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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

June 30, 2015

State's EMS Section makes personnel announcements

On Monday, June 29 Jennifer Ullsvik, Director for the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Health Care at the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health, shared two announcements in hiring an EMS Section Chief and EMS/Trauma Medical Director.  A third staffing change was also announced separately.

EMS Section Chief

Mr. James Newlun was named the new Wisconsin EMS Section Chief with a start date of July 13.  The position has been vacant since April 2014 and was posted three separate times during the past twelve months.

Since 2002, Mr. Newlun has been an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with Camp Douglas Rescue. As EMT President, he was responsible for all operations, coordination of meetings, and employee/employer relations.  Since 2008, Mr. Newlun has been employed as a full-time firefighter at the Volk Field Fire Department in Camp Douglas. While acting in the capacity of Captain he was responsible for completion of daily assignments, and responses to emergencies.

From 2000 – 2011, Mr. Newlun was a member of the Camp Douglas Fire Department and Chief of the Department from 2008 – 2011.  He was responsible for managing and directing scenes as an Incident Commander, developing and maintaining the annual budget, and making all fire department purchases.  In addition, he managed up to 25 fire department personnel. 

From 2001 – 2010, Mr. Newlun was a Hazmat Technician and Safety Officer with the Juneau County Hazmat team, where he directed and coordinated functions of a comprehensive health and safety program.

In addition, Mr. Newlun has experience working with diverse community partners and grant writing. He has also served on the SCRTAC Executive Council for the past two years as the Rural Representative.

EMS/Trauma Medical Director

Ms. Ullsvik also named Dr. Suzanne Martens as the new Wisconsin EMS/Trauma Medical Director beginning July 1, 2015.  She replaces Dr. Charles Cady who served as state EMS Medical Director since 2008.  Dr. Cady's contract expires June 30, 2015.

Dr. Martens received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she also completed Residency.  A Fellowship in Emergency Medical Services was completed at Carolinas Medical Center in North Carolina.  Dr. Martens also has a Master of Public Health degree, and has been a licensed EMT for over 27 years.

Dr. Martens is currently the EMS and Trauma Program Medical Director at a Level III trauma facility.  For 15 years, Dr. Martens has served as the medical director for several local agencies and has the opportunity to work with all levels of EMS providers, career and volunteer, fire-based and private agencies. 

EMS education is important to Dr. Martens.  She is actively involved in the education of current and new EMTs. She visits new classes at the local technical college, serves as an adjunct instructor, and regularly sponsors education evenings for the EMS personnel in her area.

Dr. Martens has been a member of the EMS Physician Advisory Committee (PAC) since 2001 and the committee’s chair since 2008.  She has been involved in the trauma system since 2003, is an active member of the Southeast Regional Trauma Advisory Council (SERTAC), and served as its chair from 2008-2010.  

Fred Hornby leaving State's EMS Section in July

In a separate, but somewhat related announcement, the Wisconsin EMS Association shared news on June 29 Mr. Fred Hornby, the state's Paramedic and EMS Education Coordinator, will be leaving his position next month.  The  announcement by WEMSA indicated Mr. Hornby will serve as their Sales and Conference Manager.  His duties begin in mid-July and he will manage all aspects of the annual conference and sales operations, as well as the public relations and outreach program.

According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "Fred is one of the most passionate and dedicated EMS persons we've had the opportunity to work with.  His presence will be missed at the state's EMS office as we and many others could always count on him and his involvement and professional guidance".

June 25, 2015

PAAW and MAA to meet June 30 in Duluth, MN

On Tuesday afternoon, June 30, the board of directors, association leadership, and members from both the Minnesota Ambulance Association and Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, affectionately referred to as MAA and PAAW, will hold a joint meeting in Duluth, Minnesota.  This is the fourth time the two associations have met in the past five years.

