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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

August 18, 2016

PSOW Conference announces agenda, registration open

The Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin (PSOW) Conference agenda was just released.  >> Click here for agenda.  The 29th annual conference will be held
September 14 to 16 in Green Bay at Tundra Lodge Hotel & Convention Center.

The Conference, best known for its service introductions and initiatives recap offered by all attendees, will also feature presentations on community paramedicine, compliance, legislative council on EMT volunteer shortages panel discussion, HIPAA 2016, community CPR project, state EMS office updates and various other timely content.  The event features an exhibit area and social opportunities.

Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference exists to provide continuing education for administrators and managers at all Wisconsin ambulance service provider levels, and to share information and work together for the betterment of Emergency Medical Services in Wisconsin.  For additional conference information or to register, go to www.PSOW.org.

August 18, 2016

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program

>> Click to listen now!

How does your ambulance service manage stroke patients?  What are your local or regional health care system options for advanced care and treatment?  Did you know there are twenty Wisconsin ambulance services subscribed to the Coverdell Stroke Program?  Learn how you can join the program in this podcast.

This live podcast was recorded on August 9 and included guest David Fladten, who manages the Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program.

In this podcast we discussed:

  • Appropriate Pre-hospital Assessment and Management of the Stroke Patient
  • EMS and Destination Determination - In-hospital care of the Stroke Patient
  • Coverdell EMS Partners program
We also discussed updates on the Wisconsin Legislative Study Committee on Firefighter and EMT Volunteer Shortages, Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference and MTM/Medicaid.

>> Click to listen now!

Stay on top of Wisconsin EMS action - listen to EMS Live!

Next live streamed podcast is Tuesday, August 23 starting at 9:00 a.m.

The next EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast is Tuesday, August 23 starting at 9:00 a.m. and lasting 30 minutes.  Our guest is Tyler Christifulli.  We'll discuss critical care paramedic advanced training and certification options.  Listen either on the phone at 646-929-1081, or on any internet connected device at http://tobtr.com/9218799.

August 17, 2016

Standby for Tones Blog
Semper Memoria

It’s hot, and we’re a small group in a parking lot waiting for a group of strangers who are on a wonderful mission. The National EMS Bike Ride is coming thru La Crosse today and the riders will be going to visit the UW Health MedFlight memorial bench at Gundersen Health Systems.

On May 10, 2008 MedFlight lifted off from refueling at the La Crosse airport and sustained an impact with terrain while flying under visual flight rules. There were no survivors. UW Madison Hospital has a beautiful memorial and Gundersen – the receiving facility for the last transported patient flown by the crew that night – has a peaceful garden with a memorial bench.

The National EMS Memorial Bike Ride web page states “The National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, Inc. (NEMSMBR) honors Emergency Medical Services personnel by organizing and implementing long distance cycling events that memorialize and celebrate the lives of those who serve every day, those who have become sick or injured while performing their duties, and those who have died in the line of duty.”  >> Click to read more...

"Standby for Tones" is a monthly 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.

August 8, 2016

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast - Listen now!
Reducing pediatric anxiety during EMS care and transport, new pediatric ambulance stretcher safety restraint

This EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast was Tuesday, July 26.  >> Listen on-demand at http://tobtr.com/9111793.

Our guests included Ben Eithun and Mary Jean Erschen-Cooke, both with the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, and Josh Thibault at J&B Medical Supply.

Pediatric ambulance calls can be challenging.  Ben and Mary Jean offered suggestions to reduce pediatric patient anxiety during care and transport.

J&B Medical Supply just announced they closed a deal with the state of Michigan for 2,000 ambulance stretcher child safety restraints.  Find out more about this new stretcher attachment.

Stay on top of Wisconsin EMS action - listen to EMS Live!

>> Listen on-demand at http://tobtr.com/9111793.

July 25, 2016

Wisconsin Legislature
Fire and EMS Study Committee to hold first meeting July 26

The Legislative Council Study Committee on Volunteer Firefighter and EMT Shortages will hold their first meeting on Tuesday, July 26.  The meeting will be held in Madison, and will begin with a briefing session for public members at 8:30 a.m., and the full study committee at 9:30 a.m.  The study committee was convened by the Wisconsin legislature.   >> Click here to see who is a member of the Study Committee.

The last time a study committee was created to address an EMS issue was 1996, and before that 1992. 

