EMS Week Featured Service | Bell Ambulance

Bell Ambulance Milwaukee, Wisconsin Facebook | Twitter Meet Bell Ambulance Bell Ambulance was founded in 1977. We proudly serve the community in southeast Wisconsin with 8 stations, 67 ambulances and almost 400 employees. We provide care on both 911 emergencies and interfacility transports and we have providers licensed from EMT to Critical Care Paramedic. We also provide EMS support for some of the largest festivals and sporting events in the State of Wisconsin. Our EMS staff are supported by an EMD Communication Center which has been honored as an Accredited Center of Excellence by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. The Bell Ambulance COVID-19 Response The COVID 19 Pandemic only confirmed what we have always known, we have a fantastic team of EMTs and Paramedics! Our crews continue to provide the same excellent patient care while protecting themselves and their patients. While we have not seen as large an outbreak as some other areas, we have treated many patients for COVID 19. What we did not fully anticipate was the large number of patients with COVID 19 who would be unable to get to their essential appointments, such as dialysis, by their usual means. In response to the pandemic, we (more…)

40 Under 40: Nick Romenesko (Gold Cross Ambulance Service, Inc. – Menasha, WI)

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. ____ Nick Romenesko Systems Director Gold Cross Ambulance Service, Inc. Menasha, WI ____ LinkedIn Nominated by: Samantha Hilker ____ Biography: Nick is currently the Systems Director for Gold Cross Ambulance Service, Inc. Nick has 10 years of EMS experience and has proven to be a solutions-oriented systems thinker. Nick is genuine, thoughtful and puts employees at the top of his priority list. Nick is a young, promising leader in EMS. ____ Reason for Nomination: Nick has worked his way up from Paramedic to Systems Director in just six years. Even as a new Paramedic in the Gold Cross system, Nick was eager to get involved, create efficiencies, and solve problems. Nick was quick to volunteer for projects, build community partner relationships, and navigate a path for progress. Nick has been recognized as a Wisconsin Star of Life nominee and was recently awarded a Future 15 award. Nick currently serves on the PAAW Board and was recently elected Vice President of that association. ____ View all of the 2020 Mobile Healthcare 40 Under 40 Honorees

40 Under 40: Chris Anderson (Bell Ambulance, Inc. – Milwaukee, WI)

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. ____ Chris Anderson Director of Operations Bell Ambulance, Inc. Milwaukee, WI ____ LinkedIn Nominated by: Wayne Jurecki (Bell Ambulance, Inc.- Milwaukee, WI) ____ Biography: Chris has been Operations Director for Bell Ambulance since March of 2008. Chris became an EMT in 1999 and a Paramedic in 2004. Chris’s entire EMS career has been spent in Milwaukee, beginning with two years of full-time ambulance work, followed by various supervisory and management roles which led to his current position. In this capacity, Chris oversees all aspects of the operations of the company, from licensed ambulance personnel, maintenance of the fleet and facilities, to supplies, and equipment. Chris enjoys working with other EMS leaders to further the interests of this unique industry. Chris is the President of the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, having first been elected to the board in 2011, where he strives to increase the quality of EMS in Wisconsin. In 2017, Chris was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to the Wisconsin EMS Board, where he was recently elected Secretary. ____ Reason for (more…)

40 Under 40: Samantha Hilker (Hilker Project & Strategy Managment – Kaukauna, WI)

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. ____ Samantha Hilker Private Contractor/Owner Hilker Project and Strategy Management Kaukauna, WI ____ LinkedIn Nominated by: Nick Romenesko (Gold Cross Ambulance Service – Menasha, WI) ____ Biography: Sam has been involved in EMS for over 10 years serving as a Paramedic, Field Training Officer, and Staff Development Manager for Gold Cross Ambulance in Menasha, WI. At Gold Cross, Sam helped to secure the transforming complex care grant through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and helped get the organization’s community paramedic program off the ground. Gold Cross’s community paramedicine program is still active and growing today, and has made a major positive impact for patients throughout the area. After three years of success in the position of Staff Development Manager, Hilker created her own consulting firm focused on project management and strategic planning. Sam has worked for many individuals and businesses to help develop and maintain important projects. Most notably, Sam was integral in beginning a community paramedic program for the ThedaCare system. Sam has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership which she believes has (more…)

