Tag: President’s Perspective Column

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

President’s Perspective January 2019

Dear Fellow AAA Members,

Happy New Year from the American Ambulance Association! We enter this new year ready to rise together as an industry to face the mobile healthcare’s challenges and opportunities.

Advocacy Update

The AAA worked hard in the 115th Congress to achieve many legislative and regulatory wins for the industry. Thanks to the AAA Board, volunteer leaders, staff and consultants, and members alike, we were able to accomplish many of our goals to improve payment policies and overall regulations that will benefit AAA members and the industry as a whole. Last year, the AAA ensured the inclusion and passage of a 5-year extension of the ambulance Medicare add-on payments through December 31, 2022 as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The AAA also successfully pushed our preferred method for data cost collection using a survey which is the most likely to provide useful data for future payment reform as well as be the least burdensome on ambulance service providers.

In coordination with particular AAA members, the AAA worked with Senator Collins to include report language to accompany the FY2019 Senate VA Appropriations bill which directs the VA to use the prudent layperson standard for determining emergency ambulance services coverage. The AAA also supported the efforts of the IAFC and NAEMT in passage of language from the SIREN Act (S. 2830, H.R. 5429) that reauthorizes the Rural EMS Grant program. These grants will now provide funds up to $200,000 for training, equipment, and personnel retention in rural areas. The grants also require a 10% contribution by the grant recipient. While the AAA had advocated that language be revised to ensure small rural for-profit providers would still be able to apply for grants, we are pleased to see this program reauthorized. We appreciate the leadership role of the IAFC and NAEMT in pushing the issue.

Looking Ahead

With the 116th Congress now in session, the AAA has ambitious plans to build on our successes this year. Following passage of the extension of the Medicare ambulance add-on payments, the AAA has successfully worked with CMS and the RAND corporation in the development of the cost collection system in order to ensure that the result is feasible for our industry. The AAA has established itself and our members as a main stakeholder throughout the cost collection development process and look forward to remaining involved this year.

The AAA is eager to introduce a larger piece of 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, and more.

The AAA is also looking at re-introducing legislation again this Congress that did not pass last year. This would include 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 and the Veterans Reimbursement for Emergency Ambulance Services Act (VREASA). Please look for an additional in-depth update on our legislative priorities in the coming weeks.

As you can see, the AAA has a busy legislative year ahead. 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)

New federal cost data collection requirements for ambulance services go into effect January 1, 2020. To help ambulance services prepare, 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. Don’t wait! An ACE subscription is the turn-key solution to prepare for ambulance cost collection. Learn more about our affordable packages today.

Stars of Life

Each year, the American Ambulance Association showcases the value of ambulance services across the country through the Stars of Life program. I look forward to seeing many of you this June in Washington D.C., as we shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare network. Stars and their guests, accompanied by executive hosts, are celebrated in a series of events in our nation’s capital. Nominate the Stars of your service today, and let’s help AAA celebrate the best in EMS! (Early Bird registration rates close March 31).

Renew Your Support of AAA

Has your organization renewed its AAA membership? Your continued support is critically important as AAA fights for fair ambulance reimbursement. Membership also include benefits such as free use of the Savvik Buying Group, complimentary CISM services, and access to industry experts on Medicare, operations, and HR.

If you have already renewed, please accept our most sincere thanks. If you have not yet submitted payment for this year’s membership, I encourage you to renew online or reach out to staff at info@ambulance.org for assistance.

AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show

After many years in Las Vegas, we are excited to take the 2019 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show to bustling Nashville, Tennessee. AAA Annual is the can’t-miss educational opportunity 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!

I am thankful to our members who dedicate their time and talent to AAA’s board, committees, and task forces. It is your commitment and passion that allows AAA to move mobile healthcare forward.

Aarron Reinert
President
American Ambulance Association

President’s Perspective October 2018

Dear Fellow AAA Members,

Aarron Reinert
President
American Ambulance Association

Since I assumed the office of president last month at our Annual Conference, I have been deeply moved by the selfless actions of ambulance services across the nation as they responded to natural disasters. As always, EMS answered the call to help with humanity, efficiency, and professionalism. My thoughts are with those impacted by the recent storms as well as the thousands of EMTs and Paramedics currently helping with Hurricane Michael recovery.

Annual Conference & Trade Show

Thanks to each of you who attended, exhibited at, or sponsored this year’s impressive Annual Conference & Trade Show. We appreciate your support and participation—it could not have been such a success without you. Once again, congratulations to our AMBY and AAA award winners! I would also like to welcome our new board members and thank those who continue to serve. At the conference, I took a few minutes to share my thoughts about the future of our association. If you missed it, you can catch up via video or essay on the AAA site.