According to PAAW Executive Director Joe Covelli, "The gathering presents an opportunity to reflect on recent successes, compare notes, and discuss common interests to work on together.  We always look forward to this meeting and discussion."

The PAAW board of directors will also hold its bi-monthly meeting the morning of June 30th.

>> Click for meeting information.

June 17, 2015

Community Paramedicine Forum July 20 in Eau Claire - register now to attend!

Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire will host a Community Paramedicine Forum on Monday, July 20.  The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health.

The day will include news and updates on community paramedicine in Wisconsin, a health care model designed to improve access to and quality of care in rural and urban communities.

Presentations include:

  • Status of community paramedicine legislation
  • Curriculum and training development
  • The role of physicians and hospitals in community paramedicine
  • Update on licensing

EMS, hospitals, providers, and local and state elected officials are among those who should find the Forum helpful.

The Forum will be in Room 103A of the Chippewa Valley Technical College Business Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire.  The $25 registration fee includes continental breakfast and lunch.

>> Click for more information or to register.

June 11, 2015

EMS Controlled Narcotics:  Preventing drug diversion is only as good as your weakest link

This webcast discusses chain of custody, drug diversion, and best practices

>> Click to listen now to this webcast interview

Where is your ambulance service most at risk with drug diversion (theft of a controlled narcotics)?

What is your procedure if drugs go missing or the inventory count is off?

Are you routinely checking to make sure box packaging and drug containers haven't been tampered with?

What is the most common weakest link in any drug control program?  (hint:  unwitnessed wasting)

What is best for inventory management and security - a snap lock or zip tie lock?  (Hint:  one lock failed and the other didn't in deterring drug diversion.)

Did you know a DEA registration number is required for each physical location where controlled narcotics are stored?  A two station system requires two different DEA numbers.

While an ambulance service should trust its employees, sometimes the temptation for an employee to steal is too great!  Employee theft is one thing, but diverting controlled narcotics is another that raises the severity of the crime.  According to the DEA, theft of controlled narcotics most often happens when an employee suffers an injury and is taken off the prescribed pain medicine when under the care of a physician. Unfortunately, when it comes to drug diversion, it's not a matter of if something will happen, but when.  Thinking about this is the kind of stuff that gives an ambulance director sleepless nights.

We answered all the questions that led into this post and many others too during our live broadcast of Wisconsin EMS Live regarding EMS controlled narcotics, system management and drug diversion on Tuesday, June 9.  The program was recorded.

Our guests included Drug Enforcement Agency Wisconsin Supervisor Kathy Federico, Wisconsin Ambulance Inspector Paul Schilling, and Baraboo District Ambulance Chief Dana Sechler and Deputy Chief John Rago.

Listen as Dana and John share their recent event catching an employee diverting drugs, and what they did and learned from this experience.

Recommendations from the live show:

>> Click to review Wisconsin EMS Controlled Substance Management  Procedure.

>> Click for a source recommended by Baraboo District Ambulance to purchase biometric safe locks.

Most importantly, test your controlled narcotics procedures and system.  With all good intentions, and what maybe surprising results, throw inventory counts off, visibly tamper and reseal box packaging, open inventory tags - even ask employees to sign as a "witness" to an unwitnessed wasting of narcs.  It's all for the better of your system and minimizing risk.  Find ways to test your system and manage the weakest link - where are you most vulnerable?

In part two of the interview meet Eric Salzwedel with REACH-A-Child. He’s developed a storybook collection, called the REACH BAG, to help kids caught up in an emergency event or incident – and provide them with some comfort or a short distraction.

Show co-hosts included Joe Covelli, Patrick Ryan and Dan Williams.  The full episode is 60 minutes. >> Click to listen now to this webcast interview.

Don’t miss a beat of the action – listen to Wisconsin EMS Live.  Also, check the archive for all past show episodes.

