinical study.” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2020): 105751.

CMS Updates Medicare COVID-19 Snapshot

From CMS on September 3, 2020

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released our monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population. The updated data show over 773,000 COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and nearly 215,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Other key findings:

  • The rate of COVID-19 cases among Medicare beneficiaries grew 40% since the July release to 1,208 cases per 100,000 beneficiaries.
  • Similarly, the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries grew 33% since the July release to 338 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries.
  • Weekly counts of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reached the lowest point to date in late June and began to increase in July.
  • The rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations grew the most among disabled beneficiaries, Hispanic beneficiaries, and Medicare-only beneficiaries (those who are not dually eligible for Medicaid).
  • Medicare Fee-for-Service (Original Medicare) spending associated with COVID-19 hospitalizations grew to $3.5 billion or just over $25,000 per hospitalization.
  • Data on discharge status and length of stay for COVID-19 hospitalizations remained similar to previously reported figures in the July release. 29% of beneficiaries went home at the end of their hospital stay and 24% died. Nearly half of the hospitalizations lasted 7 days or less while 5% lasted more than 31 days.

The updated data on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries covers the period from January 1 to July 18, 2020. It is based on Medicare Fee-for-Service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter data CMS received by August 14, 2020.

For more information on the Medicare COVID-19 data, visit: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/preliminary-medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot

For an FAQ on this data release, visit: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot-faqs.pdf

Free! Food, Beverages, Personal Care for EMS

Request Food, Beverages, and/or Personal Care Items for Your Staff

 

FREE FOR THE ASKING: PRODUCTS AND SERVICES AVAILABLE TO COVID-19 FRONTLINE HEROES

Frontline Impact Project Works with Corporate Donors to Provide Food, Beverages, Personal Care Items and Mental Health Services to Frontline Heroes

NEW YORK — Amid a devastating Covid-19 resurgence, Frontline Impact Project is offering the nation’s healthcare workers and first responders access to non-PPE donations. Created by The KIND Foundation, Frontline Impact Project has become a primary vehicle through which the business community has shown support for the men and women who are keeping America’s communities healthy. The platform offers institutions a streamlined way to request and receive resources that will lift spirits and boost morale.

Hospitals are encouraged to make requests in whatever quantity they need. Requests as small as 25 items and as large as 30,000 items have been fulfilled. Typically, a hospital asks for one item per employee in one or more categories, including food, beverages, gum/mints, housing, skincare, hygiene, sanitizer, virtual fitness and mental health. Hospitals are also encouraged to make requests outside of the aforementioned categories if they have a need.  In addition to public and private hospitals of all sizes, institutions eligible for donations include assisted living facilities, nursing homes, community healthcare centers, outpatient clinics and EMS squads.

Norman Stein, Chief Development Officer and Senior Vice President, Boston Medical Center, says, “It is of vital importance we provide our frontline caregivers with nourishment as they work tirelessly to care for our patients and community, and the donation from Frontline Impact Project has certainly helped us stay committed to that goal.”

Sean Gibson, Manager, Duke University Hospital’s Trauma Center, echoed Stein’s sentiment saying, “We are grateful for Frontline Impact Project’s support of our healthcare community. We need everyone’s help to overcome this global health crisis, and donations such as this make a notable difference for our workers on the front lines.”

At www.frontlineimpact.org, representatives from frontline institutions can submit requests for resources along with a reference to validate the institution’s legitimacy. After a request has been submitted, Frontline Impact Project matches the requester with a corporate donor(s). The donor(s) then work to deliver the product and/or service directly. While not every request is fulfilled, Frontline Impact Project does all it can to ensure needs are met.

To date, nearly 60 corporate partners, including KIND, Unilever, Extra Gum, Nestlé, Keurig Dr Pepper, Justin’s, Hint, Harry’s, RISE Brewing Co., Headspace and Image Skincare, have donated more than 3.6 million products. The platform has made 537 matches across 41 states.

“We are prepared to support the needs of frontline healthcare workers and first responders no matter how long it takes for this crisis to pass,” says Michael Johnston, President of The KIND Foundation. “Frontline workers’ needs will inevitably change in the days and weeks to come. Our intention is to recruit diverse partners now so that we are poised to meet new and unexpected needs later.”

Visit the Frontline Impact Project website for more information. Direct questions to Jonathan Yates at jyates@lubetzky.org.

The situation

COVID-19 is one of the greatest humanitarian, health and economic crises of our time, and its impacts continue to be felt every day. Back in the spring, as the severity of the virus became known, The KIND Foundation (in consultation with Project N95) created Frontline Impact Project (FIP) to support those risking their lives to keep us safe. FIP matches healthcare workers and first responders with donated products and services. Three months later, we remain focused on helping frontline heroes who are working extraordinary hours in taxing circumstances. With support from more than 50 partners, including KIND, Unilever, Extra Gum, Nestlé, Keurig Dr Pepper, Justin’s, Hint, Harry’s, Headspace and Image Skincare, we hope to ease their stress and bring levity to their days. To date, FIP has generated 425 matches across 40 states and, together with its inaugural partner KIND, donated more than 2.5 million products. In the words of one beneficiary, “There is a big smile beneath my mask.”

While we’re proud of our impact, there is a lot of work ahead, especially as COVID ravages new parts of the country. According to a recent survey of frontline institutions, 100% of respondents said that their workers still have many needs beyond PPE. For example:

  • The volunteers at a Boston clinic, who are so busy treating homeless COVID+ patients that they barely have time to eat;
  • The ER nurse whose face is breaking out and indented due to a tight N95 mask, and whose hands are chapped from constant washing.
  • The ICU workers who are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and psychological trauma which, if left untreated, can result in chronic burnout among other things.

Of those surveyed, more than half said that they need food and beverages, and one-in-five said that personal care and wellness products would be beneficial. Other commonly cited needs included disinfectant/sanitizer; mental health support; and housing/transportation. We are committed to providing these items and more for the duration of the crisis.

How it works

  • Through FIP’s website, frontline institutions submit requests for resources. Submitters provide a reference for vetting to ensure the institution’s legitimacy. Departments or units within a larger institution are encouraged to work with their internal procurement team before submitting so that FIP can efficiently fulfill requests and help as many people as possible;
  • The system matches requesting institutions with relevant donors, and the donors subsequently deliver the products or services directly;
  • To ensure ample supply, FIP continually recruits corporate partners to donate non-PPE items.

 

Why it works

  • Times of great uncertainty call for maximum responsiveness. FIP is able to pivot quickly based on needs expressed directly from the frontlines. The platform is built to deliver resources to a range of institutions – from major hospital systems to volunteer EMS squads. Its customized approach guarantees that small institutions are not overlooked and those located in hot spots are prioritized.
  • On the demand side, FIP centralizes resources to create efficiencies and prevents institutions from being overwhelmed by individual corporate outreach.
  • On the supply side, FIP provides a solution for companies seeking a streamlined and flexible way to direct resources. Partners have access to a diverse network of institutions and assurance that their donations will be received by legitimate institutions in need.