We can’t wait to see you in Nashville next November 4-6, 2019! Please check back at www.annual.ambulance.org early next year for more attendee information.

Opioids

The AAA continues to press policy initiatives with Congress and the Administration that are important to our members. The AAA is pleased to report that language we supported on grant funding for opioid protection training for first responders has passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate and is now headed to the President’s desk. The Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act with a bipartisan vote of 98-1 in the last necessary needed action before being signed into law by the President. The impact of this legislation on the ambulance industry includes providing resources and training so that first responders and other key community sectors, including emergency medical services agencies, can appropriately protect themselves from exposure to drugs such as fentanyl, carfentanil and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs. The legislation also allows the Department of Labor to award grants to states that have been heavily impacted by the opioid crisis to assist local workforce boards and local partnerships in closing the gaps in the workforce for mental health care and substance use disorder. Silagra ED pill http://valleyofthesunpharmacy.com/silagra/

Dialysis

The AAA is also working on legislation that would restructure the additional cuts dialysis transport reimbursement that went into effect on October 1, 2018. Congress included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 an offset to go along with the extension of the add-ons that will cut reimbursement for BLS nonemergency transports to and from dialysis centers by an additional 13%. This will be on top of the existing 10% reduction. The NEATSA Act (H.R.6269) by Congressman LaHood (R-IL) and Congresswoman Sewell (D-AL) would restructure the offset so that a majority of the additional reduction would be focused on those ambulance service agencies in which 50% or more of their volume are repetitive BLS nonemergency transports. In the Senate, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) had previously agreed to drop a companion Bill. Thanks to the help of the AAA’s members in Alabama, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) just agreed to co-sponsor this legislation with Senator Cassidy. The AAA will announce the Senate Bill number as soon as it is introduced.

Veterans Affairs

The AAA has also been working on improving the timely reimbursement of emergency ambulance services by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Currently, the VA is the only major payer that does not follow the prudent layperson standard. This happens despite this standard being included in their own regulations regarding reimbursement for emergency care for veterans.

To help address this problem, Congressman Mike Coffman (CO-06) introduced H.R. 1445 the Veterans Reimbursement for Emergency Ambulance Services Act (VREASA). VREASA would clarify the prudent layperson standard and should hopefully correct the issue of improperly denied claims or delays in reimbursement.

The AAA continues to work closely with Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) to get a similar Bill introduced in the Senate during the next Congress. The AAA and representatives from Maine also met with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and her staff who helped include some critical language related to this issue in the Senate’s FY2019 MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill (S. 3024). The language can be found in the Senate’s Committee Report on that Bill. This is a crucial step in the right direction to ensure that our veterans receive the highest quality care and that ambulance service providers are adequately reimbursed in a timely manner.

The AAA’s data analyst estimates that since ambulance services are already covered services that there should be no score (cost) for this Bill. Additionally, if the Congressional Budget Office were to account for those claims that the VA is improperly denying, the estimated cost would be $270 million over ten years.

Cost Data Collection

The continues to work closely with Congress and the CMS on the creation and implementation of the new cost collection system for ambulance services. The AAA spent the last four years thinking about how CMS should collect data from ambulance service suppliers and providers, and how we can assist in helping services prepare and respond to the cost data survey. We’re developing material and resources to help ambulance service suppliers and providers prepare for being selected to provide their cost data. Though many of the finer specifics of the framework and data elements are still to be confirmed by CMS, the AAA has an in-depth and insider understanding of the anticipated process and elements.

For information on the AAA resources, please access the ambulance cost data collection webpage at www.ambulancereports.org. The AAA will announce new developments in the cost collection system via email. Although the possibility of your organization being selected to provide data is still a couple of years away, it’s important that you start preparing now.

At the AAA’s Annual Conference & Tradeshow last month in Las Vegas, CMS, through its contractor the RAND Corporation, convened a focus group where they selected several AAA members to talk directly with the contractor. The discussion centered around characteristics of ambulance services that matter for determining costs. The group also talked about how data is currently captured at the state and local levels, as well as how data is tracked within ambulance services. There was also a lot of discussion about the importance of standardizing data elements and not relying upon different state or local definitions, which could confound the data and make it impossible to compare costs across states. CMS is now reaching out to others in the industry for input. If you receive an email or a phone call from RAND Corporation, please respond. If you have questions about, or would like assistance with this project, please contact Tristan North at tnorth@ambulance.org.

SIREN Act

Lastly, the AAA is the working to ensure that the SIREN Act (S. 2830H.R. 5429) which would reauthorize the Rural EMS Grant program and makes all provider types eligible to apply for these grants.