To listen to a recorded webcast with Dr. Marv Birnbaum (picture insert) on Wisconsin's history with EMS study committee's, and past recommendations that included EMS regionalization, click here to listen now

July 20, 2016

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
Using the backboard less.  EMT re-licensing period concluded June 30

>> Listen now at  http://tobtr.com/9081129

Being an EMT or first responder has nonetheless given you the uncomfortable opportunity to be strapped to a backboard, most likely during your initial training or refresher classes.  But, have you ever been strapped to a backboard, placed on an ambulance stretcher and driven down a bumpy two lane road to the hospital?  If not, it might be worth your time to do so on a return trip to the station.  It's probably not as bad as being accidentally shocked by the AED, but I'd put it in the top 5 most uncomfortable treatments we offer in EMS.

During our streamed EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast on Tuesday, July 12 our guests included EMS medical director and author Dr. Keith Wesley on using the backboard less and selective c-spine immobilization, and State of Wisconsin EMS Licensing Manager Helen Pullen with an update on the recent statewide EMT re-licensing period that concluded June 30.

>> Listen to this podcast on-demand at  http://tobtr.com/9081129

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

July 7, 2016

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
EMS Regionalization

By Joe Covelli, PAAW Executive Director

Our most recent EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast regarded EMS regionalization, a topic that has been discussed over the years, but may get new traction with the recent emergence of an appointed legislative council.  The council, which was created under authority of the Wisconsin Legislature, is charged with studying the volunteer firefighter and EMT shortages.  Their first meeting is Tuesday, July 26, with additional meetings scheduled monthly until the end of the year.  >> Click to see who's on the Study Committee.

In 1992, and again in 1996, a legislative council was convened to study the EMT shortage.  The Wisconsin EMS Advisory Board was tasked with writing a report and offering recommendations.  The study and report took six months to write and was delivered on-time to the Wisconsin EMS Bureau.  The Board's recommendation centered around EMS regionalization.  Does EMS regionalization present a solution today?  >> Find out by listening to this podcast.

Our podcast guests included Gold Cross Ambulance Executive Director Mark Fredrickson and Dr. Marv Birnbaum, a longtime advocate for EMS regionalization.

>> Click here to listen now.

June 29, 2016

EMT and First Responder State License Renewal Deadline is June 30

If you'll miss the June 30 deadline you can still re-certify by paying a modest late fee

The 2016 - 2018 Provider License Renewal application for the current two-year biennium is quickly coming to a close as it concludes on June 30.  If you do not renew your EMT or First Responder license by then with the State of Wisconsin EMS Office, you can no longer work on an ambulance, function as an EMS provider or provide patient care.

A person acting or advertising as an EMT or First Responder without a license or certificate issued by the department or without appropriate credentialing may be subject to department action under sub ch. V or s.256.15 (11) (c), (d), or(f), Stats., as applicable."

Any application received after June 30, will be considered a late renewal under DHS 110.09(1):  "An individual may renew a license or certificate that has been expired for less than 6 months by applying to the department for license or certificate renewal as specified under s.DHS 110.07 and submitting the late renewal fee ($50.00)specified under s.DHS 110.16 (1).

To listen to a podcast interview with State of Wisconsin EMS Licensing Coordinator Helen Pullen, >> click here.

For more information,contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Emergency Medical Services Section, 1 West Wilson Street, PO Box 2659, Madison WI 53701-2659, phone 608.266.1568,or go online to http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/.

June 27, 2016

Patrick Ryan elected to Secretary Position with Fire & EMS Legislative Leadership Coalition

Patrick Ryan of Madison was recently named secretary of the Wisconsin Fire & EMS Legislative Leadership Coalition. 

The Coalition is made up of nine statewide public sector groups and state associations that represent all components and facets of fire and emergency medical service interests.  Since 1996 the group has educated and advised policy makers on hundreds of legislative initiatives.  Coalition members represent 40,000 chief officers, firefighters, EMTs, emergency services educators, fire inspectors and arson investigators.

Ryan is president and co-owner of Ryan Brothers Ambulance based in Madison, and also president of the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin.

June 20, 2016

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades passes away

Secretary Rhoades was a strong advocate for EMS

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades died Saturday in Madison after falling ill last week, Governor Scott Walker announced.