40 Under 40: Nick Eastman (Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance – Onalaska, WI)

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. ____ Nick Eastman Program Manager – Clinical Services Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance Onalaska, WI ____ Nominated by: Tom Tornstrom (Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance – La Crosse, WI) ____ Biography: Nick began his career in EMS in the year 2000 at the age of eighteen as a volunteer first responder in West Salem, Wisconsin. While volunteering, Nick was soon elected as the vice president of the association and then training officer. In 2003, Nick was awarded the West Salem EMS Person of the Year. Nick excelled in his new found passion for EMS and quickly progressed to become a Paramedic and secure work with Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance as a full-time career Paramedic. During his time at Tri-State, Nick has taken on numerous different and progressively challenging roles. From Paramedic, to Critical Care Paramedic, to Shift Supervisor and Technology Coordinator, to Operations Supervisor, and now in his current role as a Program Manager and Educator. In addition to his many accomplishments at Tri-State, Nick has strong interest in computers and technology as well as matters involving logic. (more…)

2019 AAA Award Winners Announced

The American Ambulance Association is proud to announce this year’s award winners. Awards will be presented at the AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show Membership Meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners! J. Walter Schaefer Award Dr. John Becknell The J. Walter Schaefer Award is given annually to an individual whose work in EMS has contributed positively to the advancement of the industry as a whole. Dr. John Becknell has achieved this honor for his lifelong commitment to improving the health and wellness of mobile healthcare professionals. Robert L. Forbuss Lifetime Achievement Award Dr. John Russell 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 a significant long-term impact on the association. your decades of service, commitment, and dedication to the private ambulance industry, the AAA, and its members. Dr. John Russell has achieved this through his many years of service to the AAA as a volunteer leader. President’s Award These awards are bestowed by the President to volunteer leaders who have shown commitment to the advancement of the AAA, above and beyond the call of duty. (more…)

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 (more…)

Wisconsin Office of Rural Health Interview

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…)

What I Wish I Had Known

Congratulations! You were selected for the Paramedic Supervisor position, if you accept, we’ll start the transition immediately. I remember the excitement I had when I heard those words so many years ago. The excitement that carried strongly through 2 days of celebrating with my husband, anticipating the new world I was about to be part of; making a mental list of all the mountains I couldn’t wait to move! This excitement was quickly drowned by a sinking feeling deep in my gut. It felt like running out of gas on a country highway at one in the morning and your cell phone is dead; it’s dark, there is nobody around, and you cannot phone a friend. Whether it comes right away, or later—because of the reaction of people we thought were friends or feeling overwhelmed in a new situation you were expected to handle with precision, we’ve all felt that feeling as a new leader. By sharing our stories with one another, the success and the failures, we all grow. I remember getting so much advice from those who walked the road before me, some solicited some not. The stories were sometimes shocking, often comical and always gave me perspective...

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5 Can’t-Miss EMS Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to gain information and insight on a variety of topics.  With the intimidating number of podcasts on the topic of EMS and leadership available, it can take a bit of time to find the one that’s right for you.  I have been a fan of podcasts for several years now, and while some of my favorites have dropped off over the years, I am certain there are many new favorites out there waiting to be discovered. If you’re not yet listening to podcasts, I encourage you to start exploring – here is a quick list of some of my current favorites in EMS and leadership to get you started. (* We’ve included links are iTunes, but these podcasts can be found on just about any podcast service.) Prehospital Emergency Care Podcast This is a newer podcast, and quickly landed on my subscribed list for the obvious reason; it is the official podcast for the NAEMSP. The first few episodes were recorded during the most recent NAEMSP annual meeting, in the most recent the hosts spend time interviewing authors of studies published in the PEC journal, discussing results questioning when, and how, changes should be implemented...

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Release: Midwest EMS Expo Announced!