Membership Renewal Time

Membership is the fuel that powers our advocacy engine and enables us to offer the innovative benefits your service has come to rely on. If you have already renewed, please accept our most sincere thanks for your continued support. If you have not yet submitted payment for this year’s membership, I encourage you to renew online or reach out to staff at info@ambulance.org for assistance. AAA needs your support through membership to continue our industry-advancing work.

Thank you for entrusting me to serve as the president of your association. It is my pleasure to lead such a talented cadre of dedicated healthcare professionals. I wish you a happy Halloween and a wonderful holiday season.

Aarron Reinert
President
American Ambulance Association

 

 

 

 

Message from President Reinert

Adapted from Aarron Reinert’s address at the
2018 American Ambulance Association
Membership Meeting & Awards

Dear Fellow Member:

I write today to introduce myself as the new President of the American Ambulance Association. It is my honor to serve on your behalf, and I wanted to share with you a bit about my vision for our association over these next two years.

Aarron Reinert
President
American Ambulance Association

Choices & Challenges

As I prepared to take office, I spent a lot of time thinking deeply about where we’ve come, where we are, and where we’re going. It occurs to me that the next two years will likely be about choices: We can choose to be an association that is the nation’s voice for ambulances services; or we can choose not to. We can choose to stand tall in the face of adversity; or we can choose not to. We can choose to work even harder, even when we passionately disagree with one another; or we can choose not to. And we can choose to do this hard work in concert with associations outside of our own, especially those that disagree with us. Or, here again, we can choose not to.

We have challenging work in front of us. One of the most demanding projects will be to use our voice of influence to advance the design of a cost collection system that works for all of our nation’s ambulance services, whether they are small, large, urban, rural, private for-profit, private not-for-profit, hospital-based, or fire-based. We can choose to lead our industry over the next two years and beyond by spearheading the next evolution of our reimbursement system. We can choose to do this work together, despite passionate disagreements amongst ourselves and with others. We can choose to speak with one unified voice. Fildena for sale http://www.wolfesimonmedicalassociates.com/fildena/

Leadership Principles

As I lead the association over the next two years, I aspire to emulate leaders like Stephen Covey. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he described what I like to call the Habit of Listening: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I also look to Margaret Wheatley, who described that, “Leaders do not deny that there’s a darkness. They simply choose not to live in it.” These next few years will likely have some darkness, and we can choose to wallow in it or we can choose to rise above it.

Something Maya Angelou said also resonates deeply with me: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It is my hope that during my presidency, you will all feel truly heard, as well as appreciated for the life-saving and life-sustaining work that you do, day-in and day-out.

Many Providers, One Voice

When you think about the future of our industry, I ask you to consider the mighty sequoias. Many of these trees are more than 350 feet tall or weigh in above 500 tons. Intuition would suggest that a tree of this size must have a tap root that goes down hundreds of feet. However, they don’t. The root system of these towering redwoods actually goes down only 10 or 15 feet. How can these massive trees stand up against earthquakes, winds, prolonged flooding, and other existential threats? They stand up together. The roots of these giants are actually intertwined with those of their neighboring trees. Buy Provigil (Modafinil)  http://buyprovigilsafe.com/how-to-buy-provigil-online/

If we were to push away all the dirt and examine their foundation, what we would see is something that looks very much like an army of men and women who have their arms locked together. The trees help hold each other up, help each other stand tall. They’re not only supporting one another: the sequoias are also sharing nutrients.

As I think about this story in the context of our association, I see our member ambulance services as a forest of redwoods standing tall. Together, we are leaders in our industry and leaders in our nation’s EMS system. If we can indeed link our arms together, not just within this association, but including fellow stakeholder groups, couldn’t we support one another? Couldn’t we speak with one voice? Couldn’t we heal from these past difficult years, and move mobile healthcare forward? I think we can. Together, we can accomplish great things, and make soundly the difficult choices that we face. And while there will be many who will work on forging the future of our industry, I hope that I can play a small role in leading our association these next couple of years.

Thank you for your time, thought, and support, and I look forward to two years of sustained collaboration, cooperation, and success.

Aarron Reinert
President
American Ambulance Association

Watch President Reinert’s full Annual Meeting & Awards address.

President’s Perspective: April 2018

Dear Fellow AAA Member,

Spring has sprung, and the American Ambulance Association is busier than ever working on your behalf to build the future of EMS.