June 11, 2015

Community Paramedic distance learning to be offered in Wisconsin

Ryan Brothers Ambulance in Madison announced it signed a distance learning agreement with Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis.  The effort shows great collaboration between the two organizations to bring Community Paramedicine to Wisconsin. 

The online classes will be held Thursday evenings beginning August 13, 2015.  The class will be distance learning, with one Skills Day to be held in Madison, Wisconsin in October.  The class is open to those interested.

>> Click for Ryan Brothers class information and course fee.

>> Click for Hennepin Technical College CP brochure.

As we've previously reported, out of 1,000 community paramedics trained in the United States right now, Minnesota's Hennepin Technical College has trained 600 of them.

For more information, or to register, contact Patrick Ryan at Ryan Brothers Ambulance at 608-310-7922 or email pryan@ryanbros.net.

June 3, 2015

Senate and Assembly committees discuss ambulance concerns in Lafayette County

Rep. Novak explains, "The residents of Gratiot and South Wayne are obviously very concerned over the thought that it might take up to 30 minutes for a Wisconsin ambulance to arrive at their home."

At present, an Illinois ambulance can no longer cross the stateline, because its volunteer staff doesn't possess a certificate that Wisconsin requires.

In his testimony today, Novak explains the National Registry Certificate has nothing to do with the quality of service, it simply makes it easier for agencies to cross state lines. Illinois doesn't require it. Novak's bill looks to make an exemption for out-of-state ambulance services that make 10 or less transports per year in Wisconsin.

Novak says, "Warren, Illinois, will only be dispatched in emergency situations. And I believe between DHS and the sheriff, we'll be able to keep track of when Warren will be dispatched out."

Note:  The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin Board of Directors, along with the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin and Wisconsin EMS Association, is currently working with the National Association of State EMS Officials to have Wisconsin join a national effort to adopt legislation, called REPLICA, that would alleviate the problem with cross border ambulance personnel licensure.  Illinois is the only non National Registry state.  >> Click for a webcast interview on REPLICA. In addition, the state's fire and EMS stakeholder associations listed above are coordinating efforts regarding cross border mutual aid legislation.

June 3, 2015 (Updated June 11, 2015)

Want in on the CP conversation?  Here are 6 ways to get involved

By Joe Covelli, PAAW Executive Director

Community paramedicine is all the buzz in Wisconsin EMS right now.  We are learning a lot from our EMS friends in Minnesota, Texas, and elsewhere.  On May 25, Nevada became the newest state to pass CP legislation. 

Minnesota is years ahead of Wisconsin in developing community CP programs, legislation, curriculum, training, and licensing personnel.  Minnesota has extended to Wisconsin their assistance, so we can shorten the learning curve, get caught up, and use best practices they've already vetted as successful.  As we've previously reported, out of 1,000 community paramedics trained in the United States right now, Minnesota's Hennepin Technical College has trained 600 of them.

This past week we have fielded a lot of questions about CP and ways for those interested to get involved.  Here's my top six suggestions:

1. Sign up for the Rural Health CP list serve.  The link is https://lists.wisc.edu/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=cp.  I believe there are over 150 signed up to get information on CP.

2. PAAW created a webpage dedicated to serve as a central point of communication and information for those interested in CP.  The link is http://paaw.us/cp.

3. We've done several interviews on CP.  The two most recent are at these locations by two people leading CP in Minnesota and nationally.
a. Buck McAlpin from Minnesota (click here for audio interview)
b. Gary Wingrove from Mayo Clinic (click here for audio interview)

4.  The Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin conference in Green Bay on Thursday, Sept. 24 will include Minnesota's Buck McAlpin as a presenter speaking on CP.  PAAW is sponsoring his presentation.  The conference website is http://psow.org/.  The conference schedule will be announced sometime in July or early August.

5. PAAW President Patrick Ryan hosts every other Friday a CP conference call.  The next call is actually Thursday, June 25 starting at 9:00 a.m.  The call in number is 646-929-1081.  The calls are also recorded and posted at the website noted above as item 2.  There have been 35 to 40 participants on a regular basis the past few months.  To be added to the call reminder list, contact Patrick at email president@paaw.us.

