News & Updates

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  • 13 May 2021 4:17 PM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2021

    Media Contact:

    Jenny Abercrombie
    jabercrombie@firstwatch.net
    951.440.6848

    FirstWatch and the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) Partner to Fund the Jack Stout Archive at The National EMS Museum

    Online Collection will Showcase the Late EMS Visionary’s Legacy

    Carlsbad, Calif.—FirstWatch, a technology and quality improvement company serving public safety and healthcare organizations, has partnered with the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration to preserve the written legacy of the late EMS visionary Jack Stout. The partnership will fund an online archive hosted by The National EMS Museum, making more than 100 of Stout’s articles and essays available to the public. Many of them appeared in JEMS, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, beginning with his pivotal series introducing the concepts of high-performance EMS in the May 1980 edition.

    As EMS Week approaches with the theme of, “This is EMS: Caring for our Communities,”

    Keith Griffiths, the founding editor of JEMS and now a partner with the RedFlash Group, noted that

    Stout is known for creating efficiency in EMS systems. However, his philosophy was very much about doing what was best for the patient and their community, according to their priorities and policies.  Griffiths worked with Stout on dozens of his articles and columns. “He was a brilliant communicator and storyteller,” he said, “taking abstract concepts and making them come alive with clear, down-to-earth prose that still resonates today.”

    Known as the “Father of High-Performance EMS and System Status Management,” Stout developed his concepts in the 1970s to improve EMS systems by making them more efficient and focused on patient care. An economist by trade, he found that applying the science, concepts, and economics used in manufacturing provided the framework for standing up high-quality EMS systems that could afford to provide effective and reliable prehospital care.

    Stout’s son, FirstWatch Founder and President, Todd Stout, has granted The National EMS Museum the rights to provide access to all of his father’s articles in a format that’s fully searchable. “Teaming up with AIMHI was the natural and obvious choice to enable The National EMS Museum to ensure my father’s work, which is still so timely today, is available for future generations to learn from,” he said. “We appreciate that JEMS provided a good home for his ideas for more than a decade.”

    The National EMS Museum will digitally transcribe and catalog the documents as part of itsdigital library and research archives—part of the virtual museum program created and maintained by volunteers. Many of the articles are already available in the museum’s online Jack Stout Archive. Additional material will be added in future months.

    “We’re delighted to preserve and share these historical and transformative articles,” said Kristy Van Hoven, the museum’s director.

    “AIMHI is proud to partner with FirstWatch to contribute to the creation of the Jack Stout rchive,” said Chip Decker, president of AIMHI and CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “His legacy lives on as many of our member organizations were formed around the high-performance principles and practices of Jack’s work—which is increasingly valuable in today’s economically-challenged EMS landscape.”

    The principles established by Stout led to the creation (by him, Jay Fitch, and others) of nationally recognized and award-winning high-performance EMS systems including the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) in Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) in Richmond, Virginia; Metropolitan EMS (MEMS) in Little Rock, Arkansas; the Regional EMS Authority (REMSA) in Reno, Nevada; the EMS Authority (EMSA) in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; the Sunstar system in Pinellas County, Florida; and MEDIC in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

    On June 24, FirstWatch will host a special edition of Conversations That Matter—a series of thought-provoking discussions in EMS—to answer the question, “Who Was Jack and Why Do His Ideas Still Resonate?” Facilitators Mike Taigman and Rob Lawrence will be joined by Kristy Van Hoven, Todd Stout, Keith Griffiths, and Jon Washko, a “Stoutian” disciple and highly respected consultant and EMS system expert, to explore why Stout’s ideas remain critically relevant for today’s EMS leader and key to the design of EMS systems of the future. Register for the session now here.  

    ###

    About FirstWatch

    FirstWatch helps public safety and healthcare professionals serve their communities through the use of technology and the science of quality improvement. Drawing on deep experience in emergency services, the FirstWatch team develops software and personalized solutions to help organizations continuously improve at what they do. Founded in 1998, and based in Carlsbad, Calif., FirstWatch has partnered with more than 500 communities across North America to improve outcomes, efficiency, safety, and operations. Learn more at: https://firstwatch.net.

