Tag: Sunstar/Paramedics Plus

2019 AMBY Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2019 AMBY Awards. The AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize  mobile healthcare. The mission of the awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the ambulance industry by fostering a culture of collaboration, cooperation, and a passion for excellence in patient care. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Conference & Trade Show Awards Reception on November 5 in Nashville. Please join us in congratulating our 2019 winners!

Clinical Outcome Program

Medic Ambulance Service Inc.
CPR Initiative

Community Impact Program

Advanced Medical Transport
CPR Race to the Top

American Medical Response (Manchester/Nashua, NH)
Safe Station Project

Sunstar Paramedics
Health & Safety Fair

Employee Programs

American Medical Response (Buffalo, NY)
Recruitment/Training Program

Northstar EMS, Inc
Medical Director Engagement Through Technology

Public Relations Campaign

Acadian Ambulance Service
Hometown Hero Initiative

Mecklenburg EMS Agency
Bystander CPR Initiative With Pulsepoint

Once again, join us in celebrating the 2019 winners! Learn more about the AMBYs.

Empress Ambulance Service, PatientCare Logistics Solutions Team to Deliver Critical Ambulance and Healthcare Logistics Services in Greater New York  

Media contact: Stephen Brown, Cookerly PR 404-419-9224 stephen@cookerly.com

Empress Ambulance Service, PatientCare Logistics Solutions Team to Deliver Critical Ambulance and Healthcare Logistics Services in Greater New York  

 Leading EMS provider in the Tri-State Region to leverage PatientCare’s nationwide scale and resources to extend customer service tradition more than three decades strong  

Tyler, Texas and Yonkers, New York (April 18, 2019) PatientCare Logistics Solutions (PatientCare), a leading provider of ground-based 911 emergency ambulance and other critical healthcare logistics services, has teamed with Empress Ambulance Service (Empress) in Yonkers, NY, to further support the growing needs of the Tri-State Region.

Empress provides emergency and non-emergency ambulance services with advanced life support (ALS) and basic life support (BLS) services to municipalities and hospital systems across New York’s Westchester County. Additionally, Empress operates significant ambulance services in the Bronx and Manhattan boroughs, giving the organization a strong overall footprint in Greater New York.

Empress, owned and operated for more than 30 years by the Minerva family, is managed today by brothers Mike, Dan and Matt Minerva, as well as long-time colleague Jim O’Connor. These experienced ambulance industry operators will continue to serve their established communities on a full-time basis with Empress and will leverage additional capital and technology resources available through PatientCare to expand critical ambulance services and mobile healthcare programs throughout its service area.

“We have worked very hard over many years to expand our services and infrastructure to best serve our patients,” said Empress President Mike Minerva. “In partnering with PatientCare, we are embarking on the natural next phase of our journey to become an even stronger leader in not only our existing geographies, but also in adjacent regions. Empress will continue to attract the best and brightest EMS providers, and we will use advanced technology and data to support our healthcare delivery solutions to our partner hospitals and communities.”

PatientCare plans to support Empress with best-in-class technology and resources to enhance financial back office, human resources and other critical functions. Empress, which will continue to go to market under its current brand and operate from its Yonkers location, represents more than 500 employees who transport approximately 125,000 patients per year.

“We recognize the high-quality service that Empress provides to its clients, and we are thrilled to partner with such a well-established, successful operator in the attractive Tri-State market,” said Herman Schwarz, CEO of PatientCare. “A key component of our growth plan is to partner with healthcare logistics providers like Empress which offer diverse, high-quality services to their communities and can serve as a regional foundation for future growth. We look forward to working closely with the Minerva family to advance the Empress reach and to further develop hyper-regional and national healthcare logistics platforms.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano applauded the partnership: “Yonkers is the fourth largest city in New York State, and our residents demand exceptional medical care. Empress has been a trusted partner to our city for many years. I would like to congratulate the Minerva Family, the dedicated employees of Empress and PatientCare on this new partnership. I am confident the residents of Yonkers will continue to receive the highest level of 911 ambulance service in the region.”

Empress represents a significant expansion of PatientCare’s portfolio of EMS operations in a variety of geographies, from Florida’s most densely populated county to growing Midwest cities.

About PatientCare Logistics Solutions

PatientCare Logistics Solutions is a leading provider of ground-based 911 emergency ambulance services and other critical healthcare logistics solutions. Headquartered in Tyler, Texas, the company operates growing partnerships with representative customers in Florida, Texas, Indiana, California, South Dakota, Mississippi and New York. PatientCare is responsible for transporting more than 350,000 patients annually and is committed to providing compassionate quality care and service built around the needs of the patients and communities in which it serves.

About Empress EMS

Since its inception in 1985, Empress has made a firm commitment to the development of emergency medical services and quality after care transportation in New York State. Empress has concentrated its efforts towards providing state-of-the-art patient care in a personal and compassionate manner. A personal approach to doing business has proven to be successful as evidenced by a reputation that is unparalleled in the region. Empress is based in the City of Yonkers, New York and provides 911 emergency medical response to Yonkers with additional mutual aid response to neighboring communities. Additionally, Empress has emergency and non-emergency response contracts throughout Westchester County with districts, hospitals, correctional institutions and private care facilities.