State and National Ambulance Associations Unite to Bring Key Education to Midwestern EMS Providers Midwest EMS Expo | May 2–3, 2018 | La Crosse Center La Crosse, WI– The American Ambulance Association (AAA), Minnesota Ambulance Association (MAA), and Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) today officially announced the launch of the Midwest EMS Expo conference and trade show. This event will take place annually in La Crosse, Wisconsin beginning in May 2018, and will feature content from national- and state-level ambulance experts. “AAA is proud to partner with PAAW and MAA in the development of the Midwest EMS Expo. We look forward to bringing together the best in ambulance expertise to deliver a powerful educational experience for EMS leaders,” said American Ambulance Association President Mark Postma. The program will open on Wednesday, May 2, with key updates from the American Ambulance Association’s renowned experts on EMS reimbursement and advocacy. Highlights include a federal legislative overview by AAA President Mark Postma, as well as strategies for maximizing revenue from reimbursement gurus Asbel Montes, Brian Werfel, Brian Choate, and Scott Moore. Thursday, May 3rd’s programming was developed collaboratively by the Minnesota Ambulance Association and Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin. The day will (more…)

2015 Medicare Data Shows Evident of Crackdown on Non-Emergency Transport

2015 Medicare Payment Data Offers Evidence of Nationwide Crackdown on Non-Emergency Ground Ambulance Transportation; Impact Varies Dramatically by Medicare Administrative Contractor Every year, CMS releases data on aggregate Medicare payments for the preceding year. This file is referred to as the Physician/Supplier Procedure Master File (PSP Master File). This past month, CMS released the 2016 PSP Master File, which contains information on all Part B and DME claims processed through the Medicare Common Working File with 2015 dates of service. In September’s blog post, I discussed the results of the first year of the prior authorization demonstration project for repetitive, scheduled non-emergency ground ambulance transports. During this first year, the project was limited to three states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. The data confirms that these three states saw a dramatic reduction in Medicare’s approved payments for dialysis transports. This month, I will be discussing the national payment trends for non-emergency ground ambulance transports, and, in particular, Basic Life Support non-emergencies. In 2015, Medicare paid approximately $990 million for BLS non-emergency transports. This is 13% less than what it paid for BLS non-emergency transports in 2014 ($1.14 billion). Please note that these figures only reflect payments for the base...

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2016 AMBY Innovation in EMS: Tri-State Ambulance, Patient Transport Project

Tri-State Ambulance Awarded a 2016 AMBY for Innovation in EMS Ambulance services which provide 911 coverage frequently have patients who request service but ultimately fail to accept transportation to a hospital for further care. Depending on the service area, non-transports can be 30% or more of all requests for service. These ambulance responses can range from falls or diabetic issues, to motor vehicle crashes and anything in between. It is known that transporting a patient to an emergency department is not always the most appropriate choice for their medical care. Often, a visit or a conversation with their primary care or specialty provider may be a better option. Due to HIPAA regulations and continuity of care rules, the patient response information, when they are not transported, does not proceed further than a typical quality assurance or billing department review. This ultimately leaves the patient’s primary care provider or other specialty care provider completely unaware that their patient was cared for by another medical professional in an urgent setting. Upon investigation we found that the general public was unaware that their information from the contact with an ambulance service was not being sent to their current providers. In an electronic world, the general assumption (more…)

Spotlight: James Rattunde, 2015 Star of Life

James Rattunde Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA NR-EMT at Baraboo District Ambulance Service 2015 AAA Stars of Life Honoree Tell us a little about yourself. I have lived in Necedah, WI my entire life. I will have been married to my first wife for 39 years in August. We were blessed with twins, a daughter and a son. We also have five grandchildren ages 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2. I love the outdoors, landscaping, lawn and garden, camping (although now in a 5th wheel—not a tent), waterskiing and watersports, and helping others. How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved? When my younger brother was about 7 or 8 years old he fell down the stairs with a piece of candy in his mouth. The candy got caught in his throat and he started choking. I never forgot the look on my mother’s face as my brother turned blue and we thought surely he would die. Henry Wegner came running thru the front door of our house and—probably due to his military training—knew just what to do. Henry was able to dislodge the candy and my brother survived. By the way, the ambulance was a white 1962 (more…)