    About the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI)

    The Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) represents high performance emergency medical and mobile healthcare providers in the U.S. and abroad. AIMHI, formerly known as the Coalition of Advanced Emergency Medical Services (CAEMS), changed its name in March 2015 to better reflect its members’ dedication to promoting high performance ambulance and mobile integrated healthcare systems working diligently to performance and technological advancements. Member organizations are high performance systems that employ business practices from both the public and private sectors. By combining industry innovation with close government oversight, AIMHI affiliates are able to offer unsurpassed service excellence and cost efficiency. Learn more at: http://aimhi.mobi/.

    About The National EMS Museum

    The National EMS Museum is dedicated to preserving and commemorating the history of EMS in the U.S. By collecting historic equipment, books, articles and tools of the trade, the museum showcases how EMS has developed over the last 150 years. Through the study of the past, the museum strives to inspire EMS practitioners and leaders of today to develop new tools and procedures to provide better and more effective emergency care to patients and communities. Learn more at: https://emsmuseum.org/.


  • 6 May 2021 10:40 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    From Matt Zavadsky

    For those who may not have heard yet, today, CMS released the waiver on Medicare treatment-in-place for ground ambulance services for the Public Health Emergency.

    Several EMS Association leaders were invited to meet with CMS today as they announced the waiver.

    This provides reimbursement to ambulance services for 911 responses to patients who are not brought to local hospitals due to a community-wide protocol designed to preserve health system capacity.

    Typically, ambulance agencies are only reimbursed if they transport a patient to an emergency room.

    Highlights of the waiver include:

    • Medicare reimbursement for patients treated in place due to a community-wide EMS protocol.
    • For dates of service starting March 1, 2020 and lasting through the end of calendar year in which the PHE ends.
    • Can be billed through May 5, 2022.
    • ALS and BLS base reimbursement eligible, depending on level of service provided.
    • Does not require the use of telemedicine.

    This waiver recognizes the value of the critical role EMS professionals play in the healthcare system.

    THANK YOU to the members and leadership of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, American Ambulance Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs and International Association of Fire Fighters who collaborated to get this important legislation passed.

    Thanks also to the Members of Congress for voting for this waiver, and the staff at CMS who have been very supportive of this initiative.

    https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-waiver-medicare-ground-ambulance-services-treatment-place.pdf



  • 4 May 2021 10:24 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    ABC Source | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky


    Very well done by ABC News!
  • 30 Apr 2021 9:28 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    NYT Source Article | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

    A GREAT, but troubling article in the NYT about the plight of rural EMS agencies.  Excellent reporting and insight!

    This is why organizations like NAEMT, the American Ambulance Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters, are working together on federal initiatives to help fund rural EMS systems, such as the SIREN Act and reimbursement for Treatment in Place (TIP).

    If you are not part of these efforts, consider lending your support!

    -------------------

    Rural Ambulance Crews Have Run Out of Money and Volunteers

    Strained by pandemic-era budget cuts, stress and a lack of revenue, at least 10 ambulance companies in Wyoming are in danger of shuttering — some imminently.

    By Ali Watkins

    April 29, 2021

    WORLAND, Wyo. — For three years, Luke Sypherd has run the small volunteer ambulance crew that services Washakie County, Wyo., caring for the county’s 7,800 residents and, when necessary, transporting them 162 miles north to the nearest major trauma center, in Billings, Mont.

    In May, though, the volunteer Washakie County Ambulance Service will be no more.

    “It’s just steadily going downhill,” Mr. Sypherd said. The work is hard, demanding and almost entirely volunteer-based, and the meager revenue from bringing patients in small cities like Worland to medical centers was steeply eroded during much of 2020 when all but the sickest coronavirus patients avoided hospitals.

    Washakie County’s conundrum is reflective of a troubling trend in Wyoming and states like it: The ambulance crews that service much of rural America have run out of money and volunteers, a crisis exacerbated by the demands of the pandemic and a neglected, patchwork 911 system. The problem transcends geography: In rural, upstate New York, crews are struggling to pay bills. In Wisconsin, older volunteers are retiring, and no one is taking their place.

    The situation is particularly acute in Wyoming, where nearly half of the population lives in territory so empty it is still considered the frontier. At least 10 localities in the state are in danger of losing ambulance service, some imminently, according to an analysis reviewed by The New York Times.

    Many of the disappearing ambulances are staffed by volunteers, and some are for-profit ambulance providers that say they are losing money. Still others are local contractors hired by municipalities that, strained by the budget crisis of the pandemic, can no longer afford to pay them. Thousands of Wyoming residents could soon be in a position where there is no one nearby to answer a call for help.