The AAA is pleased to announce that since our last Response Times update, Congress has passed the 5-year extension of the Medicare ambulance add-ons. The extension included the AAA’s preferred method of cost data collection that provides flexibility to the Secretary of HHS in developing the system. Consultation with the industry is required so that it strikes the appropriate balance between obtaining meaningful data and avoiding overly burdening or onerously penalizing the ambulance services. This legislation was a true victory for the AAA and the entire industry. Learn more►

This success would not have been possible without months of effort by AAA volunteer leaders, advocacy experts, and staff, as well as support from our key champions in Congress. In particular, the AAA would like to thank Senator Debbie Stabenow for spearheading our legislation and ensuring that the Senate language prevailed. In recognition of Senator Stabenow’s support, she has been named the AAA’s 2018 Legislator of the Year. The AAA would also like to thank Senators Schumer, Roberts, Collins, Leahy, Hatch, Wyden, Thune, and many others who will be receiving AAA Legislative Recognition Awards this year. The successful passage of this legislation would not have occurred without also having strong champions in the House of Representatives. The AAA is sincerely thankful to Representative Devin Nunes (2015 Legislator of the Year Award winner) for his continued leadership in the House on this issue. The AAA also wishes to thank Representatives Sewell, Upton, Welch, Walden, Neal, Brady, Pallone, and Speaker Ryan for supporting this crucial extension of the Medicare add-on payments.
Despite this success, the AAA is not resting on its laurels. AAA Committees, staff, and consultants are taking proactive steps to ensure that the new cost data system both collects meaningful data and is not overly burdensome on providers. The AAA will continue to update members as this process moves forward. Thank you, again, for your support. We truly couldn’t have made it this far without you!

Get Involved!

In mid-May, AAA will open the nominations process for our board of directors. (Full details and criteria for participation will be posted then.) In the meantime, I encourage you to consider becoming more involved with the American Ambulance Association by joining a committee with open positions, and following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Stars of Life

I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, DC in June at Stars of Life. Stars recognizes EMS providers from across the nation who have served their communities with distinction. The Stars, accompanied by their executive-level Hosts, meet with legislators to shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare network.

I hope you will enjoy meeting the 2018 class of Stars as we share their stories and accomplishments on our website and social media.

Haven’t yet nominated a Star? It’s not too late! The deadline has been extended to this Friday, April 20. Nominate a Star►

Education

The Education Committee has been hard at work developing the program for the 2018 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show. We look forward to announcing the full agenda in June, and hope that you will join us in exciting Las Vegas September 6–8. (Yes, I said September! Our conference is two months earlier than usual this year.)

Regional & Online Education

In the meantime, why not learn from our experts at an AAA Supervisor SimLab workshop? If you’re short on time, AAA is also proud to offer a wide variety of live and on-demand webinars on human resources, reimbursement, compliance, and other topics.

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 2018!

—POST
Mark Postma
President
American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”

President’s Perspective: January 2018

Dear Fellow AAA Members,

Happy New Year from the American Ambulance Association!

This year promises to bring new challenges and opportunities for ambulance services. As your association, AAA, its experts, and the whole member community will be there to support you every step of the way.

Advocacy Update

If you’ve missed your recent member advocacy emails, you may be wondering “What is going on with the add-ons?!” I’d like to address this first and foremost.

Despite the best efforts of the American Ambulance Association and other industry stakeholders, the temporary Medicare ambulance increases expired December 31. However, please rest assured that the AAA lobbying team, volunteer leadership, and staff are working tirelessly around-the-clock to advocate for this critical EMS revenue.

The good news is that the end may be in sight. However, we must remain engaged, active, and unified as an industry to carry this effort through in the face of the today’s contentious and unpredictable political climate.

Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate are working toward a long-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  As part of these negotiations, the House and Senate are working through the details of a Medicare provider extender package. Thanks to the work of our lobbying team and countless Hill visits, phone calls and letters by dedicated AAA members and our supporters on Capitol Hill, both the House and Senate proposals include five-year extensions of the ambulance increases retroactive to January 1, 2018.

We are cautiously optimistic that Congress will include CHIP in the next Continuing Resolution (CR) on or around January 19. Depending on the outcomes of last-minute discussions, the Medicare provider extender package may be attached to the CHIP bill or moved forward separately shortly thereafter.  However, of course, Congress in 2018 is predictably unpredictable: we ask for your patience, and your continued confidence that AAA is doing everything possible on this issue.

To support this effort, AAA joined forces with other healthcare industry groups to send a letter to Congress urging them to pass the larger Medicare provider extender package. The AAA has also made the case to Congress that it must act now on the ambulance extension as ambulance service providers and suppliers are first responders and cannot afford to hold claims for prolonged periods of time. Congress must therefore move immediately to ensure that our nation’s health care safety net is not put at risk. We pointed out that submitting claims with the increases paid retroactively could result in long delays in providers and suppliers getting the additional funds, an unacceptable risk for an EMS network made up primarily of small providers. As a last resort, we have asked that if Congress cannot address a Medicare provider extender package by January 19 that they pass a short-term extension of the ambulance increases to sustain our operations.