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2018 AMBY Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 AMBY Awards. The AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize AAA members. The mission of the awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the ambulance industry by fostering a culture of collaboration, cooperation and a passion for excellence in patient care. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Conference & Trade Show Awards Reception on September 7, 2018. Please join us in congratulating our 2018 winners!

Clinical Outcome Program

Medic Ambulance Service, Inc. | Vallejo, CA

Community Impact Program

NorthStar EMS, Inc. | Tuscaloosa, AL

Employee Programs

Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. | Bakersfield, CA

Innovation in EMS

Priority Ambulance | Knoxville, TN

Mercy Ambulance Service, Inc. | Savannah, GA

Public Relations Campaign

MEDIC EMS Agency | Charlotte, NC

Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. | Bakersfield, CA

Quality Improvement Program

Sunstar Paramedics | Largo, FL

Patient and Employee Safety Program

Priority Ambulance | Knoxville, TN

Once again, join us in celebrating the 2018 winners! Learn more about the AMBYs.


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►


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!

Mark Postma
American Ambulance Association
“Representing EMS in America”

2017 AMBY Winner: Sunstar Paramedic

Sunstar Paramedics Named 2017 AMBY Award Winner

Contact: Jessica Marvin
Telephone: 703-610-9018
Email: jmarvin@ambulance.org

Washington, DC– McLean, VA — The American Ambulance Association (AAA) has named Sunstar Paramedics a recipient of the 2017 AMBY Award in the Public Relations Campaign category. Each year, the AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize AAA members.

Sunstar Paramedics is being recognized with an AMBY Award in recognition of their process improvement program for new hires. The program identified the need to streamline the pre-hire process, improve the quality of training of the new EMTs and Paramedics, and provide the Field Training Officers (FTO) with more leadership skills and abilities.

Representatives from Sunstar Paramedics will receive their AMBY at the AAA Awards Reception during the 2017 Annual Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas.

The mission of the AMBY Awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the ambulance industry by fostering a culture of collaboration, cooperation and a passion for excellence in patient care. For additional information about the AMBY Awards or how to submit a nomination for next year, visit https://ambulance.org/amby-awards/


About the American Ambulance Association
Founded in 1979, the AAA represents hundreds of ambulance services across the United States that participate in emergency and non-emergency care and medical transportation. The Association serves as a voice and clearinghouse for ambulance services, and views pre-hospital care not only as a public service, but also as an essential part of the total public health care system.

AAA Mission Statement
The mission of the American Ambulance Association is to promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve.

American Ambulance Association Announces 2017 AMBY Award Winners

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2017 AMBY Awards. The AMBYs highlight excellence in EMS and the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that epitomize AAA members. The mission of the awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the ambulance industry by fostering a culture of collaboration, cooperation and a passion for excellence in patient care. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Conference & Trade Show Awards Reception on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Please join us in congratulating our 2017 winners!

Community Impact Program

NorthStar EMS, Inc.
St. Charles County Ambulance District

Employee Programs

MEDIC EMS Agency (North Carolina)

Quality Improvement Programs

MEDIC EMS Agency (North Carolina)

Public Relations Campaign

Medic Ambulance Service, Inc. (California)
Sunstar Paramedics

Other Programs

Porter EMS

Learn more about the AMBYs.

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!

Mark Postma—President
American Ambulance Association
Representing EMS in America

Spotlight: Mark Postma

Mark Postma
Vice President, Paramedics Plus
President-Elect, AAA Board
Chair, Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS)
Largo, Florida, USA

Can you please tell us a little about yourself? How did you come to work in EMS?

I grew up in a small town outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and obtained my EMT license at age 16. I became a paramedic in 1984 and began working in Davenport, Iowa at MEDIC EMS. After working there for 20 years and becoming Executive Director, I began at SUNSTAR Paramedics in 2004. I am the COO for SUNSTAR and Vice President of Paramedics Plus operations (Sioux Falls, Fort Wayne, and Oakland).

I have been married 31 years to my great wife, Lisa. I have two children: Delaney, a registered nurse at Florida Hospital in Orlando; and my son, Parker, a sophomore at the University of Florida. My hobbies are basketball, boating, and IndyCar Racing.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It is very diverse. As the Vice President, I really oversee daily operations and have great people who work for me. They are local and report out how things are going, daily achievements and challenges.

Paramedics Plus/ETMC is a great organization and is focused on providing great care over financial constraints. I work for a great boss, Ron Schwartz, who fully understands the industry and its daily challenges. We are both from the Midwest and work together on issues.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

Sometimes it is just a challenge wearing my CAAS Chairman hat, AAA hat, SUNSTAR hat and Paramedics Plus hat. Everyday you have to decide which issues need to be the priority. Just glad I own an iPad and have a great staff!

What is your typical day like?

I wake up at 0500 eveyday and read emails and try to read at least 2 newspapers. After that, I run 2-5 miles depending on my schedule. The only days I take off are travel days.