    CONTINUE READING►

  • 7 Apr 2021 9:05 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    Kaiser Source Article | Comments courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

    Leave it to the Kaiser Family Foundation to develop another useful tool to evaluate Emergency Department use across all states, or by state!

    https://www.kff.org/9cb642b/

    This tool could be very valuable for EMS and healthcare officials to make the case about things like EMS patient navigation from 9-1-1 calls and Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) programs designed to reduce preventable ED visits!



  • 6 Apr 2021 7:37 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    Stateline Source Article | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

    Nice article from the Pew Charitable Trusts about vaccine efforts….  Might be of help for some agencies participating in local efforts.

    -----------------

    Vaccinating the Vulnerable, One Church at a Time

    STATELINE ARTICLE

    April 2, 2021

    By: Christine Vestal

    https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/04/02/vaccinating-the-vulnerable-one-church-at-a-time

    MedStar Mobile Healthcare, a Fort Worth, Texas, regional emergency medical service, hit what leaders there considered a home run recently, vaccinating 757 people in a single day at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly Black church on the city’s east side.

    Meanwhile, a mass vaccination clinic at Texas Motor Speedway in north Fort Worth used 16 drive-thru lanes to vaccinate 10,000 residents per day.

    Both approaches are essential, said Mount Olive Assistant Pastor Louis Stewart. “It’s not an either-or situation.”

    Nationwide, health equity advocates and public health experts agree that to outrun the virus and its variants, states and communities must operate mass vaccination sites for those with the time and transportation to get there, while simultaneously launching hundreds of smaller neighborhood efforts designed to meet the needs of the people who have been most devastated by the virus: low-income communities of color.

    To varying degrees, states designed their vaccination campaigns to prioritize vulnerable populations. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses county-level census data to assess states’ relative success at meeting those goals. Alaska, Montana and Arizona, all states with strong tribal community vaccination programs, were the most successful. At the bottom were Rhode Island, Florida and Idaho.

    Now that age limits for COVID-19 immunization have been dropped in most states, speed and efficiency are more important than ever, public health experts say.

    The federal government is establishing 441 mass vaccination sites across the country with the aim of collectively vaccinating a million people per day. At the same time, vaccine drives organized by state and local health agencies, community health centers, nonprofits and faith-based organizations are proliferating.

    Many of the local efforts are funded in part by nearly $10 billion in federal grants aimed at expanding access to vaccines and better serving communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations and other underserved communities under the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted in March.

    But advocates worry that in the rush to vaccinate the nation’s roughly 250 million adults as quickly as possible, the people most vulnerable to the ravages of the virus will get left behind.

    Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than White Americans to contract COVID-19 and three times as likely to be hospitalized for the illness. Black and Hispanic people also are at least twice as likely to die from COVID-19 compared with White people, according to the CDC.

    “So far we’re finding the same inequities in vaccine distribution that we find in the health care system as a whole,” said Andi Mullin, director of state and local technical assistance at Boston-based health equity advocate organization Community Catalyst.

    “In nearly every state in the country, White people and wealthier people are getting vaccinated in higher proportions than lower income people and people of color, despite the fact that COVID-19 has had a more devastating impact on these communities,” she said.

    CONTINUE READING►


  • 5 Apr 2021 7:43 PM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    Harvard Law source | Comments courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

    Very interesting Blog from Mr. Podsiadlo. 

    Lots of highlights, because his opinions may provide some talking points as we chat with public policy officials.

    Tip of the hat to MedStar Operations Director, Chris Cunningham for finding this jewel!

    --------------------

    Pandemic Threatens Future of Emergency Medical Services

    March 17, 2021

    https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2021/03/17/pandemic-threatens-future-emergency-medical-services/

    By Benjamin Podsiadlo

    The COVID-19 pandemic has posed persistent, wide-ranging existential threats to effective 911 emergency response.

    The EMS (Emergency Medical Services) system, which sits at the intersection of emergency medicine and public safety, is the out-of-hospital component of the acute care health care system. The EMS mission is targeted at identifying, responding, assessing, treating, and entering suddenly ill and injured patients in the community into the health care system.

    The EMS system’s viability is entirely dependent upon the capacity of its workforce of EMTs, paramedics, and 911 EMS telecommunicators to respond 24/7/365.

    The devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on EMS include: severe damage to workforce sustainability; grossly insufficient logistical resourcing; and further erosion of cohesive system identity.