Rhoades became the Department of Health Services secretary in February 2013.  Before joining the health agency in January 2011 as its deputy secretary, Rhoades represented the Hudson area as its Assembly representative from 1999 until 2010.  She was co-chairwoman of the powerful Joint Finance Committee is 2007 and 2008.

According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "Secretary Rhoades was a friend and strong advocate for emergency medical services for 17 years.  She could fluently discuss the issues.  One of her sons is a volunteer first responder in Minnesota, and through him she felt a connection to EMS".

When serving as Assembly representative, Rhoades was credited with leading the single paramedic legislative effort in the early 2000's.  The eventual law allowed municipalities the option to staff one paramedic per ambulance, not two as was required back then.  "I recall our conversations about this and how she told me she wasn't giving up this fight to help rural Wisconsin residents get paramedic level care", according to Covelli.  He added, "Once the single paramedic bill became law, she shared with me her Assembly counterparts gave her the nickname "bulldog", because she didn't give up on this issue.  Her devotion to state government and interest in advocating for EMS will be missed".  (Picture insert:  Then DHS Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades welcomes Stars of Life honorees to the State Capitol in October 2011).

Rhoades, 65 years old and a native of Hudson leaves behind a husband and three adult sons.

June 14, 2016

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast

Community Paramedicine expanding at Milwaukee Fire Dept.

New partnership announced with Children's Community Health Plan

>> Click here to listen now!

This EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast was streamed live on Tuesday, June 14.

Our guests included Captain Michael Wright with the Milwaukee Fire Department, Interim President Ibrahim Massalha with Hayat Pharmacies, and Director of Health Plan Clinical Services Lynn Kryfke with Children's Community Health Plan.

Milwaukee Fire Department has positioned Community Paramedicine (CP) as a means to be proactive and address its high-utilizer population.  They've focused on committing MFD resources and continuum of patient care, but it hasn't come without its challenges.  In developing their Community Paramedicine program, they have done a remarkable job in creating partnerships in areas they needed expertise, resources and data.  We learned details in how they directly included pharmacy in their care program, and announced a new initiative with Children's Community Health Plan.

Captain Michael Wright and his counter-parts at MFD have championed CP concepts, while staying in their scope of practice, and continue to lay the ground work for others to consider.

May 25, 2016

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
HIPAA Compliance:  What's changed?

During the EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast on Tuesday, May 24,
our guest was Jeff Grady, Senior Director with Three Pillars Security Solutions in Madison.

>> Click to listen to this podcast.

HIPAA compliance has moved well past simply handing the patient a HIPAA brochure explaining their rights and getting a signature.  HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Conducting a periodic HIPAA Security Risk Analysis is definitely a required mandate of HIPAA compliance for ambulance services as the organization and its employees and volunteers come in contact with ePHI (electronic patient health information).

The developing best practice is to complete a Security Risk Analysis on an annual basis (or after any significant change in your technology environment) due to some relatively recent pronouncements that apply to those organizations who need to comply with ‘meaningful use’ reporting requirements.  As an example, a clinic in Janesville, Wisconsin received a pre-audit HIPPA letter, dated May 25, 2016, from the Department of Health and Human Services.  >> Click to read the letter they received from HHS.

Some of the questions discussed, include:

  1. HIPAA has been around for quite some time now – what’s changed and why is there a renewed sense of urgency in making sure you’re compliant?
  2. What are some basic differences between meeting compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule as compared to the Privacy Rule of HIPAA?
  3. What is ‘willful neglect’ and why is it critical to avoid the potential of being found in ‘willful neglect’ under HIPAA?
  4. If your Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendor states that they meet HIPAA compliance – does that meet your obligation under HIPAA?
  5. What would be the key steps to make sure that you’re meeting “today’s” HIPAA compliance standards?
Co-hosts include Chris Anderson, Joe Covelli, Patrick Ryan, Dan Williams.  >> Click for more information.

Upcoming Events

Current PAAW Priorities
Community Paramedicine Legislation
MABAS/WI Liability Protection Statute 893.80
State Medicaid Reimbursement & MTM
Recognize Do-Not-Resuscitate Pendant

Next EMS Live Podcast

Tuesday, September 13

starting at 9:00 a.m. central time



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)

Most recent EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast - Listen Now!

Emergency calls or patient contacts to PAAW members last year

Over 285,000

>> 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.


Crystal Wallin

Feature writer and La Crosse Paramedic

Recent blog posts by Crystal: Standby for Tones

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)

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