Tag: Oklahoma

Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) in 2020

Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA)
Tulsa/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
647 Staff | 228 Quarantined in 2020

EMSA serves over 1.1 million residents in central and northeastern Oklahoma. EMSA (Emergency Medical Services Authority) is Oklahoma’s largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care. Established in 1977, the Authority has provided ambulance service to Oklahoma residents for over 40 years. Oklahoma residents can take comfort in knowing that a diverse team of dedicated healthcare providers – including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, specially-trained medical dispatchers, and others – stand ready to respond to their emergency medical needs.

2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least, but EMSA EMTs and Paramedics have risen to the occasion to continue to deliver superior care to Oklahoma residents in new and innovative ways. Educational demonstrations have gone virtual and new emphasis on hand washing and cleanliness top the list of things our team members are discussing in our communities. Our communities have embraced and shown their love for our first responders with treats, care packages, snacks, and delivering cases of water.

40 Under 40: Amanda Jimeson (EMSA – Oklahoma City, OK)

40 Under 40 nominees were selected based on their contributions to the American Ambulance Association, their employer, state ambulance association, other professional associations, and/or the EMS profession.
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Amanda Jimeson
Deputy Chief of Patient Billing Services
EMSA
Oklahoma, OK

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LinkedIn
Nominated by: Angela McLain
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Biography:

Amanda Jimeson currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Patient Billing Services and has been a part of the EMSA team for the past seven years. Amanda has more than 15 years of experience in management of patient billing, coding, physician training, compliance, education, and documentation. In addition, Amanda is credentialed as a Certified Professional Coder, Certified Ambulance Coder, Certified Ambulance Documentation Specialist, and has received her Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK. Amanda is a member of AAPC, NAAC, and serves on the Medicare Regulatory Committee for the American Ambulance Association.
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Reason for Nomination:

Known to the EMSA team as Mandi, she was asked two years ago to step out of her comfort zone and take on Patient Billing Services for EMSA. Mandi had a proven career in coding, documentation and provider training, but not necessarily on the day to day functions of a billing office. Mandi has gone above and beyond what was expected and has help to shape the current EMSA Patient Billing Services office into a more functional hands on department. Mandi does not only manage but takes on the workload to help to keep staff ahead of production as much as possible, often leaving the office and working long nights at home just to help lessen the stress for her team. Mandi has helped to sustain a manageable retention rate for the department and has been instrumental in providing performance improvement processes throughout the department, and recently earned her green belt in Lean Six Sigma, by evaluating and improving the EMSA Patient Billing Services refund processes. It’s exciting to watch Mandi to develop each day as new issues arise. Mandi is a true mentor to her managers, staff, and leadership team.

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View all of the 2020 Mobile Healthcare 40 Under 40 Honorees

Obituary for Steve Williamson

It is with deep sadness we share the passing of beloved family man, friend, colleague, and former AAA President Steve Williamson.

H. Stephen Williamson

Obituary

H. Stephen Williamson, 68, of Hope, Arkansas, formerly of Tulsa, Oklahoma, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle passed away suddenly on November 3, 2018 at his home.

Preceded in death by his mother, Evelyn Williamson, father, Hershel Williamson, and first wife, Pat Williamson, Steve is survived by his best friend and wife Rebecca Williamson (Smith); his two adored daughters Jennifer Thomas (Jason) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Ashley Schneeberg (Matt) of Jenks, Oklahoma; his brother, Mark Williamson (Theresa) of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; and his five step children, Blake Burruss (Rachel), Krista Sands, Holly Chapman (Joel), Sarah Lyn Smith and Jay Darrin Smith. He was an exceptional grandfather to his beautiful grandchildren and step grandchildren, Asa and Will Thomas, Kate and Ava Schneeberg, Barrett Burruss, Addysion Sands, Brycelyn Wiedel, and Gabe Chapman. He is also survived by numerous cousins, nephews, a niece, and his aunt, Blanche Wilson.

