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Patrick Ryan, PAAW President
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Current News and Information from PAAW

March 22, 2017

Two respected Wisconsin EMS icons announce retirements

By Joe Covelli, PAAW Executive Director

We've all attended luncheons, potlucks and parties when co-workers leave their current jobs for something else - an internal promotion, another company, retirement or next adventure.  I usually get mixed emotions at events like this, because it means things will never be the same.  As is customary, you extend well wishes and good luck on their next endeavor.  People, events and circumstances change - and so must we.  Some change is for the better, but other change I wish never happened.

In the past couple of months, I've received emails from two individuals I've admired and  respected for a number of years - not only professionally in EMS, but in their personal character too.  Jim Singer and Dan Williams, two Wisconsin EMS icons in my humble opinion, recently announced their retirements.  They've both dedicated their life's work and careers to EMS - Jim with 31 years of service to Flight For Life, Dan with over 45 years in EMS.  EMS in Wisconsin is in a better place because of their leadership, vision and commitment.

Jim Singer recently announced his retirement, effective March 31, as System Transport Director following a 31 year career at Flight For Life, Milwaukee.

Jim joined Flight For Life in 1986 as a Flight Nurse. He became the Chief Flight Nurse in 1991 and transitioned to his current position in 2001. Under Jim’s tenure, Flight For Life has purchased new aircraft, made significant upgrades to its remaining fleet and added an additional base of operations in the City of Fond du Lac Wisconsin. Flight For Life has completed over 33,000 safe transports since it began operations as the first air medical service in Wisconsin in 1983.

Dan Williams retired as Director at Emergency Services of Door County in Sturgeon Bay, on January 12, 2017. 

In 2013, he announced early retirement as Director at UW Health's MedFlight, Madison, and relocated to Sturgeon Bay.  Soon after his early retirement was announced from MedFlight, Dan was asked to serve again as Director at Emergency Services of Door County - a familiar location to him since he was their director for 30 years.  He's held previous leadership positions with Flight For Life and Paratech Ambulance Service, both in Milwaukee, and for a number of years has provided EMS consulting to many Wisconsin ambulance services.

Dan was instrumental in shaping EMS through his leadership as state of Wisconsin EMS Advisory Board chairman from 1992 to 2005, a Governor appointed position, and as State of Wisconsin EMS section chief. 

Since 1986, Dan has been a lead organizer of the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin (PSOW), an annual conference for those with ambulance service and EMS leadership responsibilities as administrators, owners, chiefs, officers, directors, managers and medical directors. The September 2017 conference will mark the 30th anniversary for PSOW.

March 20, 2017

Community Paramedicine Bill Introduced in State Assembly, Referred to Committee on Health

The long awaited Community Paramedicine / Mobile Integrated Healthcare Bill was read for the first time before the Wisconsin Assembly at the State Capitol on March 17, and then referred to the Committee on Health.  The bill is sponsored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck.  Wisconsin's fire and EMS stakeholder groups, to include PAAW, have worked diligently the past three or more years on drafting the bill.  >> Click for the Community Paramedicine Bill (AB151).

According to PAAW President Patrick Ryan, "PAAW, along with State stakeholders have worked long and hard to get this important legislation to this point. We are optimistic about support throughout the state for the establishment of a framework for the development of Community Paramedic programs across the state".

The Community Paramedicine Bill, known in the Assembly as AB151, now moves to the Committee on Health for review and public comment.  The first public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, starting at 10:00 AM in room 225 Northwest.  >> Click for the Committee on Health's public hearing agenda.

Upcoming Podcast on Community Paramedicine - Tuesday, March 28 at 9:00 a.m.

The next EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast on Tuesday, March 28, is dedicated to Community Paramedicine.  Guests include Minnesota Ambulance Association Legislative Lobbyist Buck McAlpin and PAAW President Patrick Ryan.  Listen live by calling 646-929-1081, or on the internet at this link >> http://tobtr.com/9900319.  The program is broadcast live from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Minnesota is a leading state in Community Paramedicine, with its bill signed into law in 2011.  McAlpin was instrumental in the bill passing in Minnesota, and has consulted with PAAW and other ambulance services in Wisconsin intending to deliver Community Paramedicine in the badger state.  McAlpin's employer, North Memorial Medical Center, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, offered a two-day class in September 2015 for Wisconsin's ambulance services and other healthcare providers to review their operation and stats, to meet those delivering out-of-hospital Community Paramedicine care, and help these organizations begin to lay the groundwork for Community Paramedicine in their own community.

