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Patrick Ryan, PAAW President
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Current News and Information from PAAW

August 28, 2015

CMS says they're ready for ICD-10 roll-out Oct. 1

Ambulance providers and billers should be prepared too!

As ambulance providers around the country brace for the Oct. 1 conversion to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is reporting positive results from the final round of end-to-end testing of the Medicare claims processing system. 

Overall, the CMS reported an 87% acceptance rate on 29,286 claims received. 

What does this mean for your local ambulance service? According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "The need for excellent patient care documentation by EMTs and Paramedics, so the correct billing code can be applied to a largely expanded list of complex codes.  The other important item is ambulance billers must test and be ready to go with compliant ICD-10 software on October 1. The last thing anyone wants is a payment delay or rejection by CMS."

>> Click for information on ICD-10

>> Click for PAAW's webcast, completed in 2012, about the upcoming ICD-10 conversion that is still relevant today.

Source:  American Ambulance Association

August 26, 2015

Remembering EMS Response to Hurricanes Katrina & Rita

The American Ambulance Association honors the EMTs, Paramedics, dispatchers, and leaders of the dozens of ambulance services who answered America’s most desperate call for help.

Ten years ago, in August and September of 2005, the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated over 93,000 square miles across 138 counties and parishes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Together, the two storms caused $150+ billion dollars in damage and resulted in the deaths of more than 1800 people. Within this tragic narrative, the rapid and effective mobilization of EMS—particularly private EMS—stands out as an incredible accomplishment in disaster response and humanitarian relief.

August 24, 2015

First Responder as "Legal Ambulance Crew Member" getting closer to reality in Wisconsin

It seems apparent the Wisconsin legislature is well on its way to taking steps to allow First Responders to operate as one member of a two-person ambulance crew in the state. 

The measure is designed to help communities, typically in the rural areas of Wisconsin, struggling to meet current minimum staffing requirements of two EMT-Basics, to get their local ambulance out-the-door and to the location of a 911 call.  Neither Senate or Assembly bills attempt to place restrictions on a community’s ability to use a First Responder, because of population size or area in the state.  Thus far, the only requirement in both bills is an EMT-Basic or higher credentialed crew member is to be in the patient compartment of the ambulance during transport.

On August 18, the Assembly’s Committee on Health held a public meeting at the State Capitol.  Those who registered and spoke at the public meeting seemed to do so in favor of proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 213.  No one opposed it.  The Senate approved its version, Senate Bill 143, on June 9.

We’ll cover this topic in more detail during the live program of “Wisconsin EMS Live” webcast on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 starting at 9:00 a.m.  Dial-in using 646-929-1081, or listen on any internet connected device at http://tobtr.com/7870921.

August 24, 2015

PAAW changing "Wisconsin EMS Live" webcast name at the request of WEMSA

The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) recently received a demand letter from the Wisconsin EMS Association’s (WEMSA) attorney, that it cease using the name, “Wisconsin EMS Live” for its monthly webcast due to a potential likelihood of confusion between “Wisconsin EMS Live” and WEMSA’s registered service mark “Wisconsin EMS Association.”  

PAAW disagrees with WEMSA’s position and believes it would be able to mount a successful defense of the “Wisconsin EMS Live” name on the grounds WEMSA is attempting to assert its service mark by also claiming the broadly used industry reference “Wisconsin EMS”.  Given these facts, information, and in consultation with its attorneys, PAAW has decided to change the name of its popular webcast rather than engage in what could be a long and expensive legal battle between the two organizations.

Since PAAW’s monthly webcast, Wisconsin EMS Live, debuted in March 2015, over 3,700 listeners have either listened live or downloaded an episode of the show. The webcast’s content, co-hosts, guests, and listeners make the program what it is and the early success it has experienced, not the program’s name.

Listen to PAAW’s next webcast on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 starting at 9:00 a.m. as they unveil the new name for their webcast.  Dial-in using 646-929-1081, or listen on any internet connected device at http://tobtr.com/7870921.

August 21, 2015

First community paramedicine clinic opens in state

On August 20, WKOW-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, posted an interview and news video highlighting the opening of Wisconsin's first community paramedicine clinic, with more still to come.

