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PAAW is dedicated to healthy, sustainable ambulance and emergency medical service delivery in Wisconsin

Patrick Ryan, PAAW President
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Current News and Information from PAAW

May 24, 2017

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
Advancing your career to EMS leader and manager

>> Click to listen now.

This EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast was recorded on Tuesday, May 23.  The topic was dedicated to advancing your career in EMS leader and manager.  Our guests included Dan Williams and Jim Singer.

Both Dan and Jim recently announced their retirements from their respective EMS leader positions.  They offered an excellent perspective on advancing your EMS career into a leader and manager position.  With over 70 years of combined experience, they offered excellent recommendations in working with a mentor, advancing your career, leadership and interviewing suggestions and defining company culture.

Dan has over 40 years experience in EMS and recently retired from Emergency Services of Door County where he was director for over 30 years.  Dan also was State of Wisconsin EMS Section Chief, Director at MedFlight in Madison and held previous positions with Flight For Life and Paratech Ambulance, both in Milwaukee.  For fourteen years, Dan was chairman of Wisconsin's EMS Advisory Board.  He continues as conference director for Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference and as an EMS consultant.

Jim recently concluded a 31-year career with Flight For Life, Milwaukee.  He was hired in 1986 as a flight nurse and in 1991 was promoted to chief flight nurse.  Jim transitioned to System Transport Director in 2001, a position he held until his retirement.  Jim was responsible to purchase new aircraft, made significant upgrades to the fleet and managed a system that completed over 33,000 safe flights.

The program was hosted by Chris Anderson and Joe Covelli.

>> Click to listen now.

May 24, 2017

Standby for Tones Blog
EMS Week 2017:  "Always, In Service"

I’m 27, and I have no idea how profoundly this class will affect me. The ways in which it morphs who I am into a better version of myself. The people I will be honored to care for, the things I will witness. The ways those things I witness will impact me for months and years to come. I have no inkling that my appreciation for life itself will grow, deepen and become a nearly measurable entity.

I simply know that I am taking a class, an EMT-Basic class. It meets two evenings a week, from 6-10pm in a town roughly half an hour away from the bank at which I then worked. A nice customer from the bank also is taking the class, and we carpool. His wife is funny and kind and I look forward to those visits at their house before we hit the road, off to class. One day we get to town a little earlier than usual, and we swing by a used car lot just to kill some time. Before you can say SAMPLE, I’m the owner of a lipstick red Camaro just a few days later. In my young mind I think it’s funny to pay extra for a license plate that reads CTCH ME.

We graduate, I continue banking. But something has changed. As the pager I’m given goes off, my heart rate accelerates in a sympathetic nervous system response, and now that I mention it, I’m not certain it’s ever quite gone back to normal. The more I see, the more I am frustrated by the limited ways in which I can help.

>> Click to read more of the story...

"Standby for Tones" is a blog written by Crystal Wallin, a La Crosse paramedic.  Her stories, written from real life events, bring to light the human experience in having an EMS career and work life. 

>> Click to read Crystal's blog.

May 17, 2017

Community Awareness
EMS STRONG: “Always in Service”

National EMS Week May 21 to 27

National EMS Week is being celebrated nationwide this year Sunday, May 21 to Saturday, May 27.  Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day is Wednesday, May 24.

The opportunity brings with it local awareness of emergency medical services, and quite often includes community open houses, volunteer recruitment and hiring drives, and opportunities for appreciation, recognition and goodwill.

The 2017 theme is "EMS STRONG:  Always in Service".

EMS Week is celebrated nationally and throughout Wisconsin too.  >> Click to read Governor Scott Walker's EMS Week Proclamation.

To help communities, elected officials, and stakeholders better understand EMS, NAEMT has created a new What Is EMS? informational brochure. >> Click to download brochure.

National EMS Week was established by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and is in partnership with the National Association of EMTs.

For more information, go to >> http://www.emsstrong.org/.

May 17, 2017

Standby for Tones Blog
Sneakers & small humans

The children outside are curious, playing but in a sense of studied nonchalance. Not that any of them look old enough to know the nuance of the word, but innate in them as in all of us lays the gist of the word’s implication

The fire apparatus is already curbside ahead of us, lights silently announcing to anyone watching that activity is happening within this building, this day. My partner takes the cardiac monitor from me and I keep the jump bag over my right shoulder. Dropping their pretense of play, the children fall still, openly checking out our accoutrements. One brave boy calls out, “hey, whatcha got there? What’s that big bag for?” My partner returns, “helping people”. Simplified, yet valid.

Inside, a middle aged man with an air of importance around him meets us, gives us a short layman’s report.  It is remarkably succinct, and with nearly all necessary components I could’ve asked for if making a list. We continue on in the direction indicated, where ahead a small group of people can be seen gathered in the cafeteria. It’s after hours, at this school, and yet the gathering is modest. I see fire ahead, and a slight woman with grey hair barely visible in the middle of the navy shirts, suspenders attached to turnout pants, and male muscles.