H. Stephen Williamson was the president and chief executive officer of Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) since the Authority began operations in 1978, and served for over 39 years. Under Williamson’s guidance, EMSA grew into Oklahoma’s largest EMS provider and one of the country’s most effective ambulance systems, achieving the standing of top 1% of ambulance services nationwide with accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services. Due to his visionary leadership and passion for service, EMSA provided outstanding patient care, saving countless lives throughout Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and the surrounding counties. Prior to his tenure at EMSA, he served as administrator of Enid Memorial Hospital. He was a graduate of the University of Tulsa, earning a B.S. in Finance, as well as a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to his death, Steve was the Chief Financial Officer at Pafford EMS, the largest ambulance service provider in Arkansas.

Steve was a revered national leader in EMS. He held numerous national and state leadership positions including President of the American Ambulance Association, President of the Coalition of Advanced Emergency Medical Systems, Governor’s Appointee to the Oklahoma Emergency Response Systems Advisory Council, and President of the Eastern Oklahoma Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He was a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XX.

Family will receive those wishing to pay their respects at a lunch and visitation beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at Fletcher Hall (attached to the church). Services will immediately follow at 1:00 p.m. at Parish of Christ the King Catholic Church, 1520 South Rockford Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74120. Internment at Calvary Cemetery 9101 South Harvard Ave, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Steve’s honor may be made to Bishop Kelly High School, 3905 South Hudson Avenue Tulsa, OK 74135 and the Code Green Campaign, P.O. Box 15365, Spokane Valley, Washington, 99215. Code Green advocates for mental health-, PTSD-, and suicide-awareness for EMS.

Steve touched countless hearts over the course of his extraordinary life. He will be forever loved and missed by all his family, friends, and colleagues.

2017 AAA Legislative Awards

AAA Members on Capitol Hill

This week, AAA members were once again on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress. AAA Government Affairs Committee Chair, Jamie Pafford-Gresham of Pafford EMS, met with entire Congressional Arkansas delegation. While on the Hill, Jamie also met with members from Oklahoma and Mississippi. AAA Board Member, Kim Godden (Superior Air-Ground Ambulance), Payment Reform Committee Chair, Asbel Montes (Acadian Ambulance Service), and AMR VP Federal Reimbursement & Regulatory Affairs, Deb Gault were also on the Hill for meetings this week. Collectively the group met with over twenty Congressional offices this week. Thank you to all of our members for their hard work fighting for permanent Medicare relief. We appreciate you taking the time to visit Washington and meet with your representatives.

Pafford EMS CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, and Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas

Pafford EMS CEO, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas

Have you met recently with a Member of Congress? Are you interested in getting involved with the AAA’s advocacy efforts? If so, email Aidan Camas at acamas@ambulance.org!

Payment Reform Chairs Pen Op-Ed in JEMS

Ambulance payment reform is critical to the future of emergency medical services across our country. Don’t miss the op-ed in JEMS by Asbel Montes and Jimmy Johnson, chair and vice chair of AAA’s Payment Reform Committee.

Before the industry as a whole can embrace mobile integrated health, community paramedicine, and value-based purchasing, the industry must contend with standardizing cost data and submitting it to the federal government. We must also fight to ensure that payment is linked to the health care services provided and less to the act of transporting patients.

Read the full op-ed►

Ready to add your voice to the conversation? Join fellow members at AAA’s Payment Reform Town Hall at EMS Today in Salt Lake City. Learn more►

Life EMS’s Jimmy Johnson on Sustainable Reimbursement

To address the importance of the work that the payment reform committee is doing, we must consider the value of the part that small providers play in the healthcare delivery system today, and how imperative it is that we accomplish goals such as moving from Supplier to Provider status for all ambulance services in order to set the table for reimbursement that is more creative than just fee for transports. For example, 73% of all ambulance services who are credentialed by Medicare do less than 1,000 transports per year, which does not add up to sustainability for ambulances services endeavoring to adhere to best practices in providing emergency medical care.   A vast majority of those services represented in the 73% are the first line—and in many cases the only line—of emergency medical care in their communities.