The AAA is also working with congressional offices and committees of jurisdiction to implement a workable system for collecting cost data from ambulance service providers and suppliers and on an offset focused on reducing reimbursement just for those entities which abuse the dialysis transport benefit. The reality is that ambulance services will have to report their costs to the federal government. However, AAA will work to ensure that the system implemented is fair and does not place undue burden on ambulance services or subject ambulance services to standards and penalties that are not applied to other Medicare providers.

While we believe we may be approaching the endzone on the extender renewals, we must continue to push Congress to do what is right for EMS. Now, more than ever, we need you to add your voice to those of AAA, state-level ambulance associations, and thousands of your peers. Please take a moment today to send Congress your message of support for the Medicare ambulance add-onsit takes just two clicks. Write a letter now>

Our advocacy team will continue to provide frequent updates as we work to keep this issue at the forefront.

Stars of Life

Despite the challenges on the Hill, I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, DC in June at Stars of Life. Stars recognizes EMS providers from across the nation who have served their communities with great distinction. The Stars, accompanied by their executive-level Hosts, meet with legislators to shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare network. Nominate your Stars today, and help AAA celebrate the best in EMS! (Early bird registration rates end March 31.)

Renew Your Support of AAA

Has your organization renewed its AAA membership? Your continued support is critically important as AAA fights for fair ambulance reimbursement. Membership also include benefits such as free use of the Savvik Buying Group, complimentary CISM and EAP-based counseling for your employees, and access to industry experts on Medicare, operations, and HR.

If you have already renewed, please accept our most sincere thanks. If you have not yet submitted payment for this year’s membership, I encourage you to renew online or reach out to staff at info@ambulance.org for assistance.

AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show

The 2017 AAA Annual Conference was an overwhelming success. In addition to powerful industry-centric presentations on leadership, reimbursement, and operations, this year’s AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show featured three inspiring keynotes—Steven M.R. Covey, Mel Robbins, and Dr. Zubin “ZDoggMD” Damania. Additionally, we honored AMBY Award winners and those who responded to the tragic Route 91 shootings. Check out the photo album for AAA 2017 on our Facebook page.

I hope that you will join me and hundreds of our colleagues for networking, learning, and fun in Las Vegas at next year’s Annual event September 6–8Early bird registration is open now!

Webcasts & Regional Workshops

AAA is working hard to make it easier than ever to educate your team. Join us in 2018 for a variety of live and on-demand webcasts as well as convenient regional workshops. Upcoming webinar topics include sexual harassment, CMS low volume settlements, and cybersecurity. This year, we are also proud to host one-day workshops in each of AAA’s five regions (calendar soon to be announced).

Thank You, Members!

I would like to give special thanks to the members who dedicate their time and thought to AAA’s board, committees, and task forces. We literally could not do it without you.

It continues to be my pleasure to serve these individuals, as well as the many other talented, dedicated healthcare professionals who make up the AAA membership. We deeply appreciate your continued support, participation, and unity. Thank you!

—POST!
Mark Postma—President
American Ambulance Association
Representing EMS in America

 

President’s Perspective: October 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Members,

As I reflect on the past few months, I am awed by the dedication of ambulance services across the nation as they responded to emergencies ranging from hurricanes to wildfires to the Las Vegas MCI. As always, EMS aided their communities with humanity, efficiency, and deep-rooted professionalism. The outcomes of each of these incidents would assuredly have been far worse without the selfless service of our fellow healthcare providers.

I was privileged to see this commitment to excellence firsthand as our staff at Sunstar responded to Hurricane Maria here in Florida, assisted by hundreds of EMTs, Paramedics, and strike team leaders who drove hours or days to help. Thanks to each of you for your service in our country’s time of need.

Advocacy Update

The AAA continues working hard to ensure the Medicare add-on payments don’t expire at the end of this year. In the Senate, S. 967 would make the add-on payments permanent. In the House, two versions of a bill (H.R. 3236, H.R. 3729) would extend the payments for five years. Extensions of Medicare provider provisions, including the ambulance add-on payments, will likely be addressed closer to the end of the year.

We have seen progress already in the House on the ambulance add-ons. On September 11, the House Ways and Means Committee marked up H.R. 3729, the Comprehensive Operations, Sustainability, and Transport Act of 2017. Similar to H.R. 3236, which the AAA supports, H.R. 3729 would extend the Medicare add-on payments for five years and require ambulance service suppliers to report cost data. However, H.R. 3729 would subject suppliers to an overpayment penalty which could potentially put all Medicare payments at risk for a supplier who does not submit timely, accurate, and complete data.

