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  • Monday, April 16, 2018 4:23 PM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

    Has the current shortage of controlled medications or saline affected your ability to provide high quality care to your patients? 

    PAAW is working to collect data on how these, and other, medication shortages impact ambulance services throughout the state of Wisconsin as well as how services are adjusting to meet the needs of their patients. 

    Please complete our short survey here►

    View a list of drug shortages on the FDA website.

  • Friday, April 13, 2018 7:20 AM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

    The open EMS Section Chief and Regional Coordinator positions have been filled.  If your email is up to date in the e-licensing system, you likely received the communications yesterday and today from the EMS Office.  Both Mark and Ela appear to have impressive credentials and valuable experience throughout their EMS careers.  PAAW is looking forward to working with them, once they officially start their positions! 

    In case you missed the emails, here are the excerpts:   

    EMS Section Chief

    We are very happy to announce that Jonathan “Mark” Lockhart has been selected to fill the role of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Section Chief for the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Health Care, EMS Section. Mark, as he prefers to be known, and his family will be moving to Wisconsin from Virginia, and Mark will begin his new role with the EMS Section on May 29, 2018.

    Mark’s professional experience includes 8 years at Stafford County (VA) Fire and EMS, where he served as Deputy Chief and Chief.  Prior to his work in Virginia, Mark spent 23 years at Maryland Heights (MO) Fire District, progressively serving as a firefighter/paramedic, the EMS Officer, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief, and Chief.  Mark is a Nationally Registered Paramedic, Firefighter I/II, and has held Fire Officer I and Fire Service Instructor certifications.  Mark's experience as an EMS and Fire Instructor includes teaching here in the US, as well as in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. Mark has also been a contributing author for several EMT, Paramedicine, and Trauma/Life Support publications. Over his career, Mark has been an active participant in many professional associations, including: NREMT, NAEMT, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. 

    EMS Regional Coordinator

    We are very happy to announce that Elizabeth “Ela” Rybczyk will be joining OPEHC as the new EMS Regional Coordinator for Regions 4 and 5 (Western and Southwestern WI).  Elizabeth’s first day in the office will be Monday, May 14, 2018.

    Elizabeth, or Ela as she prefers, has a Bachelor of Arts in Health, Behavior, and Society  from the University of Rochester (NY), and a Certificate in Public Health Fundamentals and Principles from the University of Albany (NY).  Ela started her career as an EMT in 2008, and became a certified Paramedic in 2010, serving at several ambulance services in upstate New York.  Ela holds certifications in Remote Medicine for Advanced Providers, Paramedicine, and Critical Care Paramedicine.  She has also served as an Administrative Lieutenant and Training Director for the Greece (NY) Volunteer Ambulance and EMS Service, and as a member of the Monroe-Livingston Regional Patient Safety Committee.  

  • Monday, March 26, 2018 12:25 PM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

    By Samantha Hilker

    I’m not the smartest person in the room, and that is what I love most about my job. 

    Being an EMS educator is a tough job; it takes a special person to pour their heart into educating others.  It takes someone who can stand behind their team to celebrate their accomplishments and also support them through mistakes.  A person who will pick up the phone at 3 a.m. to help a crew through a tough call, discuss a protocol, or work through the transport decision trees with dispatch without a second thought.  Someone who is OK with not being the smartest person in the room because they live in constant learning and embrace new challenges. 

    I had the good fortune of speaking with several EMS educators about what they really want their clinical team(s) to know.  Here are the highlights:

    Mistakes are not the end of the world.

    Let’s be real, everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE. The important thing is that you (1) realize the mistake and take steps to correct or communicate it, (2) learn from your mistake and (3) help others learn from you. Making a mistake once is part of the learning process – making the same mistake twice is foolish.

    I am here for you.

    Call me. Anytime. I’d honestly rather have you ask a question if you’re unsure of something – or call me right away to discuss a concern than receive a complaint or find something concerning on QA reports a few days or weeks later. A lot of times, the mistakes people think they made really aren’t that big of a deal – especially if we know about them and understand the why right away.

    I don’t like doing QA any more than you like me calling you about QA concerns.

    While looking at high-level outcome data and trends is interesting, I don’t like having to call you about protocol or documentation compliance issues. QA is necessary – it lets us know how we’re doing, how I’m doing as an educator…but please know that I do not spend time pouring over reports just looking for reasons to call you. Trust that I am looking for every reason not to call you before that phone rings.

    It’s not always as exciting as I’d like it to be.

    I know the education isn’t always the most exciting and sometimes we repeat things – but sometimes we need to repeat things for the benefit of the whole team. I would love to do exciting, cutting edge, new education all the time…but there is also value in getting back to the basics.

    Practice how you play.

    It is so important to train how you work…meaning realistic scenarios via simulation or low-fidelity equipment, partner configuration, uniforms and using the tools you use in real life. A lot of what we do in high-stress, time-sensitive situations is done without implicit thought – muscle memory – the more realistic our training the more efficiently we’re able to react in a real situation.

    As I write this article, I am about midway through a virtual instructor-led paramedic refresher and never have I been more thankful for the EMS educators that helped shape me through the years, and the services who supported the role of an internal educator.  When education is viewed as a burden or requirement you meet just to maintain your license, it is easy to dismiss the value of a passionate educator providing face-to-face or hands-on transfer of knowledge.  I encourage you to take full advantage of the educators in your life, both formal and informal, especially if you are fortunate enough to work for a service willing to support that role internally. 