—Jimmy Johnson
CEO, Life EMS
Past President, American Ambulance Association
Co-Chair, American Ambulance Association Payment Reform Committee
Enid, OK

Spotlight: Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson
President, Life Emergency Medical Services
Immediate Past President, AAA Board
Enid, OK

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Frederick, OK – a small town in the southwest. I attended college for two years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and finished my last two years at Phillips University with a degree in Business Management. Throughout college I worked at Life EMS as an EMT, and in 1972 I was offered the opportunity to purchase half of the company from the original owner. A few years later, my partner sold the second half of the company to me.

I am a OU football fan, and I love to golf and to cook. I have a wonderful supporting cast in Pam and our three sons.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people I work with. I have this never ending respect for paramedics. They’re a highly skilled creature in a fairly small arena of medicine – cardiac issues, trauma, some pediatric emergencies. They’re as good as it gets. They may start an IV between a toilet and a bathtub, or between a bed and a wall, or in a ditch at 10 degrees below zero, or at a 104 degrees, or pitch dark, just the two of them. They don’t have the ancillary departments to call in, they don’t have respiratory therapy to call in and intubate the patient, they don’t have the lab to come in and start the IV. They do it all, and in many cases they do it with family members around that are distraught, and they have to handle that as well. I have unbelievable respect for them and what they do, and they are what keeps me coming to work every day.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

Probably the challenges of reimbursement – handling reimbursement cuts and budgeting. I am responsible for 40 employees and it can be very difficult to maneuver the waters of unending financial situations that we have no control over. Also, finding good paramedics is hard. I can hire a card-carrying paramedic any day of the week, but I would be doing a disservice to the rest of my people to let someone come in who is not clinically sound and may bring the integrity of the company down.

What is your typical day like?

When I arrive at the office, the first thing I do is make the rounds with every department – wish them good morning, see how they’re doing, and answer any questions they may have. I typically sit down and chat with the medics for about 20 minutes, just to see what is going on and how they’re doing. Then I get with the supervisors and we start working through any issues that we had the day before, and anything we need to work on, any projects, and get all of our in-house meetings out of the way. No two days are ever alike – something always pops up that you have to attend to.

I’d like to schedule myself to regularly go on more ride outs with my crews. It does two things – I get to monitor how we’re doing things out there in the field and it shows my staff that I care if I’m out there on their truck with them.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

I can simply answer by saying that I probably would not still be in business had I not chosen to be involved in the American Ambulance Association. AAA has provided me with knowledge of what the environment is and how to negotiate it, and has given me the tools to manage my operation the way it should be managed. I really don’t know that I would have been able to successfully navigate the industry waters had it not been for the experiences and the exceptional mentoring that I’ve received with the AAA.


Explore AAA membership, or learn more about our advocacy for ambulance services across the country.

Spotlight: Rebecca Williamson

Rebecca Williamson
Compliance Officer, Muskogee County EMS
Medicare Regulatory Committee Co-Chair,
AAA Board & Committees
Tulsa, OK

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Muskogee, OK and currently live in Tulsa, OK. I received my nursing degree from Connors State College and my bachelor’s degree in English from Northeastern State University. I began working at Muskogee County EMS as a paramedic 24 years ago, have moved through the ranks over the years, and have held my current title of Compliance Officer for about 12 years. When I’m not doing EMS, I am the Director of Nurses at Kids’ Space, a child advocacy center in Muskogee.

I’m married to Steve Williamson, CEO/President of EMSA, and between us we have 7 children and 6 grandchildren.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It’s always a challenge. Nothing is ever the same. I enjoyed being a paramedic because it was always different and no two patients were alike. Even though I’m now in administration and I’m dealing with Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance and regulatory issues and legislation, it is still never the same between days. I never feel like I have everything figured out, so there’s always a challenge in my job.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

The EMS industry as a whole has so many challenges, but my biggest professional challenge would be making sense of some of the laws, regulations and rules that govern how we operate and how we get paid. Also, dealing with the bureaucracy and taking a simple concept, such as “we provide medical care,” and trying to get people in Congress and the legislature to understand that we’re not a supplier, but a provider. Translating all of that into simple, real-world language that everyone can understand so we can all be on the same page – that is a challenge.