H.R. 3729 also includes a 22% across-the-board cut to all ambulance providers and suppliers for non-emergency BLS transports to and from dialysis centers. The 22% cut was the figure estimated as necessary to offset the cost of the five-year extension of the add-on payments. Since then, the AAA was able to demonstrate to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that our estimate of a five-year extension of the add-ons was the more appropriate approach. As a result, AAA has received a commitment from the Ways and Means Committee to lower the amount of any cut to cover the lower estimate. However, the AAA opposes any across-the-board cut and is working with the Committee and the bill sponsors to focus on addressing fraud and abuse within the dialysis transport benefit.

The AAA is working with key congressional offices as well as industry stakeholders to make changes to H.R. 3729. We remain hopeful that we can come to a consensus on these outstanding issues.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, S. 967 is up to 12 co-sponsors with the addition of Sen. Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Boozman (R-AR), and Sen. Cassidy (R-LA). AAA encourages members to continue reaching out to their Senators to ask them to co-sponsor S. 967. The AAA will keep you updated on our progress working on extending the add-ons. Thank you for your continued support.

AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show

As we face this challenging political and regulatory climate, it is essential that ambulance leaders stay abreast of new developments and best practices in reimbursement, operations, leadership, and human resources. In addition to myriad industry experts, this year’s AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show program features three inspiring keynotes—Steven M.R. CoveyMel Robbins, and Dr. Zubin “ZDoggMD” Damania—plus a ceremony honoring AMBY Award winners for their community impact.

I hope that you will join me and hundreds of our colleagues for networking, learning, and fun in Las Vegas November 13–15. Online registration for Annual is open now.

AAA Board Election

It’s that time again! The 2017 AAA Board of Directors election is underway. This year, active members will elect Regional Directors (Regions 1–5) and new members of the Ethics Committee. Voting opened on Wednesday, October 11th, and closes at 11:59pm Eastern on Thursday, November 2nd. Best of luck to all of the candidates! (If you are the primary contact for an active member organization and did not receive your e-ballot, please contact acamas@ambulance.org.)

Renew Your Support of AAA

Has your organization yet renewed its AAA membership? Your continued support is critically important as AAA fights for fair ambulance reimbursement. Membership also include benefits such as free use of the Savvik Buying Group, complimentary CISM and EAP-based counseling for your employees, and access to industry experts on Medicare, operations, and HR.

If you have already renewed, please accept our most sincere thanks. If you have not yet submitted payment for this year’s membership, I encourage you to renew online or reach out to staff at info@ambulance.org for assistance.

Capital Campaign

Lastly, many of you are aware that during my presidency I began a Capital Campaign to raise $1,000,000 to help sustain our organization and to increase our “rainy day” fund. The funds raised by this effort can only be used in the case of a majority vote by the Board of Directors.

Today, we have raised $250,000 of the $1,000,000 goal, for which I am grateful to our member supporters. But this is not enoughwe need to be strong when a crises hits our industry and we must deploy more resources for our advocacy programs. If you have already given, I would ask that you consider another commitment to this fund. If you have not already contributed, I respectfully ask you to support your national association as it works to fight for the future of ambulance services. Thank you in advance! Contribute online now.

It continues to be my pleasure to serve so many talented, dedicated healthcare professionals. Thank you again for your service, and I look forward to seeing you at AAA Annual in Las Vegas!

—POST!
Mark Postma—President
American Ambulance Association
Representing EMS in America

President’s Perspective: July 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Member,

I am proud to share with you that just yesterday legislation was introduced in the House on a long-term extension of Medicare ambulance add-ons. The House bill follows introduction of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 967) in the Senate, giving us a bill in both houses of Congress.

The Ambulance Medicare Budget and Operations Act (H.R. 3236) would extend for five years the 2% urban, 3% rural, and super rural bonus increases. The bill would also direct CMS to collect cost data from ambulance service suppliers. The AAA has been working with Congressman Nunes (R-CA) and Upton (R-MI) as well as the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees on the bill language. You will soon receive a Call to Action to reach out to your Representatives to cosponsor the new House bill.

  1. 967 would make the add-on payments permanent and direct CMS to collect cost data from ambulance service suppliers using a survey methodology. Since its introduction, four additional Senators have signed on to co-sponsor S. 967, Senators Sanders (VT), Cochran (MS), Tester (MT) and Gillibrand (NY), bringing the total number of cosponsors to nine. While this is good progress, we need our member’s continued assistance in getting more co-sponsors on both of our bills.

