Welcome letter from PAAW President Patrick Ryan
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April 9, 2014
Gov. Walker signs bills aimed at fighting Wisconsin heroin problems
Gov. Scott Walker signed seven bills Monday aimed at fighting the state's growing heroin problem during stops around the state.
The new laws include ones that will allow drug users to call 911 about overdoses without fear of prosecution, expand treatment alternatives and create quicker punishments for offenders who violate the terms of their probation.
Walker signed the bills at events in Marinette, Stevens Point, Eau Claire and Milwaukee. The Marinette County Courthouse was chosen as one venue because it is in the district of state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), who has taken a lead in drafting the measures. Nygren's daughter Cassie has struggled with heroin addiction.
Bell Ambulance in Milwaukee also served as one of Gov. Walker's stops highlighting the new law (picture insert).
"Wisconsin, like many states across the country, is experiencing a dangerous trend undefined an escalating number of cases of heroin use, addiction and overdose," Walker said in a statement. "Heroin addiction does not discriminate, and we have to take action to protect our friends, family members and neighbors who need help."
Supporters have dubbed the bills Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education, or HOPE.
"I know that our HOPE agenda isn't the 'silver bullet' to overcoming our state's heroin epidemic," Nygren said in a statement. "Rather, these seven bills are an important first step in the right direction."
The new laws will:
- Give people immunity from criminal prosecution for drug possession if they bring a fellow drug user to an emergency room or call911 because they believe the person is suffering from an overdose.
- The measure does not provide immunity for drug dealing or other serious crimes.
- Allow any first responders to administer naloxone if they are trained. Known by its brand name of Narcan, naloxone counteracts overdoses from heroin and other opiates. Currently, only certain emergency medical technicians are allowed to administer the drug, and the bill would make it more widely available.
- Allow communities to create programs to dispose of prescription and illegal drugs to curb abuse of substances that can lead to heroin addiction.
- Require people to show identification to pick up prescriptions that are considered to have a high potential for abuse.
- Create two or three state programs to help treat heroin addicts in high-need, rural areas at an estimated cost of $2 million a year.
- Add $1.5 million in funding annually for treatment alternatives and diversion programs that focus on substance abuse treatment for those who commit crimes.
- Implement "swift and certain" punishments for those who violate the terms of their probation or parole. Advocates say making certain punishments happen quickly helps deter those on probation from reoffending.
Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
April 1, 2014
Ambulance Medicare Relief Extended One-Year and ICD-10 Codes Delayed
The EMS attorney firm Page, Wolfberg and Wirth shared on the afternoon of April 1, the White House reported the President just signed a bill extending the Medicare ground ambulance bonus payments until March 31, 2015 and delaying the implementation of ICD-10 codes until at least October 1, 2015.
This means that the 2% urban, 3% rural and 22.6% super-rural bonuses that were set to expire on March 31, 2014 will remain in place for another year. Ambulance services should not see any interruption in these bonus payments. In addition, the ambulance industry now has until at least October 1, 2015 to prepare for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets.
H.R. 4302 provides temporary relief to certain providers while Congress considers a more permanent fix to combat rising Medicare costs. In the meantime, ambulance services are already exploring new delivery models and considering non-traditional revenue sources in order to be successful in the healthcare reform era.
This delay does not mean sit and wait another year. ICD-10 codes are coming and now is the time to get prepared for ICD-10 compliance and to use this delay to get ready - like training your crews to be more focused on "specificity" in patient care documentation - which will take time to do.
Source: Page, Wolfberg and Wirth EMS Attorney Firm
ICD-10: What is it?
The Professional Ambulance of Wisconsin completed an interview in 2012 that is relevant today yet regarding a forthcoming change from ICD-9 to ICD-10, and what this change means for those who write patient care reports and do the billing. ICD-10 increases the EMS billing codes by several thousand and places significant emphasis, or "specificity", on patient care reports. Click here to listen to the interview PAAW previously completed on this topic.
News and Information At A Glance
Monday, April 21, 2014 10:00 AM • Conference Call - Contact Association for Call-in Number
Thursday, April 24, 2014 • Monroe, WI
Saturday, April 26, 2014 • Monroe, WI
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 • Madison, WI
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 • Application deadline is April 30.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 • Eau Claire, WI
Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:00 AM • Divine Savior Healthcare (Hospital), Portage, WI
Saturday, May 03, 2014 • Poynette Fire Station, Poynette, WI
Monday, May 19, 2014 10:00 AM • Conference Call - Contact Association for Call-in Number
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 • Green Bay, WI
Click here for all meetings, events and educational offerings in the calendar.
Click here for the next PAAW Board of Directors meeting information.
Congratulations 2013 Wisconsin Stars of Life Honorees
The picture above is of the 2013 PAAW STARS of Life. It is a true honor to be selected as a STAR and the above individuals should be very proud of this recognition. Each of them were nominated by their respective ambulance service following recommended award criteria.
Click here to learn more about each one of them and why they were selected by their local ambulance service.
PAAW is pleased to partner with the following industry leading organizations: