• Home

PAAW is dedicated to healthy, sustainable ambulance and emergency medical service delivery in Wisconsin

Patrick Ryan, PAAW President
>> Read welcome letter

Current News and Information from PAAW

April 25, 2017

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast
Milwaukee County Puts End to Hospital ER Diversions by Ambulances

Successful report tied to core value of patient-centered EMS delivery

>> Click for on-demand playback and listen now!

What started decades ago throughout Milwaukee County EMS as a seemingly well-intended policy to divert ambulances to less crowded hospital emergency departments now represented an opportunity to realign patient-centered EMS delivery within the context of a changing health care landscape.

According to Milwaukee County EMS Medical Director Dr. Mario Colella, "In the era of diversion, we noticed when one hospital went on diversion other surrounding hospitals soon followed, patient satisfaction diminished and ambulances were forced to drive further away from their communities.  Most importantly, patients that were sick were denied access to the closest emergency care".

With the phased in policy, ambulance diversion officially ended April 1, 2016, in Milwaukee County.  Now, a report has been authored on the outcomes from the policy change.  >> Click to review the report's executive summary.

The podcast was recorded on April 25.  Guests included Milwaukee County Emergency Management Director Christine Westrich, Milwaukee County EMS Medical Director Dr. Mario Colella and Milwaukee County Emergency Management Program Director Ken Sternig.  >> Click for on-demand playback and listen now!

The following questions were discussed:

  1. What is the history of Hospital Diversion and why is "non-diversion better?
  2. How did Milwaukee County coordinate this among paramedics, hospitals, etc.? 
  3. Did you stage the approach or go cold-turkey on the actual operations?
  4. Did the data show what you expected -- has there been any fallout or successes?
  5. What's next for the Milwaukee County EMS System?

EMS Live in Wisconsin is broadcast live on the phone and via the internet the second and fourth Tuesday every month starting at 9:00 a.m. and typically running 30 minutes. 

Don't miss a beat of the action - listen to EMS Live in Wisconsin.  >> Click for past show archive.

April 5, 2017

State Capitol
Assembly votes unanimously to approve Community Paramedicine Bill

Bill moves to Senate, to hold public hearing soon.

The Community Paramedicine Bill, >> AB151, received unanimous vote of approval by the full Assembly at the State Capitol on April 4.  Assembly Amendment 1 was adopted and passed.  >> Review Community Paramedicine Bill -
Assembly Amendment 1.

During the Assembly's Committee on Health public hearing on March 22, Dana Sechler, EMS director at the Baraboo District Ambulance Service, said "Community EMS fills the "gaps or voids where there is a need.  Their efforts can help hospitals avoid penalties for re-admissions". 

Captain Michael Wright of the Milwaukee Fire Department shared with members of the Assembly's Committee on Health that he helped develop the city's community paramedic program three years ago.  The department, which has about 30 trained paramedics, focuses not only on preventing re-admissions, but also to help those who frequent emergency rooms for their healthc
are. The program is funded by the city of Milwaukee.   He said the program was needed because "there's so many gaps."
Captain Wright, photo insert, stated during the public hearing, "For eighteen years, I've been responding to people and knowing that they needed more. They weren't getting it from the hospitals, they weren't getting it from the doctors. They couldn't get it from us because we don't have time. The program helps provide that care, he said".

According to PAAW Lobbyist Michael Brozek, "This is a very, very fast tracked piece of legislation...unusually fast."

Minnesota Ambulance Association Lobbyist Buck McAlpin also shared on news about the Assembly's vote, "Very few states have formalized this
(Community Paramedicine) into law - a very nice win."  McAlpin was instrumental in Minnesota passing Community Paramedicine legislation in 2011.

Now, the bill heads to the Senate.  The companion bill in the Senate is known as >> SB149.  It was read for the first time before the full Senate on March 29, and then referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services for a public hearing.
April 3, 2017

State Capitol
Full Assembly to vote on Community Paramedicine Bill Tuesday, April 4

Senate to hold first public hearing on Thursday, April 6.

The Community Paramedicine Bill received a public hearing on March 22 and unanimous vote of approval on March 29 from the Assembly's Committee on Health.  Now, the bill goes before the full Assembly at the State Capitol and is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, April 4.  The bill is known as AB151 and is sponsored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck.

It is anticipated the Assembly will vote in favor of the Community Paramedicine Bill.  The companion bill in the Senate, known as SB24, is tentatively scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate on Thursday, April 6.  >> Click to download Senate Community Paramedicine Bill SB149.

Recent Podcast on Community Paramedicine

>> Click to listen now.

This EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast was recorded on Tuesday, March 28, and was dedicated to Community Paramedicine.  Guests included Minnesota Ambulance Association Legislative Lobbyist Buck McAlpin and PAAW President Patrick Ryan.  >> Download the podcast at http://tobtr.com/9900319.