While both bills meet the needs of our industry, the language in the two bills is different. That being said, it is not uncommon for the Senate bill and the House bill to have minor differences in their respective language that have to be worked out before getting final approval. When this happens, a special conference committee made up of members from both houses will work together to come to consensus about the different provisions in the bill. It is unlikely that our bills will be passed as stand-alone legislation. Instead, our provisions will likely be included in a larger bill similar to how the extenders were passed last time as a part of the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act. It is crucial that we have as many co-sponsors on both of our bills so that we can again be included on a larger piece of legislation.

The Medicare ambulance add-on payments will expire on December 31, 2017. To ensure continued access these critically-necessary extenders, we need the collective advocacy of ambulance services across the country. We ask that you please add your voice to the AAA’s by writing your Senators in support of Bill S.967. Additionally, you will soon receive a Call to Action to reach out to your Representatives to cosponsor the new House bill.

As always, the AAA Board, Government Affairs Committee, advocacy consultants, and staff are working diligently to build support on Capitol Hill to ensure that this vital revenue remains in place. If you missed our June 29 government affairs update webinar, I invite you to watch it on-demand now.

Annual Conference

The Education Committee recently finalized programming for the 2017 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show. This year, we welcome three exciting keynotes—Steven M.R. Covey, Mel Robbins, and Dr. Zubin “ZDoggMD” Damania—as well as dozens of industry leaders and experts. I hope that you will join me and hundreds of our colleagues in ambulance leadership in Las Vegas in November! Online registration is open now.

Educational Events

AAA will host its inaugural SimLab workshop in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 28. We are excited to share with members this immersive learning experience. AAA SimLab content will also be featured at the Mississippians for EMS Conference October 2–4 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Save the date for AAA’s newest educational partnership, the Midwest EMS Expo May 2–3, 2018 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Co-hosted with the Minnesota Ambulance Association and the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, the Midwest EMS Expo will bring together the best in national and regional education.

AAA is also proud to offer learning on-the-go, in the form of engaging webinars on human resources, reimbursement, compliance, and other topics. Don’t miss upcoming sessions on drug use, the OIG Safe Harbor on Cost Sharing, and the management of airborne medical emergencies.

Website

I am happy to share with you that AAA has a new URL, www.ambulance.org. This updated domain should assist us in clearly communicating our identity to the world, as well as in attracting new members not previously familiar with our organization.

Capital Campaign

To date, we have raised more than $255,000 of our $1mm Capital Campaign goal through the generous contributions of our fellow members. Our deepest thanks to all who have given. If you have not done so already, please consider donating today. Funds contributed to this campaign are managed separately from operating accounts, and can only be accessed after a full Board vote.

Stars of Life

It was a privilege to see many of you at Stars of Life in Washington in June. This year’s Stars program recognized 108 EMS providers from across the nation who have served their communities with distinction. The Stars, accompanied by their executive-level Hosts, met with their Senators and US Representatives to shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare infrastructure. Nominations for the 2018 class of Stars will open in January. We hope to meet your Stars in D.C. next year.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the AAA at 703-610-9018 or info@ambulance.org if we can be of assistance to your service.

Thank you for your service to your communities, and have a great summer.

Mark Postma
President
American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”
www.ambulance.org

President’s Perspective April 2017

Dear Fellow AAA Member,

As you know, the Medicare ambulance add-on payments are set to expire on December 31, 2017. The AAA Board, Government Affairs Committee, advocacy consultants, and staff have been working diligently to build support on Capitol Hill to ensure that this critical revenue remains in place.

As we continue to connect with policymakers in preparation for the introduction of our legislation, I ask that you pay special attention to the requests for advocacy action you receive from the AAA. Now, more than ever, we need the active participation of each member organization to ensure our collective future!

Capital Campaign and Financial Status

In addition to representing our members’ current interests in Washington, AAA strives to serve ambulance providers over the longer term. It is key that the Association build a pool of capital for use in case of an unexpected legislative or regulatory threat, or once-in-a-blue-moon strategic opportunity. For these reasons, I announced the creation of a Capital Campaign the day I assumed the office of President. Funds contributed to this campaign are managed separately from other assets, and can only be accessed after a full AAA Board vote.

To date, we have raised more than $250,000 of our $1mm goal through the generous contributions of our fellow members. My deepest thanks to all who have given. If you have not done so already, please consider donating today.

In addition to the Capital Campaign, we continue to build the overall financial strength of our association. Through close management of the budget, streamlined regional meetings, and increased membership, AAA continues to thrive. Thank you to Shawn Baird, Finance Chair, and David Tetrault, Membership Chair, and both committees for your hard work. It is paying off!