After getting to work or on an airplane, it is interacting with staff until our daily PULSE meetings. Most afternoons are teleconferences from all of our operations or AAA meetings.

I go to lunch with my staff every day whether I am in Pinellas or one of the other operations. Evenings are usually laid back, but the weekends are boating and basketball. I am usually in bed at 9:00 pm!

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

I have been very involved with the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) as the representative for the AAA for the past 20 years. I am currently the Chairman of the Board and have enjoyed the AAA/CAAS relationship.

Transitioning to the AAA President will have its challenges as it is a huge responsibility. The AAA represents EMS in America, and I would like to see members embrace our organization as the “”go to”” organizations for challenges in our industry.

The AAA membership and advocacy is immeasurable in how it helps our organization every day!

Spotlight: John Peterson

John Peterson
Chief Administrative Officer
Sunstar/Paramedics Plus
Largo, FL

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. I attended college in Chicago where I met my wife, Sarah. She is also a native Minnesotan. In 2003 we made the move to Florida for warmer weather. We enjoy Florida living, including kayaking and spending time at the beach. We are avid NFL football fans and are season ticket holders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, our Minnesota Vikings purple pride still remains. One thing that some people don’t know about me is that besides being a paramedic, I am also a board certified Occupational Therapist.

How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?

My first experience in EMS came when I injured my back playing football in high school. This became my first ambulance ride and was an experience I’ll never forget. After graduating from college I had a friend who was working for a private ambulance service. He told me that the company he worked for was paying for people to go to EMT school and then providing them with full time employment. I jumped at this opportunity and never looked back. I fell in love with EMS and became a paramedic as soon as I could after EMT school. I worked as a paid on-call firefighter/EMT and as a paramedic/firefighter in Illinois before moving to Florida. I have gradually worked my way up through the ranks at Paramedics Plus and now have the opportunity to be the CAO for Sunstar.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is the chance to make a positive change that improves the work life for our employees and provides the highest possible quality of service to our community.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

I think my biggest professional challenge currently is recruitment and retention of paramedics. The EMS industry appears to be seeing a reduction in interest from younger people in the workforce. This is at least in part due to wages and work schedules that struggle to compete with other healthcare industries.

What is your typical day like?

My typical day starts with 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. Once at the office, I try to get through as many emails as I can before the meetings of the day start. I spend a lot of time leading and attending meetings as we work to improve efficiency and provide the highest quality of service possible. The email and phone communications last all day. It’s hard to ignore those smart phones.

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

One of the things I appreciate most about the AAA is the opportunity for EMS organizations from around the country to work together on projects that have positive industry-wide impact. It think is important that the AAA promotes a one team, one mission approach that puts aside agency competition for the betterment of the industry as a whole. The annual conference provides excellent educational and networking benefits and the daily digest emails help keep me informed of what is happening in the industry. I am looking forward to furthering my involvement with the AAA.

2015 AAA Award Winners Announced

Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference and Tradeshow Awards Reception on Monday, November 2, 2015. Please join us in congratulating the winners.

J. Walter Schaefer Award

Ron Thackery, American Medical Response

The J. Walter Schaefer Award is given to someone who has positively advanced the industry as a whole. Ron exemplifies this through his tireless efforts to improve the safety of employees and patients, including work on compliance, OSHA, vehicle safety, proper use of personal protective equipment, and ambulance standards.

Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award

Jerry Zapolnik, Formerly of Huron Valley Ambulance

The Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of the first Executive Director of the American Ambulance Association. It recognizes a volunteer leader who has made tremendous long-term impact on the association. Over the course of Jerry’s volunteer tenure with the AAA, he has chaired numerous committees including Education and Data. Most recently, he sat on the AAA Board of Directors as a Region III representative.

President’s Award

Russell Honeycutt, Central EMS

This award is given by the President to an individual volunteer leader who has shown commitment to the advancement of the AAA above and beyond the call of duty. Russell’s work on membership recruitment and outreach in 2015 perfectly exemplifies a volunteer leader championing the great work of the association to both current and prospective members.

Distinguished Service Award

J.D. Fuiten, Metro West Ambulance

This is only the second time that the association has given a distinguished service award. J.D. has given innumerable volunteer hours to the AAA. His financial support of AAA programs and events has no equal, and his outreach to his Members of Congress has helped the AAA gain temporary Medicare relief for the industry.

Partner of the Year Award

National Rural Health Association

The National Rural Health Association is receiving the Partner of the Year Award for its ongoing support of both temporary and permanent Medicare Relief for ambulance services, including Senate 377 and House 745.

AMBY Awards

Industry and Stakeholder Education

WinnerMedStar Mobile Healthcare – MIH Book and Education

Public Relations

WinnerSunstar/Paramedics Plus – Stay Alert-Stay Alive

Employee Program

WinnerMuskogee County EMS – COACHES Team
Honorable MentionAMR – LODD Program


WinnerAMR – Tuberculosis Program
Honorable MentionMetro West – Just Culture Program

Community Impact

WinnerLifeNet Inc. – Hannah’s Light
Honorable MentionProEMS – Overdose Sentinel Program

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