After seeing a previous news story this past April on community pararmedicine, Ryan Brothers Ambulance was contacted by apartment managers at a complex in Madison. They invited Ryan Brothers to open an on-site clinic to benefit their residents.

According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "Isn't it great to see how the community responded by seeing an opportunity to use community paramedicine, a new and emerging concept, to benefit its residents with an on-site clinic.  There are all kinds of healthcare needs that go unmet everyday in Wisconsin - community pararmedicine is about filling those gaps".

August 20, 2015

Finally!  EMS performance measures

>> Click to download this webcast.

What does performance measurement have to do with EMS?  According to EMS Compass, a performance based initiative, it has everything to do with improving patient care and demonstrating value.

Unfortunately, data collection and performance measures haven’t been part of EMS’ vocabulary.  It is true it’s been hard to measure performance and come up with the right tool that wasn’t labor intensive.  Some ambulance services have a formal process to collect data, but many don’t.  The Wisconsin Ambulance Run Data System, commonly known as WARDS, is an option.  Some have simply relied on what others gave them – like on-scene time reports from dispatch, or scene to balloon time for a stemi patient brought to the CATH Lab. 

According to Dia Gainor with the National Association of State EMS Officials, “Measuring performance is the first step toward improving it.”  I couldn’t agree with her more. 

Currently, there is a national project underway to fund EMS Compass, an initiative to develop performance measures specific to EMS.  They are making great strides with a team of 50 software developers – many of whom are volunteering their time.   Nick Nudell is the project manager.  Let’s find out what he has to say in this episode of EMS to the Point.

>> Click to download this webcast.

August 12, 2015

Governor's signature makes TRIP bill officially law

PAAW led initiative allows all Wisconsin ambulance services to use TRIP.

By Patrick Ryan, President, Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin

The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) is very pleased to announce that on August 6, 2015, Governor Scott Walker signed Act 59 into law. This law allows counties and municipalities to certify private debts owed to private ambulance services operating on behalf of a county or municipality to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR). PAAW has worked diligently on this piece of legislation since 2008.

The financial stability of Wisconsin’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is vital to the health and well-being of all citizens of our state. This expansion of the Tax Refund Interception Program (TRIP) will help support the entire EMS system and will significantly enhance services’ ability to collect reimbursement for services provided. PAAW wishes to thank Representative Paul Tittle (R-Manitowoc) and Senator Shelia Harsdorf (R-River Falls) for their assistance and support of this effort. 

>> Click to read Act 59 (2015 Senate Bill 40 - TRIP) signed into law by Governor Scott Walker

August 11, 2015

PAAW announces 2015 Stars of Life honorees

The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin is pleased to announce the 2015 group of Wisconsin Stars of Life honorees, individuals who represent the best-of-the best in our industry as nominated by their respective department or organization.  

Twenty-seven honorees will be presented with awards and recognition at two events in Green Bay.  The first is a welcome reception at Lambeau Field Atrium on September 23.  The second is the dinner and awards program during the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference on September 24.  Each nominee is also invited to the Wisconsin State Capitol this fall.  One person from the group will advance to represent Wisconsin at the National Stars of Life ceremony in Washington, D.C. in April 2016.

2015 Wisconsin Stars of Life honorees include:

David Allen nominated by Amherst Fire District/Portage County EMS

Susan Armstrong-Schlegal nominated by Saukville Fire Department

Dr. Charles Cady nominated by the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin

Tyler Christifulli nominated by Lifestar Emergency Medical Services

Julie Dehne nominated by Valders Ambulance

Dan Diestler nominated by County Rescue Services

Marlene Dirkes nominated by Gold Cross Ambulance / Mayo Clinic Medical Transport

Clayton Emons nominated by Gold Cross Ambulance Fox Valley

Deonne Eske nominated by Ashippun Fire Department

Kelsey Esser nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Kevin King nominated by Shawano Ambulance Service

Matthew Koepp nominated by Baraboo District Ambulance

Thomas Konieczka nominated by Greenfield Fire Department

Larry Krueger nominated by the Town of Sheboygan First Responders. 