March 14, 2017

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
EMS care of the kidney dialysis patient

>> Click to listen now!

March is Kidney Awareness Month. Our guest on the March 14th EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast was Dr. Ashraf El-Meanawy, Director of Dialysis at Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Even though only .5% of the population is diagnosed with kidney disease, these patients account for 4% of the federal Medicare budget.

We discus
  • What makes a dialysis patient different from a regular pre-hospital EMS patient?
  • Are dialysis patients at higher risk for cardiac arrest and why?
  • What are pit-falls EMS personnel can fall into when responding to a call for a dialysis patient?
>> Click to listen now!

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

March 1, 2017

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcasts
Podcasts focus on federal and state EMS priorities, funding, proposed legislation

Wisconsin EMS Advisory Board update from Chairman Jerry Biggart and committee member Dana Sechler.  Patrick Ryan discussed Community Pararmedicine legislation being introduced soon at the State Capitol.  >> Click to listen now!

Making Medicare "Add-on Payments" Permanent with American Ambulance Association Senior VP of Government Affairs Tristan North, Washington, D.C.  Medicare payments account for a minimum of 50% of an ambulance service's payer mix.  >> Click to listen now!

State EMS Office Updates about new regional coordinators, changes to FAP funding with State EMS Director James Newlun.  >> Click to listen now!

Listen live to EMS Live in Wisconsin podcasts the second and fourth Tuesday every month starting at 9:00 a.m. and running thirty minutes.  >> Click for the past show archive. 

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

February 25, 2017

Standby for Tones Blog
Hello, my name is...

He’s seen a few presidents, and he’s known a few good decades. Right now, he’s hanging out with me, because his head laceration is impressive. Fire did a great job of bandaging the wound up, but no one’s addressed the puddle of blood just yet. His speech is slurred, refined but slurred. I’m making his acquaintance as I put on my three lead, take my first blood pressure, scope out the oxygen saturation level. Everything checks out within normal parameters, so I press on. No odor of alcohol, blood sugar also within what I’d like to see. He cocks his head, then, looks at me.

“I sound funny.”

“Funny ha, ha?” I ask lightly, carefully watching him. 

“My words – like I’ve been drinking. I haven’t been.”

There it is, then. Altered from his baseline – and he knows it. Assessment continues, he denies loss of consciousness, denies any neck pain, CMS is intact, on down the line. Cervical collar in place, we assist him to a standing position and with the cot positioned behind, guide him to be seated. Securing him with straps, wheeling him to the truck, loading him within. Once inside, transport begins as secondary assessment shows no new findings. Eyes equal, round and reactive to light – I go on down the familiar road of assessment. I keep up a light banter about the weather, the circumstances surrounding the purpose of my arrival at his home today. I circle back around some details so he ends up re-answering questions he’s already answered. His answers remain on point, consistent.

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

"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.

February 8, 2017

Wisconsin Legislature
Joint Legislative Council meets, votes on draft bills to remedy EMT shortage

Following five months of meetings by the Legislative Study Committee on Volunteer Firefighter and EMT Shortages, the very group that created the Study Committee, the Joint Legislative Council, acted on the Study Committee's recommendations February 1.

In the end, seven pieces of draft bill legislation were considered by the Joint Legislative Council, with six bill drafts approved for introduction to the full legislature by the Joint Legislative Council.  The only bill draft to not be approved involved creation of a fire service district authorizing the district to levy a property tax and impose special charges.   >> Click to review draft bill legislation voted on by the Joint Legislative Council. 

According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "It was apparent anything with a fiscal note or tax wasn't being considered or moved forward, so that really handcuffed the Study Committee.  The legislative bill drafts to address the EMT volunteer shortage are largely centered around three main themes:  license renewal, income tax and length of service credits, and adding first responders to the Funding Assistance Program.  These measures may help if they become law, but is it enough to increase firefighter and EMT recruitment and retention?  Time will tell."  Covelli added, "I think we still need to look at how EMS is delivered and better resource management.  That's on us as an industry to work together and figure out".

Legislative action as of February 9, 2017:

Proposal: SB24 (-1713) View Bill History
relating to: terminology change and corrections for emergency medical technicians and first responders.

2/8/2017: Read first time and referred to Committee on Health and Human Services
Proposal: SB27 (-0246) View Bill History
relating to: intravenous technician endorsement for emergency medical technicians.

2/8/2017: Read first time and referred to Committee on Health and Human Services
Proposal: SB28 (-0247) View Bill History
relating to: licensure or certificate renewal for certain emergency medical services personnel.