    A special thank you to the following EMS educators who took time out of their day to contribute to this article:

    • Thomas Carpenter, EMS Educator with Gundersen Health
    • Rick Barton, EMS Educator with Gundersen Health
    • Nick Romenesko, Clinical and Quality Manager with Gold Cross Ambulance Service, Inc.
    • Robert Whitton, Education and Quality Assurance Coordinator with Paratech Ambulance
    • Michael Barrow, Founder/Co-Author CPR Podcast, and Educator with Centura Hospitals 

  • Friday, March 16, 2018 1:18 PM | Amanda Riordan (Administrator)

    Complete the online survey►

    With the passage of Act 59 in September 2017, the Legislature directed the Department of Military Affairs to submit a report by January 1, 2019 that addressed the following questions:

    • Recommended changes to statutory authority of the Interoperability Council
    • Progress toward creating a statewide public safety interoperable communication system
    • Obstacles hindering progress toward interoperability
    • Recommendations for the legislative/executive action to promote interoperability

    In order to provide a comprehensive report to the Legislature, the DMA’s Office of Emergency Communications is seeking your responses to several important questions. The resulting survey can be taken online, or responses can be emailed to Responses are due April 6.

    Complete the online survey► | Download Question in a Word Document

  • Friday, March 02, 2018 9:55 AM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

    One of the highlights for EMS in 2017 was the EMS at the Capitol day that took place in November; 5 organizations coming together to move EMS forward in Wisconsin.  As we look further into 2018, we want to inform you that a legislative day of this nature will not be possible due to the short session and election year.  That being said, we do not want to lose the momentum!  We are feverishly working with the American Ambulance Association, Office of Rural Health, and others to arrange some equally amazing opportunities to influence how EMS is governed from a state and federal level.  

    Stay tuned!  Detail on 2018 opportunities will be released as events are finalized and open for registration. 

    You can also look forward to an EMS at the Capitol Day in early 2019. 

  • Monday, February 26, 2018 1:47 PM | Amanda Riordan (Administrator)
    It just got even easier for PAAW professional members to catch up on board activities! Visit the Meeting Archive for quick access to past minutes and upcoming agendas. 

    (Going forward, this page will replace the previous separate Agenda and Minutes pages.)

  • Friday, February 16, 2018 2:00 PM | Amanda Riordan (Administrator)

    Recently several PAAW members participated in an American Heart Association Lobby Day event in support of Assembly Bill 654 / Senate Bill 549. This legislation will ensure all 911 dispatchers are trained to talk callers through how to perform CPR while they wait for first responders to arrive.

    Bystander CPR is proven to save lives. Your help is requested to help educate state lawmakers about the importance of this legislation and to highlight the impact it would have in your community. 

    The Assembly will vote on AB654 on February 20. A vote is not yet scheduled on the Senate side. 

    Please, reach out to your legislators and let them know that dispatcher-assisted CPR is key to helping EMS in your community! Find my legislators>

  • Monday, February 12, 2018 7:50 PM | Amanda Riordan (Administrator)

    EMS LIVE in Wisconsin is getting a fresh look, and a new name! 

    Starting now, you can search for EMS in Wisconsin Podcast in iTunes and Stitcher to listen to our podcast on your mobile device or computer.  You will also have the option to subscribe to the show, which means you will be automatically alerted when a new episode is available.  Of course, you can also find the podcast on our website ( along with other valuable information and resources.    

    Our most recent episode (January 23rd) is already available, and the next episode is scheduled to post on Tuesday, February 20th

    The next episode will feature Scott Moore, Esq., AAA Operations & HR Consultant.  We will discuss employee incentive programs: what are they, which ones work, and what might leave you scrambling. 

    Future topics include: EMS re-licensing update from the State of Wisconsin EMS Office, What EMS educators want their teams to know, current research in EMS, the challenge of managing former peers, and quality assurance programs. 

    We look forward to bringing you all the best in EMS from Wisconsin

  • Friday, February 09, 2018 8:29 AM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

    This morning, President Donald Trump signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR) that included a five-year renewal of the ambulance Medicare add-ons. 

    The specific provisions included are:

    • 5 year extension of the ambulance Medicare add-ons through December 31, 2022, retroactive to January 1, 2018.
    • The American Ambulance Association'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 while not overly burdening or onerously penalizing the ambulance services.
    • The penalty for failing to report required data would be a reduction in payment up to 10% for the year following the year in which the data should have been submitted. American Ambulance Association objected to the house proposed penalty of up to a year of Medicare payments clawback or withholding of payments. A clause is included to wave the penalty in cases of hardship.
    • A “pay-for” for the 5-year extension of the add-ons with a 13% cut to non-emergent dialysis transports – the American Ambulance Association had objected to the offset and pushed for a cut targeted to just those entities which abuse the dialysis transport benefit. We were successful in reducing the initial cut from 22% to 13%. The American Ambulance Association is actively working on other pay-for options that would replace the 13% cut with something targeting dialysis fraud and abuse.
    Our association supported the American Ambulance Association's efforts to drive this renewal through letter-writing campaigns and Hill visits.

  • Friday, February 02, 2018 10:08 AM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

    This week, President Sechler testified before the legislature on behalf of PAAW in support of grants for students interested in EMS. He also participated in the American Heart Association Hill Day advocating for dispatcher-assisted CPR.

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