Jon Masi nominated by Paratech Ambulance

Buck McAlpin nominated by the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin

Beth Morando nominated by Ryan Brothers Ambulance

James Poltrock nominated by Kenosha Fire Department

David Robbins nominated by Ryan Brothers Ambulance

Nick Romenesko nominated by Gold Cross Ambulance Fox Valley

Amy Smith nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Dr. Steven Stroman nominated by De Pere Fire Rescue

Chad Strzyzewski nominated by Meda-Care Ambulance

Rebecca Versey nominated by Orange Cross Ambulance

Christoph Walters nominated by Paratech Ambulance

Amy Zehr nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Walt Zehr nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

August 11, 2015

Listen now to the Wisconsin EMS Live broadcast from August 11

>>Click to listen now http://tobtr.com/7772401

Our guest from 9:05 to 9:20 a.m. was new Wisconsin EMS/Trauma Medical Director Dr. Suzanne Martens.

From 9:20 to 10:00 a.m. we discussed the latest news and information taking place throughout EMS in Wisconsin, and also open the phone lines and email inbox for your questions.  Some of our topics included:

  • Announcement of people being honored in September 2015 as Wisconsin Stars of Life
  • Governor Scott Walker signing into law TRIP to benefit all Wisconsin ambulance services
  • Allowing first responders to operate as an ambulance legal crew member
  • CPR / cardiac arrest save at the Wisconsin State Fair
  • Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference agenda and schedule

Program co-hosts included Chris Anderson, Joe Covelli and Patrick Ryan

Listen to previous programs in the archive.  Some of the topics include identifying drug diversion, community paramedicine, the evolution of paramedics with Randolph Mantooh (aka John Gage from EMERGENCY!) and others.

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

July 24, 2015

Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin September 23 to 25

Conference registration is now open at www.psow.org

The 28th annual Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference is September 23 to 25 at the Tundra Lodge and Convention Center in Green Bay.

The original intent was to provide education for the new Paramedic systems throughout Wisconsin, specifically for Service Directors, Medical Directors and Training Centers.  Organizers Dan Williams and Cal Lintz have held true to that mission.  However, the PSOW Conference format is not limited to paramedic providers, but all license levels.   PSOW is recognized as one of the top conferences for EMS and ambulance administrative personnel.

Some of the presentation topics include:

  • Fraud & Medicare Compliance (Thomas Shorter, Attorney, Godfrey & Kahn, Madison)
  • Community Paramedicine (Buck McAlpin, Vice President of Strategic Affairs, North Memorial Medical Center, Robbinsdale, MN, and Senior Lobbyist, Minnesota Ambulance Association)
  • Controlled Substances (Kathy Frederico, Wisconsin Drug Diversion Supervisor, Drug Enforcement Agency, Milwaukee)
  • Mission Life Line (Mic Gunderson)
  • Medical Directors Report (Dr. Suzanne Martens, Wisconsin EMS/Trauma Medical Director)
>> Click to be redirected to the PSOW website.

>> Click for the conference agenda.

Upcoming Events

Current PAAW Priorities

Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP) (Completed 8/6/2015, Signed into law by Governor Scott Walker)
Community Paramedicine / Mobile Integrated Healthcare
Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct (REPLICA)
Stars of Life 2015 Awards and Recognition Event
Collaboration with Dept of Health Services/EMS Office

WI Medicaid Patient Transportation Rates

Wisconsin Stars of Life 2015

Honors to be presented September 23 and 24 in Green Bay, WI

>> Click for Stars of Life 2015 webpage.

Next Live Show

Tuesday, September 8 

starting at 9:00 a.m. central time


Treating CHF patients with better results (Tyler Christifulli, Training Coordinator, Lifestar EMS, West Bend, WI)

First Responder as legal ambulance crew member

ICD-10 compliance code change in October 2015 creates need for better patient documentation

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.

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.  >> C lick to get started.

Finally!  EMS data performance measures

Posted 8-20-2015
Run Time 21 min:19 sec


Nick Nudell
EMS Compass Initiative Project Manager, National Association of State EMS Officials

>> Click for the newest audio webcast or review the library of previous ones.

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

Crystal Wallin

Wisconsin Critical Care Paramedic and Nationally Featured Writer

Recent blog posts by Crystal: Standby for Tones

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