An article published recently by The New Yorker highlights a public health issue that has been growing every year since I started in EMS back in 1990. As a member a suburban community and an on-call Firefighter/EMT, I have watched as our community has struggled to maintain staffing levels such that we can meaningfully respond to emergencies. When I was growing up in this community, many of our fire department members worked at businesses located within our community and were owned by other community members who supported their member’s duty to respond. Additionally, many members had a spouse or other family member at home to keep an eye on the children so that they could drop everything to help their neighbor. Today, many locally owned businesses have closed and employers cannot or chose not to let their employees leave work to help others in their town. Even if employers will let their employees drop everything to respond, there are fewer people interested in volunteering for their local fire or EMS based service despite an all-time high in volunteerism in the U.S. In addition, those who operate EMS organizations with paid EMS professionals have also been struggling for many years with (more…)
Happy National Rural Health Day! Thank you to all of the ambulance service providers who work hard providing life-saving treatment in rural areas every day. In part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, the AAA sent a letter today to the Rural Caucuses in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Addressed to leadership of the caucuses, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), this in-depth letter highlights the critical work that our members do every day around the country and raises important issues affecting the industry. Issues covered in the letter include: Stabilizing the Ambulance Fee Schedule Make the add-ons permanent and build them into the base rate Use new data from the ambulance cost collection program to ensure reimbursement is adequate going forward New data should be used to assess the problems with the current ZIP-code methodology for determining rural and super-rural services Ambulance Fee Schedule Reform Proposed alternative models for rural ambulance services Encouraging Congress to look at alternative destination options for ambulance service providers Recognizing Ambulance Services as Providers of Health Care Moving non-fire-based ambulance services from suppliers to providers under Medicare The letter also highlights...
In honor of today’s National Rural Health Day, the American Ambulance Association interviewed John Eich, Director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. The transcript below was lightly edited for clarity. Amanda Riordan: Thank you for joining us today. My name is Amanda Riordan, and I am the vice president of member services for the American Ambulance Association. I’m also the administrator for the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to interview John Eich, the director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. John is an exceptional contributor to rural health in Wisconsin. He’s also a sterling advocate for the power of EMS to assist with public health in the least accessible areas of Wisconsin. I’ll ask John a couple of questions today about the recent Rural EMS Listening Sessions that he conducted in a number of areas across the state. John, thanks again for joining us. Would you mind telling me a little bit about your background and how you became the director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health? John Eich: I appreciate your inviting me to talk about some of our programs, so thank you. I took a bit of a wandering (more…)
The AAA continues to push on policy issues important to our members we are happy to provide an update on two pieces of legislation that we have been actively monitoring. Congress is proceeding with consideration of several legislative vehicles as they address key topics prior to the November elections. First Responder Opioid Grant Program The AAA is pleased to report that language we supported on grant funding for opioid protection training for first responders has passed the Senate. Based on an analysis by counsel, we believe all ambulance service agencies would be eligible to apply for the grants. In 2017, the Administration officially labeled the Opioid Crisis as a public health emergency, and in response Congress has finally taken action. On Monday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act with a bipartisan vote of 99-1. 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. $36,000,000 will be given annually for each fiscal year from 2019 through 2023. The bill also (more…)
David Tetrault Farmington, MO, USA Administrator/CEO, St. Francois County Ambulance District Director, AAA Board, Region 4 Tell us a little about yourself, please. I grew up in Jennings, Missouri, a small town in St. Louis County. I’m the baby of six kids—four brothers and a sister. I am very proud of my twin girls who just graduated from high school while simultaneously completing their associates degrees. They are now off to college to Rolla, Missouri, to finish their bachelors degrees. In addition to sharing time with my family and friends, I enjoy softball, camping, swimming, tennis, and walking. How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved? Years ago I was involved in part of the law enforcement arena called “Police Explorers”, primarily because my brother was a police officer. From there, I progressed through many different facets of law enforcement. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is that every time I was involved in an incident including a sick person or trauma, I really felt as if I would filling my calling. I could calm people and make them feel better, even when at that point I had only first responder training. I have been involved with EMS for more than 30 years now, (more…)