6. Wisconsin CP legislation in is draft form largely being discussed and driven by the group noted above as item 5.

Accept this posting as your invitation to join the CP conversation.

June 1, 2015

How To Get There:  Defining Community Paramedicine for Today and Tomorrow

There are about 1,000 paramedics in the United States now that have completed a Community Paramedic curriculum, roughly 600 of them trained by Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis.  Many of their distance learning CP classes are full with students from the US and abroad.

CP didn’t just show up.  Like anything it continues to evolve, but what’s the vision for CP?  Where is it going to lead those who perform and deliver pre and post hospital care, and home health medical care for patient treatment and monitoring?  What is the big picture outlook for CP?

In this episode of EMS to the Point we called on Gary Wingrove to get the answers to our questions.  He's been working to lay the CP foundation since 2007 and has national as well as international CP contacts.   Gary is director for strategic affairs at Gold Gross Ambulance, which is affiliated with Mayo Clinic Medical Transport in Rochester, Minnesota.

>> Click to listen to the audio webcast with Gary Wingrove.

Wisconsin Stars of Life 2015 nomination period now open through August 1

Each person nominated is presented with Wisconsin Stars of Life honors!

Take this opportunity to reward and celebrate an employee, volunteer, or community citizen who exemplifies the everyday spirit and commitment of a Star of Life.

You do not need to be a member of PAAW to submit a nomination application.  All nominations are welcome.

One person from the group of 2015 honorees will be selected and advance to represent Wisconsin.  This individual will be recognized at the National Stars of Life program in Washington, D.C., April 11 to 13, 2016.  PAAW will provide a $750 travel voucher, and the American Ambulance Association Foundation will provide a grant for hotel and event registration fees for the Star, Star's guest, and host (employer).

The Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin's Stars of Life celebration is the most rewarding and exciting Wisconsin event in our field and is modeled after the American Ambulance Association's national Stars program.

The 2015 event will be the ninth time PAAW has proudly presented the Wisconsin Stars of Life program.  This special event recognizes and honors the dedication of ambulance service professionals - people that stand out in every area of our field.  You choose your "Star." These are the people who will be recognized in a series of celebratory events.

The schedule of events includes a welcome reception at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Atrium and dinner and awards program during the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin (PSOW) conference.  In addition, Stars gather at the State Capitol for a one-day event in Madison in October/November 2015 to be recognized before the senate and assembly, and to meet their local elected leaders for one-on-one meetings.

To nominate someone deserving of this high honor, just download the registration packet.  Each person nominated is presented Wisconsin Stars of Life honors.  The deadline to submit is August 1, 2015.

>> Click for Stars of Life 2015 webpage.

>> Click for schedule of events.

>> Click for Stars of Life 2015 nomination application.

Upcoming Events

Current PAAW Priorities

Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP)
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 nomination period now open

Each person nominated is presented with Wisconsin Stars of Life honors!

Take this opportunity to reward and celebrate an employee, volunteer, or community citizen who exemplifies the everyday spirit and commitment of a Star of Life.  It is up to you!

You do not need to be a member of PAAW to submit a nomination application.  All nominations are welcome.  Deadline:  August 1, 2015.

>> Click for Stars of Life 2015 webpage.

>> Click for schedule of events.

>> Click for Stars of Life 2015 nomination application.

Next Live Show

Tuesday, July 14

starting at 9:00 a.m. central time


Wisconsin Stars of Life 2015

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.

How to Get There:  Defining Community Paramedicine for Today and Tomorrow

Posted 6/1/15
Run Time 31 min:41 sec


Gary Wingrove
Director, Strategic Affairs
Gold Cross Ambulance / Mayo Clinic Medical Transport, Rochester, MN

>> 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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