What is your typical day like?

I don’t really have a typical day! I’m very fortunate that, because I travel so much and because I have to be in different places, my schedule is very flexible and I’m able to work from home a lot. But typically when I go into the office, I can tell in the first five minutes if it’s going to be one of those days that I’m not going to sit down at all, or one of those days where I’ll have blocks of time to sit down and be productive. I try to talk to the medics every morning, and I talk to our Director and do a brief overview every morning and deal with any problems that may have occurred. My day is a constant interaction with the other administrators, the staff, and the medics, and can be a lot of running around.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

I feel as though we as an organization (Muskogee County EMS) are light years ahead of so many other ambulance services because we get the information and the education that we need so easily. We can stay on the forefront of what is happening legislatively with Medicare and Medicaid regulatory issues, and we are in such a better position as a company and as a business because we have access to frontline information and top-of-the-line education. With AAA, industry experts are just a phone call or an email away. I cannot imagine trying to do my job and be effective at all without the education, the experts, and the ability to contact people who can help at a moment’s notice. I cannot imagine doing my job without having access to the AAA.

Spotlight: Jamie Pafford-Gresham

Jamie Pafford-Gresham
CEO, Pafford EMS
Co-Chair, AAA Government Affairs Committee
Hope, Arkansas, USA
Jamie’s LinkedIn

Tell us a little about Pafford EMS.

Pafford is a family business started by my parents in Magnolia, Arkansas in 1967 with just a station wagon! Some in the industry would call this a “Mom and Pop” organization, but my brothers and I now operate in four states nearly 100 ambulances with 550 employees, three helicopters, two fixed wing medical aircraft and a large billing company. We respond to 90,000 calls a year in 28 counties and parishes. Our corporate office is located in Hope, Arkansas.

Can you share with us a little about Pafford’s culture?

Communicating to our employees our philosophy and beliefs while living by the same set of rules strengthens their understanding of how important it is to us to practice what we preach.

[quote_right]Our mission statement comes from the Bible, and is very simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.[/quote_right]Our mission statement comes from the Bible, and is very simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We teach our employees to think of each patient as a family member (one you like!) and treat them with the utmost care and respect. A verse I carry with me is Luke 10:33-34.

Because we have such a large service area, I see differences in stations and states; some it seems to be more driven by the local culture of an area. Overall, our Pafford family believe in our commitment to the communities we serve.

Do you have any tips for onboarding new employees?

Hiring quality candidates with the ability to excel in the company is very important. It is the beginning of a great relationship for both employee and employer.

[quote_left]New employees attend a series of training sessions with their field training officers that reinforce our company values.[/quote_left]New employees attend a series of training sessions with their FTOs (field training officers) that reinforce our company values. Unethical behavior is not acceptable. We are in the public eye and dealing with people’s lives, and our rules reflect our policy on such things with disciplinary action outlined in writing. Training and communication of the rules and regulations of our company is key for a successful outcome.

How do you retain employees?

We value each and every employee, and realize that they make sacrifices to be in this line of work. EMS is a very stressful job, with unusual and long hours away from family for shift work. It is also con unhealthy lifestyle with the eating on the go, not to mention the pay is not what most want but is dictated by federal programs that have limited revenues. I have the utmost respect for our crews, and that is one of the reasons that people stay—they realize that they are needed and appreciated.

The long and short of it is that you have to want to be in EMS, and you have to love what you do. The reward for most is the satisfaction of good patient care and positive outcomes, which bring them back to do more good work. We provide many benefits such as a caring environment with good benefits, good pay, and up-to-date equipment with a company that cares about their well-being.

What is your typical day like?

My job duties change from day to day—I wear many hats and the overall well-being of the company rests on my shoulders. (In case you haven’t noticed, I have really broad shoulders.) I am responsible to ensure we keep the communities we serve with the best EMS possible while maintaining proper finances company-wide.