    Workforce Sustainability

    The outlook for the EMS workforce’s sustainability is grim. Frontline EMS providers’ wellbeing and livelihood is jeopardized by the pandemic’s persistent economic, mental health, physical health, and social impacts.

    Countless EMTs and paramedics have been infected and sickened by COVID-19. Many have died from coronavirus; the group has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate of all first responders, and one of the highest of health care providers.

    Mental wellness of EMS providers, a longstanding but inadequately addressed concern, reflects extraordinarily high rates of PTSD and suicide during “normal” times. At a baseline, paramedics commit suicide at greater than twice the rate of the general population.

    EMTs are consistently recognized as amongst the lowest-paid essential high-reliability workers in the American workforce by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The burden upon the nation’s ambulance and EMS response capabilities is now so destabilized by the pandemic that in many cases it has permanently collapsed local EMS provider operations to the point of service disintegration.

    CONTINUE READING►

  • 16 Mar 2021 10:04 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    ModernHealthcare Source | Comments courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

    Worth keeping an eye on….  The good news is MedPAC seems to be recommending the Telehealth Waivers in some form continue beyond the PHE.  Cautious news; it needs to show ‘value’ (just like anything in healthcare), without the feared fraud and abuse issues.

    -----------------

    MedPAC cautious on permanent telehealth expansion

    MICHAEL BRADY, March 15, 2021

    Despite enthusiasm for telehealth among consumers, politicians and many in the healthcare industry, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission doesn't want fee-for-service Medicare to go all-in on telehealth until federal policymakers have more evidence about how it affects the program, according to a MedPAC report on Monday.

     

    The congressional advisory panel recommended that policymakers continue some expanded telehealth services for one to two years after the public health emergency ends to allow policymakers to collect and analyze more information about telehealth's effects on Medicare access, quality, cost and fraud.

     

    The commission is especially concerned about telehealth's impact on the integrity of the Medicare program because the technology could allow providers to "commit fraud at scale," James Mathews, executive director of MedPAC's staff, said during a call with reporters.

     

    MedPAC suggested that the Medicare program continue to temporarily pay providers for specific telehealth services delivered to all beneficiaries, regardless of their location. It also recommended that Medicare cover some additional telehealth services if they could potentially offer clinical benefits, including audio-only services.

     

    MedPAC said that Medicare should return to paying the physician fee schedule's facility rate for telehealth services and collect data on the cost of providing such services after the public health emergency ends.

     

    To combat unnecessary spending and possible fraud, MedPAC said that providers shouldn't be allowed to reduce or waive beneficiaries' cost sharing for telehealth services once the public health emergency ends. It also wants federal regulators to further examine clinicians that bill for significantly more telehealth services than other providers and require in-person visits to order high-cost durable medical equipment or lab tests. MedPAC said federal policymakers should ban physicians from billing for telehealth services delivered by nonphysician staff if those staff can bill Medicare directly.

     

    CMS temporarily expanded telehealth reimbursement during the public health emergency to ensure that fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries would have some access to healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now there's growing momentum to make the changes permanent, even though there's relatively little evidence about telehealth's impact on the Medicare program and its beneficiaries.

  • 15 Mar 2021 1:34 PM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    Bloomberg Source Articles | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

    This is a gap that local EMS agencies, especially those who are currently conducting MIH programs, or approved ET3 Participants, could logically fill with some out of the box thinking.

     

    New CMS Waivers for telehealth could help make telehealth a logical partner for services like this.

    ---------------

    Ambulnz Agrees to Go Public Via Motion Acquisition SPAC

    Company, to be renamed DocGo, offers at-home medical services

    Firm transports patients, set to have $1.1 billion valuation

    By Gillian Tan

    March 8, 2021

     

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-09/ambulnz-said-to-agree-to-go-public-via-motion-acquisition-spac

     

    Ambulnz Inc., a provider of mobile medical services and patient transportation, has agreed to go public through a merger with Motion Acquisition Corp.

     

    The special purpose acquisition company is raising $125 million in new equity from investors including Light Street Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures to support the transaction, which is set to value the combined entity at about $1.1 billion, according to a statement Tuesday, following an earlier Bloomberg report.

     

    Ambulnz, to be renamed DocGo Inc., is led by Chief Executive Officer Stan Vashovsky. The New York-based company, which operates in 23 U.S. states and the U.K., offers non-critical medical services to patients at home including vaccinations, blood work and testing, according to the statement.