2/8/2017: Read first time and referred to Committee on Health and Human Services
Proposal: SB29 (-0589) View Bill History
relating to: funding for first responder and emergency medical technician training and certification and making an appropriation.

2/8/2017: Read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
Proposal: AB59 (-0790) View Bill History
relating to: terminology change and corrections for emergency medical technicians and first responders.

2/8/2017: Representative Steffen added as a coauthor

February 8, 2017

EMS Product Savings
Naloxone (Narcan) rebate renewed for an additional 12-months by Wisconsin Dept. of Justice

Deadline to submit recent three-month purchase rebate is March 31, 2017

Attorney General Brad Schimel announced February 1, he has renewed the State’s agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, which established a rebate program for the heroin and prescription painkiller antidote naloxone. Naloxone, often branded as Narcan, can be administered as a nasal spray or injection and works within minutes to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“When an individual has overdosed on prescription painkillers or heroin, we only have a few minutes to intervene and save that person’s life,” said Attorney General Schimel. “I appreciate Amphastar’s willingness to partner with the State and provide those on the frontlines of this battle with financial relief.”
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals has agreed to continue providing a $6 rebate for each Amphastar naloxone syringe purchased by public entities in Wisconsin from now until February 1, 2018.

“Since 2013, we have been working to expand access to lifesaving opioid antagonists like naloxone,” said Rep. John Nygren. “While these medications can be expensive, our state has worked with Amphastar on an agreement that ensures the affordability of these important medications. Measures like this save lives, and I’m looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues, the medical community, law enforcement and the Attorney General, and recovery advocates statewide on more efforts that will help combat Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic.”
State, county, and local government agencies, as well as law enforcement and other public and government entities that distribute naloxone are eligible for the Amphastar naloxone rebate.

The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) was instrumental in bringing the Narcan rebate program to Wisconsin in 2016, and working closely with Attorney General Brad Schimel's office.
More information can be obtained from the DOJ website at https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-renews-rebate-agreement-manufacturer-lifesaving-opiate-antidote

Purchases made between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017, qualify for the rebate under the previous contract; however, to receive a rebate check a DOJ approved form must be submitted no later than March 31, 2017.  
To claim the rebate or learn more about it, refer to the links below.

>> Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Contract
>> Naloxone Rebate - Press Release
>> Naloxone Rebate Instructions
>> Naloxone Rebate Account Form
>> Naloxone Purchase Summary Rebate Form (Quarter 4 - Nov, Dec, Jan)

n Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the first rebate program on March 23, 2016, during a press conference at Ryan Brothers Ambulance, Madison.

>> Click for more information about the DOJ announcement and rebate program.

February 6, 2017

State EMS Section Updates
Podcast Interview:  State EMS Director James Newlun shares updates on regional coordinators, FAP funding

>>  Click to listen now on-demand.

On January 24, State of Wisconsin EMS Director James Newlun, photo insert, joined PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli for an EMS to the Point podcast.  The podcast is just over 25 minutes.

The interview offers an update on several important topics.  They discussed: 

  • Changes to the Funding Assistance Program (FAP),
  • Adding two new regional coordinators to staff and changing staff responsibilities to operate in regions versus past practice by level of license,
  • Recent work by the Legislative Study Committee and pending introduction of EMS legislation by the Legislative Council,
  • EMT and First Responder renewals, and
  • Upcoming deadlines in transitioning to WARDS Elite.

>>  Click to listen now on-demand.

Legislative Study Committee listserv email created

Signup today to stay informed!

The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, has created a listserv email group dedicated to the firefighter and EMT volunteer shortage discussions currently taking place.  Signup to receive Legislative Study Committee updates, share your ideas and weigh in on the topic.

According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "The listserv offers an immediate email communications link for those who would like to participate and stay on top of the latest information being discussed, recommended and decided.  We are coming to a point very soon when legislation is going to be introduced and debated".  Covelli added, "This is a pivotal time for the EMS and fire industry and communities they serve - ambulance services and fire departments need to pay attention to what is happening".

To subscribe to the listserv, click on the link below and enter your name and email address.  Link:  https://lists.wisc.edu/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=volunteer.  You may unsubscribe at any time.

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

Next EMS Live Podcast

Tuesday, March 28

starting at 9:00 a.m. central time


Community Paramedicine

Buck McAlpin, Lobbyist with the Minnesota Ambulance Association

Patrick Ryan, President, Professional Ambulance Association of WI

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 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.


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)

Winamp Aplha Display

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