The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin actively advocates and represents EMS and the interests of the industry to Wisconsin's elected leaders at state and local levels, as well as to the Department of Health Services' leaders and staff members. PAAW believes establishing and maintaining productive and proactive communications in representation of the Association and its interests, and the general well-being of the EMS industry, benefits all ambulance service providers in the state.
Lobbying representation for PAAW is provided by Midwest Strategy Group. PAAW feels strongly that a consistent and professional presence at the Capitol is vital in order for PAAW to be an influential, vibrant and effective organization. In turn, this directly benefits our membership and EMS in Wisconsin at-large.
Along with input and direction from the Association's Board of Directors, both Dana Sechler and Buck McAlpin lend significant support to PAAW and it's legislative efforts. By doing so, they offer an important perspective from the EMS industry and how the governments decisions impact delivery or costs in EMS.
PAAW Legislative Lobbying Updates
December 26, 2012
PAAW Year in Review: Looking Back (and Forward)
The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin took another step forward in 2012. The year included a focus on strong legislative activity, meetings with government leaders, member growth and heightened awareness to the Association’s work.
In March, the PAAW Board of Directors unanimously agreed to continue its agreement with Midwest Strategy Group in Madison as its lead lobbying agency. During the year, PAAW leaders and lobbyists worked to represent member interests and EMS at-large in meetings and discussions with the Governor’s staff, and with the Departments of Health, Revenue and Workforce Development. PAAW gained influence, respect and a voice and viewpoint that was heard and appreciated. In the end, many of these meetings either helped move PAAW’s ideas and concerns forward, or offered clarification on important and timely matters to ambulance services and their leaders statewide.
According to PAAW President Patrick Ryan, “Lobbyists Brian Schimming and Michael Brozek did a terrific job in assisting us shape our ideas and gain access to government leaders at the highest levels to discuss important EMS issues and concerns. Our legislative agenda will continue to be a focal point for us in 2013.”
Six months ago, the Association began monthly legislative update and member conference calls. These monthly discussions have proven invaluable in allowing interaction between PAAW leadership, lobbyists and members. President Ryan added, "PAAW is proud to offer its members direct access to its lobbyists to ask questions and get answers on a regular basis."
PAAW efforts produced positive change when the Department of Health announced in June ambulance services could be contacted directly to schedule patient transportation. This change kept intact the hospital, clinic and originating care facility relationship with their local ambulance service versus going through LogistiCare, as the state’s exclusive medical transportation broker for Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus beneficiaries.
In August, the Association met with the Department of Workforce Development regarding a rising concern about EMT pay, potential minimum wage violations based on common EMT pay models and on-call response restrictions for volunteers. The Association worked with the Department to sort out these very important questions and relayed this information to ambulance services across the state. In the end, a clarifying Memo was issued by Workforce Development, a wage violation case against the city of Berlin was rescinded and a recorded webcast interview clarifying all of these issues was posted to the Association’s website. The webcast received over 400 downloads.
The number of PAAW voting and affiliate (business) members increased to 52. Employees of voting member ambulance services are also included as associate members, which totaled 1,302. PAAW voting member ambulance services account for an estimated 400,000 patient transports and calls for service per year.
The Association’s website, www.PAAW.us, serves as its conduit of information. During the year, the number of users to the website increased dramatically with a 29% increase over the previous year in visitors to 8,205 and 21,466 web pages viewed.
Looking ahead, 2013 will nonetheless continue to be a banner year of activity and growth for the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin as its message and purpose to advance EMS and member interests remain its focal point. Early in 2013, PAAW’s new Legislative Plan will be announced, offering greater clarity to this important agenda and its content.
Ambulance services and EMS leaders are invited to monitor and actively participate in PAAW’s work and efforts. Contact the Association with any questions or membership interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 7, 2012
PAAW President and Lobbyists Meet with DWD to Clarify Wisconsin EMT Wage and Labor
Listen to a webcast dedicated to this topic, click here.
On Thursday, September 6th PAAW President Patrick Ryan and Midwest Strategy Group (MSG) lobbyists Brian Schimming and Mike Brozch met with several officials from the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The meeting was arranged by MSG at the request of PAAW.