     

    “We’re excited to invest further in our TeleHealth Plus business, which has grown tremendously in the past year,” Vashovsky said in an interview, referencing the company’s last-mile telemedicine services which bridge the gap between a video or voice call and a visit to a physician’s office.

     

    The SPAC transaction arms the company with cash to further expand its national footprint and with public currency to pursue acquisitions in related fields such as personal emergency response systems, Vashovsky said.

     

    The firm can provide data including real-time vehicle locations, and was the largest private ambulance operator responding to the pandemic in New York State, its website shows. The company also operates Covid-19 mobile testing and vaccination units through an arm known as Rapid Reliable Testing, which has handled about 1.2 million tests and administered about 25,000 vaccines.

     

    The company, which has partnerships with dialysis specialist Fresenius Medical Care, New Jersey hospital network Jefferson Health and Colorado’s UCHealth, also provides on-site medical services at events. It posted revenue of about $94 million in 2020, nearly double the year-earlier amount. That figure is expected to surpass $155 million this year.

     

    Motion Acquisition, led by CEO Michael Burdiek, raised $115 million in an October initial public offering and said at the time it would focus on searching for target businesses in connected vehicle industries globally.

     

    While there are other companies focused on telehealth, such as Teladoc Health Inc. and American Well Corp,. none dispatch licensed care professionals to patients at home, Burdiek said.

     

    Like most CEOs striking deals during the pandemic, Vashovsky and Burdiek have yet to meet -- the entire transaction was negotiated via Zoom.


  • 7 Mar 2021 11:05 AM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

    This official introduction into the House version of the pending COVID relief Bill, with the same language as in the Senate version, greatly enhances the chances of the language being included in the final Bill!

    The volunteer leaders and Government Affairs experts of NAEMT, IAFC, IAFF, AAA, and others have been diligently working together on this initiative. 

    An outstanding example of what can be accomplished when the stakeholder associations are aligned on a mission! 

    ----------------

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    March 5, 2021

     

    Reps. Axne, Larson, Westerman Unveil Fair Reimbursement Legislation for First Responders

     

    Bipartisan bill would revise reimbursement rates for treatment provided at the location of a medical emergency

     

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03), Rep. John Larson (CT-01) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04) announced they are introducing bipartisan legislation to provide fair reimbursements for firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS), and other medical first responders.

     

    Currently, Medicare reimbursements are not provided to firefighters and medical first responders for supplies and services they provide if they treat someone on location, known as treatment in place. Reimbursements for these services are approved only when a patient is transferred to a hospital.

     

    The Treatment in Place Act directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reimburse ambulance providers for care delivered to beneficiaries when the patient is treated in place, providing vital funding to ground ambulance organizations. This will also eliminate the need to bring non-emergency patients into hospitals during COVID-19 for care, reducing COVID-19 exposure and demand on emergency professionals.

     

    “Our fire departments and EMS first responders have been on the front lines, responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Our first responders are highly trained professionals, able to respond to a lot of the medical situations they face right there on location. By offering reimbursements for medical supplies and their treatment, we can avoid having to send people to the hospital unnecessarily during this pandemic,” said Rep. Axne. “Just as our firefighters and EMTs are here for us, we need to ensure federal health agencies are here for them. CMS reimbursements should still be available for those who are helping our citizens – especially with looming budget shortfalls at our state and municipal levels.”

     

    “Our first responders have been on the forefront of this pandemic and are out on the frontlines daily caring for our communities. This legislation will ensure our first responders can be reimbursed by Medicare for the treatments they provide in place,” said Rep. Larson. “This is essential as many of municipalities have been forced to bear the financial brunt of this pandemic, while trying to keep people safe. I’m proud to join Reps. Axne and Westerman in introducing this legislation today.”

     

    Our ambulance, EMS, and firefighter first responders have served our country with perseverance and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting quickly as hospitals were stretched to their limits,” said Rep. Westerman. “These first responders have been vital to our nationwide effort to fight the Coronavirus by treating individuals where they are and mitigating the spread of the virus. I am proud to co-lead the Treatment in Place Act to ensure that first responders are compensated fairly for their hard work and service on the front lines.

     

    Because of high demand for hospital beds during COVID-19, many ambulance providers have been directed to care for patients in settings other than emergency rooms—whether at patients’ homes or in health care facilities.

     

    The bipartisan bill is endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), National Association of EMTs, National Volunteer Fire Council, American Ambulance Association, and Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI).


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