Stars of Life

I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, DC in June at Stars of Life. Stars recognizes EMS providers from across the nation who have served their communities with distinction. The Stars, accompanied by their executive-level Hosts, meet with legislators to shine a light on the importance of ambulance services to our healthcare network.

I hope you will enjoy meeting the 2017 class of Stars as we share their stories and accomplishments on our website and social media.

Education

The Education Committee has been hard at work developing the program for the 2017 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show. We look forward to announcing the full agenda in June, and hope that you will join us in exciting Las Vegas this November.

In the meantime, why not learn from our experts at an AAA Live! Workshop here at Sunstar Paramedics on May 3, or at Superior Air-Ground Ambulance in Illinois in July? If you’re short on time, AAA is also proud to offer a wide variety of engaging webinars on human resources, reimbursement, compliance, and other topics.

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 2017!

Mark Postma
President
American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”

 

President’s Perspective January 2017

Happy New Year from the American Ambulance Association. 2017 promises to bring many changes to the health care landscape, and AAA will be there with you and your ambulance service the whole way. As we launch our 2017 initiatives, I wanted to share the updates below from AAA’s board and headquarters.

Advocacy Priorities

In 2017, we will continue to work tirelessly toward our primary advocacy goal: making the CMS temporary ambulance add-on payments permanent.

This effort fits seamlessly into our longer-term payment reform plan, which includes seeking a change in our CMS status from “Supplier” of services to “Provider” of health care. We plan to back this effort with cost data obtained through a rotating, statistically valid survey of ambulance providers, rather than burdensome universal annual reporting. This Provider status would open the door for future innovations in our field, including mobile integrated health (MIH).

Our Government Affairs, Medicare Regulatory, and Payment Reform Committees, along with our paid staff and consultants, have been extremely engaged and active on these issues. To add your voice to AAA’s, please visit our advocacy page to quickly and easily contact your elected officials.

Capital Campaign

I am proud to share that the $1 million capital campaign we kicked off at the 2016 Annual Conference & Trade Show is progressing nicely, with $150,000 raised to date. These funds will be restricted, and only used after a full board vote. I ask that you consider donating as we are in uncharted waters on Capitol Hill.

Committees and Task Forces

AAA thrives on the dedication of its committee chairs, vice-chairs, and members. We have seen a recent surge in volunteerism from our active members. One of my campaign goals was to get more participation from members, what a great thing to see this happening! If you would like to be considered for committee membership, please complete AAA’s short online form.

In addition to our standing committees, we have launched three mission-critical task forces: BLS Non-Emergency, Social Media/Communications, and Small Providers. A large group of ambulance services participated in a recent Chicago meeting for the Non-Emergency task force, with another meeting planned in the Northeast in the near future.

2017 Membership Renewal

Membership is the lifeblood of AAA. Dues are the fuel that powers our advocacy engine, and enables us to offer the innovative benefits your service has come to rely on. If you have already renewed, please accept our most sincere thanks for your continued support. If you have not yet submitted payment for this year’s membership, I encourage you to renew online or reach out to staff at info@ambulance.org for assistance. Again, AAA needs your support through membership to continue our industry-advancing work.

It continues to be my pleasure to serve so many talented, dedicated healthcare professionals. Thank you for your service to your communities, and we wish you a successful and productive 2017!

Mark Postma—President
AAA
Representing EMS in America

That Special Time of Year (President’s Perspective)

That time of the year is rapidly approaching… no, not the elections, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, but the American Ambulance Association Annual Meeting—November 7 through 9.

Last year, our Annual Conference was a huge success, with a buzz in and around the meeting. That buzz was the result of energy that our members took away from each and every part of the meeting, from our keynote speakers, exhibit hall vendors, interactive educational sessions, and our newly re-launched AMBY awards.

I want to extend an invitation to our entire membership to attend this fantastic event. The take away information from the educational sessions will assist you in operating your business back at home.

The Committee Meetings that occur at the AAA meeting are a valuable opportunity to hear about a wide array of issues in our industry, but even more importantly, offer the opportunity for you to provide your valued input on strategies for our association.

If those benefits are not enough, I feel the most important benefit is the networking that occurs. Before, during, and after the sessions, you will be able to share and learn from best practices from fellow industry leaders from Coast to Coast.

I hope you are excited as I am about our upcoming meeting this November. I urge you to attend, learn, share, and take back many pearls of wisdom for your business.

I hope to see you there, and please track me down to say “Hi”!

 


Mike Hall of Nature Coast EMS is the president of the American Ambulance Association.