Based on a recent DWD investigation at Berlin EMS and Federal investigation at River Falls Ambulance, both regarding volunteer EMT wage and labor and on-call response time restrictions, questions began to surface regarding common volunteer EMT pay models, compliance with compensation laws and the perceived threat of investigations elsewhere. This is a big deal when you consider sixty-four percent of Wisconsin's ambulance services are staffed by volunteers.
According to PAAW President Ryan, "The conversation with DWD was extremely productive, and they have no intention of investigating ambulance services unless a complaint is filed with their office".
As part of the meeting, DWD Director John Chiolino presented to PAAW an interoffice memo he authored in June 2012 that specifically addressed "volunteer", nominal wage and on call response time restrictions. This statement offers clarifying language that many ambulance service chiefs and directors will find useful to make sure their organization's are in compliance with Wisconsin's wage and labor laws, especially as they relate to "volunteers".
DWD has given PAAW permission to post to its website and make available the interoffice memo. Click here to download. EMS providers may also contact DWD Director Chiolino directly with any questions at 608-266-3345.
June 18, 2012
DHS Updates Policy for Non-Emergency Patient Transportation System, PAAW Influences Change
Listen to a webcast dedicated to this topic, click here.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced an update to its transportation management system policy for non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) by ambulance or specialized medical vehicle (SMV) stretcher van effective for dates of service (DOS) on and after July 1, 2012.
DHS contracted with LogistiCare Solutions, LLC, (LogistiCare) to provide NEMT management services for Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus members, to include scheduling coordination, assignment, and reimbursement for non-emergency transportation by ambulance.
Non-emergency medical transportation is defined as transportation provided by a specialized medical vehicle (SMV) or common carrier to a covered service. Modes of non-emergency medical transportation include:
- Common carrier transportation.
- Specialized medical vehicle transportation.
- Stretcher van or non-emergency ambulance transportation.
Once a member has been confirmed eligible for non-emergency transportation, LogistiCare will determine the most appropriate mode of transportation for the member.
The referring hospital, clinic, or other originating facility will have two options for coordinating the transportation:
Coordinating directly with the ambulance provider. With this option, the ambulance provider will be required to contact LogistiCare within 24 hours after dispatching the trip to obtain a trip identification number (trip ID). (The ambulance provider will be required to obtain a copy of the prescription and submit it to LogistiCare.)
Coordinating through LogistiCare. With this option, the referring hospital, clinic, or originating facility will contact LogistiCare to arrange the trip. (The hospital, clinic, or facility will be required to fax a copy of the prescription to LogistiCare.)
For the past sixteen months, the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin has had ongoing conversations and meetings with DHS, the Governor's Office, Wisconsin Hospital Association and other stakeholders regarding the LogistiCare broker model and its coordination specifically for ambulance services.
In working directly with officials at DHS, PAAW has been successful in the policy being updated to allow the originating facility to contact a LogistiCare contracted ambulance provider directly for non-emergency patient transportation service. To-date, less than five ambulance services statewide have contracted with LogistiCare.
PAAW estimates during the first twelve months the patient management program has been in place, many non contracted ambulance rides were not compensated and simply provided the transportation service. While narrow in scope compared to the entire state, eleven ambulance services reported to PAAW 417 non-emergency patients were transported, for a billed amount $182,000, that were not paid by LogistiCare or Wisconsin's ForwardHealth. Wisconsin's Medicaid ambulance transportation reimbursement ALS and BLS base rate is set by the state; it is one of the lowest in the nation.
The contact at LogistiCare Solutions, LLC is Nicholas J. Licary, Wisconsin General Manager, 866- 907-5194 or email NicholasL@logisticare.com.
To read the ForwardHealth updated policy that becomes effective July 1, 2012, click here.
October 18, 2011
PAAW President Meets with Governor Walker
Photo by Jack Hill
During the Stars of Life event at the Capitol on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 PAAW President Patrick Ryan was able to get a few minutes with Governor Scott Walker to discuss EMS and draw his attention to items the Association is currently working on that involves state government and making things more efficient for ambulance services.
During the daylong Stars event, over 26 individual meetings were scheduled with legislators and government leaders, which spotlighted EMS and those recognized with the award.
According to PAAW President Patrick Ryan, "Stars stood up for EMS today at the State Capitol. It was nice to see their contributions and this award noted, honored and recognized."