I greet the lieutenant by name and make my way around the far end of the cafeteria tables arranged in neat rows. The patient has the gathering of firemen around her as well as a couple elderly ladies and amidst all of these, a few more assorted small humans, watching with grave interest. The lieutenant was a new fireman when I was a new medic and he gives report after greeting me by name.

“Patient was getting up, caught her sneaker” <I remember thinking, “Jimmy said sneaker, who says sneaker? Have to tease him later on at some point”>  “on the bench and fell, hitting her head. She did lose consciousness. Her blood pressure is low; she was very pale when we got here. Her heart rate is very slow, blood sugar is 92.”

>> Click to read more of the story...

"Standby for Tones" is a blog written by Crystal Wallin, a La Crosse paramedic.  Her stories, written from real life events, bring to light the human experience in having an EMS career and work life. 

>> Click to read Crystal's blog.

May 17, 2017

State EMS Advisory Board
Sub-committee application deadline May 26

The Wisconsin EMS Advisory Board Subcommittees are formed to address specific areas and develop recommendations.  There are four subcommittees that meet regularly in Madison during EMS Advisory Board meetings.

The sub-committees include:

EMS System Quality and Data

EMS Education and Training

EMS Systems Development and Management

EMS Physician Advisory Group

If interested to serve on a sub-committee an application is required.  The deadline to apply is noon on Friday, May 26. Elections will take place at the June 7 EMS Board meeting.

>> Click to download the memo regarding the application process.

Direct any questions to the Wisconsin EMS office at 608-266-1568 or dhsemssmail@wisconsin.gov.

May 9, 2017

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
Medicare Fraud, Whistleblowers and Steps to Reduce False Claims Act Risk

Ways to avoid unintended consequences in billing compliance.

>> Click for on-demand playback and listen now!

This podcast episode was recorded on May 9 and was dedicated to discussing Medicare Fraud, whistleblower protection and steps to reduce your False Claims Act risk. 

Recently, Madison attorney Wendy Arends with Godfrey & Kahn authored an article involving a $12.7 million settlement in a whistleblower Medicare fraud case against MedStar Ambulance in Massachusetts.  The former billing manager was the whistleblower in this case and reported the wrongdoing.

MedStar Ambulance is alleged to have: (1) billed for transports that were not medically reasonable and necessary; (2) billed for higher levels of services than patients’ conditions necessitated; and (3) billed for higher levels of services than were actually provided.

Besides the MedStar case, we also discussed how to reduce an ambulance service's Fraudulent Claims Act risk with internal policy and procedures, to include policies that address:  conducting internal audits and monitoring, designating a compliance officer, a process to investigate potential violations or patient complaints, whistleblower protection, etc.  Even if your ambulance service uses a third-party billing company to process runs, code them and bill Medicare, it doesn't release you as the ambulance company from liability, compliance, completing audits and any unintended consequences that may arise.

In addition to Wendy Arends as our guest we were also joined by Tom Tornstrom, Executive Director at Tri-State Ambulance in La Crosse, who offered some excellent points, to include Chapter 10 (Ambulance Services) of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual that every ambulance service director should read.

>> Click to download Wendy's article regarding the MedStar Ambulance Medicare fraud settlement case.

>> Click to download Medicare Benefit Policy Manual - Chapter 10 (Ambulance Services).

Don't miss a beat of the action - listen to EMS Live in Wisconsin!

>> Click for on-demand playback and listen now!

April 25, 2017

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
Milwaukee County Puts End to Hospital ER Diversions by Ambulances

Successful report tied to core value of patient-centered EMS delivery

>> Click for on-demand playback and listen now!

What started decades ago throughout Milwaukee County EMS as a seemingly well-intended policy to divert ambulances to less crowded hospital emergency departments now represented an opportunity to realign patient-centered EMS delivery within the context of a changing health care landscape.

According to Milwaukee County EMS Medical Director Dr. Mario Colella, "In the era of diversion, we noticed when one hospital went on diversion other surrounding hospitals soon followed, patient satisfaction diminished and ambulances were forced to drive further away from their communities.  Most importantly, patients that were sick were denied access to the closest emergency care".

With the phased in policy, ambulance diversion officially ended April 1, 2016, in Milwaukee County.  Now, a report has been authored on the outcomes from the policy change.  >> Click to review the report's executive summary.

The podcast was recorded on April 25.  Guests included Milwaukee County Emergency Management Director Christine Westrich, Milwaukee County EMS Medical Director Dr. Mario Colella and Milwaukee County Emergency Management Program Director Ken Sternig.  >> Click for on-demand playback and listen now!