Community Paramedic Training Program - Offered by the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Using the North Central EMS Curriculum, a Community Paramedic Program is offered through the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.  The program provides all required content for the Community Paramedic including:
  • Core content specific to the Role of the Community Paramedic
  • Content specific to Community and Public Health
  • Cultural Competency Community Assessment
  • Chronic Disease Assessment, Teaching and Management
For more information >> click here or contact Dr. Kim Litwack, Program Director at 414-229-4189 or email litwack@uwm.edu.

March 27, 2017

State Legislation
Assembly's Committee on Health to vote on Community Paramedicine Bill

Following a public hearing on March 22 at the State Capitol, the Assembly's Committee on Health called an executive session to vote on AB151, the Community Paramedicine Bill.  The executive session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 29 starting at 11:00 a.m. in room 328 Northwest at the State Capitol.  >> Click for the meeting agenda.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) recently released a report detailing the fiscal impact to the Department of Health (DHS) in adding an endorsement for Community EMT and Community Paramedic.  According to the report, to implement the endorsement, provide training and maintain the standard of 60 days or less to process licenses, operation plans and protocols, DHS would require one additional full-time coordinator at $80,300 GPR.  In addition, there are two minor one-time setup fees totaling $7,500.  >> Click to review the DOA fiscal estimate.

The Community Paramedicine / Mobile Integrated Healthcare Bill is sponsored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck.  >> 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".

For current insights into what EMS Today conference attendees had to recently share about Community Paramedicine and Mobile Integrated Healthcare program ideas, click here.

Recent Podcast on Community Paramedicine

>> Click to listen now.

This EMS Live in Wisconsin podcast was recorded on Tuesday, March 28, and was dedicated to Community Paramedicine.  Guests included Minnesota Ambulance Association Legislative Lobbyist Buck McAlpin and PAAW President Patrick Ryan.  >> Download the podcast at http://tobtr.com/9900319.

About Buck McAlpin
Minnesota is a leading state in Community Paramedicine, with its bill signed into law in 2011.  Buck 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 27, 2017

Standby for Tones Blog
Germany - & "Irish mayonnaise"

They only moved here a month ago, she says. It’s quite dark outside and you can’t tell it’s foggy unless you catch a glimpse of the misty haze in the glow of the passing small town streetlights. From another part of the state, they loved the topography of the bluffs that line the mighty Mississippi in our driftless region. The coulees stretch fingers up among the gentle swells of the bluffs, and in the warmer months the surface of the water is glassy and rippling, in turns. They knew exactly where they wanted to move when they retired, and just under a month ago they made my region of Wisconsin their permanent home. When she speaks of the views she enjoys from their new home, her face lights up and she beams. The joy is incongruous in its juxtaposition next to the ecchymosis evident on her eyelid and surrounding tissues which occlude her vision on one side.

The Badgers played awhile back and lost the game to the Gators in the last 4 seconds. She and her hubby haven’t really met anyone here yet, so they enjoyed a couple beers at home. Unused to the unfamiliar home, she stumbled in the dusk afterward and lost her footing. A retired healthcare provider, she chalked up her subsequent pain and stiffness as just a result of tumbling down some stairs. Time went by, the sun rose, she began to admit that it was more than pain and stiffness. Listening to her history of the events, I’m struck by her strength. The paperwork accompanying her lists a fracture as well as an anteriorly displaced shoulder dislocation – in the same upper extremity as the ecchymosis. A reduction attempted was unsuccessful due to some myoclonus and trismus evidenced after administration of etomidate. I’m currently transporting her to a larger facility for further care.

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

"Standby for Tones" is a 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.

March 25, 2017

Community Awareness
National EMS Week May 21 - 27

National EMS Week will be celebrated nationwide this year Sunday, May 21 to Saturday, May 27.  Wednesday, May 24 is Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day.

The opportunity brings with it local awareness of emergency medical services, and quite often includes community open houses, volunteer recruitment and hiring drives, and opportunities for appreciation, recognition and goodwill.

The 2017 theme is "EMS STRONG:  Always in Service".

National EMS Week was established by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and is in partnership with the National Association of EMTs.

For this year's planning kit or more information, go to >> http://www.emsstrong.org/.

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.

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

2017 Stars of Life Awards
Nomination Period Open
May 21 to August 14, 2017

Stars of Life Dinner and Awards Program
September 21, 2017
Tundra Lodge & Convention Center, Green Bay

>> Click for 2017 Nomination Web Page and Event Information

2015 Stars of Life Honorees

Next EMS Live Podcast

Tuesday, May 9

starting at 9:00 a.m. central time


Ambulance Medicare Fraud

Attorney Wendy Arends
Godfrey & Kahn, Madison

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

Home  l  Stars of Life  l  EMS to the Point  l  EMS Live in Wisconsin  l  Business Partners  l  Jobs Board  l  Site Map  l  Contact Us

Copyright © 2017.  Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

PAAW Endorsed

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software