Relationships are a huge part of any successful company, and are key to every executive. I can be found meeting with elected and public officials along with hospital administrators throughout our service area, communicating goals to our managers, and assisting with the billing company’s woes when needed. My husband, Ben, also works within the company, the ambulance discussions are never-ending!

I serve on many boards and commissions along with co-chairing the American Ambulance Association’s Government Affairs Committee.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

I attended my first AAA meeting in 1984. I knew that day that there was something special about the group. The knowledge in the room, with so many diverse types helped me learn from some of the best minds in the country. I served on the board of directors for 15 years, and learned something new every meeting—still do today. To survive in this industry, you need to stay connected with change. The AAA is the way to go!

MAC Novitas March 2016 Updates to Ambulance Services

On March 4, Novitas Solutions, Medicare Administrative Contract managers for several jurisdictions, asked AAA to share the following information with ambulance services.

March 4, 2016 – Letter to Ambulance Providers | March 4, 2016 – Letter to Beneficiaries

Jurisdictions Covered By Novitas

  • The Medicare Administrative Contract (MAC) Jurisdiction L (JL), which spans Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C.;
  • The Medicare Administrative Contract (MAC) Jurisdiction H (JH), which spans Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indian Health Service (IHS) and Veterans Affairs (VA); and
  • The payment processing for the Federal Reimbursement of Emergency Health Services Furnished to Undocumented Aliens contract, as authorized under Section 1011 of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act.

EMSA Welcomes Congressman Jim Bridenstine

Long-time AAA member the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) of Oklahoma welcomed Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK, District 1) for a tour today. Thanks to Angie Lehman, EMSA’s Vice President of Financial Services and co-chair of the AAA Medicare Regulatory Committee for sharing these great photos from the visit.



As always, AAA encourages member organizations to open their doors to legislators to showcase the critical importance of prehospital care. If you give a tour or overview to a congressperson, please share your photos with us!

Tribute to Melissa Hudson, EMT, EMD, EMD-Q

HudsonA long-time member of the EMS community died on Sunday, September 6. Melissa J. Hudson, EMT, EMD, EMD-Q, won widespread respect and well-deserved recognition during her 23 years of service at the Emergency Medical Services Authority in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was 52 years old.

Melissa started her career at EMSA on June 1, 1992. As an EMT, she was a strong patient advocate and was promoted to a preceptor role. Later, Melissa uncovered her life’s calling in the communications center. Melissa had an innate skill to calm callers and manage resources in a high-volume system. Her multitasking skills and ability to keep tracks of trucks in her head were legendary. It is no exaggeration to say that Melissa answered tens of thousands of emergency calls during her career. As a communications supervisor, Melissa set very high standards for herself and her crew, yet she also displayed great patience with and compassion toward her peers. She was a loyal friend, a dependable leader and a true force to be reckoned with.

In 2010, Melissa was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She chose and was able to work full-time, almost to the end of her life, while undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Melissa was named the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technician’s Communications Specialist of the Year in 2011. In 2013, she was commended by the Tulsa City Council for helping rescue a premature infant born in the midst of a violent domestic dispute. Melissa talked the mother through the birth, persuaded an irate man at the scene not to harm the mother or child, and provided CPR instruction to a police officer who arrived at the scene just minutes after the baby’s birth. In 2014, Melissa was nominated by her peers and selected to receive the EMS industry’s most prestigious honor, the American Ambulance Association Star of Life award.

Melissa spent quality time with friends and loved ones during the last five years of her life. On November 4, 2014, Melissa and her longtime love, Pamela Kritikos, were married. The two traveled to Europe, took a cruise with dear friends, and loved spending time with their furry companions, Dexter and Tugger.

Melissa is survived by her wife, Pamela Kritikos, her sisters Cheryl Hudson and Linda Lane, brother Ed Evans, and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Verl and Esther Hudson, and her twin sister, Patricia Hudson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider a donation to a cause that was close to Melissa’s heart: ovarian cancer research, the American Cancer Society or the Tulsa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.