The following questions were discussed:

  1. What is the history of Hospital Diversion and why is "non-diversion better?
  2. How did Milwaukee County coordinate this among paramedics, hospitals, etc.? 
  3. Did you stage the approach or go cold-turkey on the actual operations?
  4. Did the data show what you expected -- has there been any fallout or successes?
  5. What's next for the Milwaukee County EMS System?

EMS Live in Wisconsin is broadcast live on the phone and via the internet the second and fourth Tuesday every month starting at 9:00 a.m. and typically running 30 minutes. 

Don't miss a beat of the action - listen to EMS Live in Wisconsin.  >> Click for past show archive.

April 5, 2017

State Capitol
Assembly votes unanimously to approve Community Paramedicine Bill

Bill moves to Senate, to hold public hearing soon.

The Community Paramedicine Bill, >> AB151, received unanimous vote of approval by the full Assembly at the State Capitol on April 4.  Assembly Amendment 1 was adopted and passed.  >> Review Community Paramedicine Bill -
Assembly Amendment 1.

During the Assembly's Committee on Health public hearing on March 22, Dana Sechler, EMS director at the Baraboo District Ambulance Service, said "Community EMS fills the "gaps or voids where there is a need.  Their efforts can help hospitals avoid penalties for re-admissions". 

Captain Michael Wright of the Milwaukee Fire Department shared with members of the Assembly's Committee on Health that he helped develop the city's community paramedic program three years ago.  The department, which has about 30 trained paramedics, focuses not only on preventing re-admissions, but also to help those who frequent emergency rooms for their healthc
are. The program is funded by the city of Milwaukee.   He said the program was needed because "there's so many gaps."
Captain Wright, photo insert, stated during the public hearing, "For eighteen years, I've been responding to people and knowing that they needed more. They weren't getting it from the hospitals, they weren't getting it from the doctors. They couldn't get it from us because we don't have time. The program helps provide that care, he said".

According to PAAW Lobbyist Michael Brozek, "This is a very, very fast tracked piece of legislation...unusually fast."

Minnesota Ambulance Association Lobbyist Buck McAlpin also shared on news about the Assembly's vote, "Very few states have formalized this
(Community Paramedicine) into law - a very nice win."  McAlpin was instrumental in Minnesota passing Community Paramedicine legislation in 2011.

Now, the bill heads to the Senate.  The companion bill in the Senate is known as >> SB149.  It was read for the first time before the full Senate on March 29, and then referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services for a public hearing.

Upcoming Events

Current PAAW Priorities
Community Paramedicine Legislation
MABAS/WI Liability Protection Statute 893.80
State Medicaid Reimbursement & MTM
>> Legislative Study Committee on Firefighter and EMT Volunteer Shortages
Recognize Do-Not-Resuscitate Pendant

Most recent EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast - Listen Now!

Next EMS Live Podcast

Tuesday, May 23

starting at 9:00 a.m. central time


Advancement to EMS Leader

Dan Williams, Former Director Emergency Services of Door County

Jim Singer, Former Director
Flight For Life, Milwaukee

Dial in number to listen to the live show or speak with the co-hosts and guests: 


Or listen on any internet connected device - even email in a question.

Treating CHF patients with better results (Tyler Christifulli, Training Coordinator, Lifestar EMS, West Bend, WI)

2017 Stars of Life Awards
Nomination Period Open
May 21 to August 14, 2017

Stars of Life Dinner and Awards Program
September 21, 2017
Tundra Lodge & Convention Center, Green Bay

>> Click for 2017 Nomination Web Page and Event Information

2015 Stars of Life Honorees

Crystal Wallin

Feature writer and La Crosse Paramedic

Recent blog posts by Crystal: Standby for Tones

Emergency calls or patient contacts to PAAW members last year

Over 272,000

>> See who's a PAAW member.  Not a PAAW member? That's okay. Subscribe to receive free email updates and alerts from PAAW.  >> Click to get started.


Weekly IV Fluids and EMS Pharmaceutical Backorder Report

PAAW continues to monitor the ongoing EMS pharmaceutical drug and IV fluids backorder situation by posting weekly updates, courtesy of Bound Tree Medical.

Through a special arrangement with EMS World magazine, PAAW members and their employees or volunteers receive a free 12-month subscription, a $40 value. 

Stay on top of national EMS news, tips, a variety of topics and special reports - delivered right to your home or work address or e-mail account the beginning of every month!  >> Click to receive this benefit.

Monitor Police, Fire and EMS Radio Traffic Around the U.S.!

Browse over 2,000 police, fire and EMS scanner monitoring stations around the U.S. with a simple click of your computer mouse.  It's sure to make any scanner junkie go wild!

>> Click here to find out more about selecting your own monitoring station or click the scanner below to open the audio player for Milwaukee County Fire radio traffic.

Milwaukee County Fire
(click scanner below to activate feed)

Winamp Aplha Display

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