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EMS Industry and AngelTrack News
28 Jul 2017

Important for Texas Providers

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If you are not currently a part of your area’s Regional Advisory Council, you  may not have received the following notice. This is highly important for Ambulance Transportation Services in the State of Texas and I highly suggest that everyone take a moment to do their part in making their voices heard regarding the proposed changes to the Medicaid funding of transportation services (almost a 35% reduction in reimbursement).

Below is a copy of the recent release from TEMSA (The Texas EMS Alliance) providing information on what you can do, who you can contact and how; to make your voice heard to help this drastic decrease in funding for the services we provide. Although AngelTrack is not associated with TEMSA, we felt it very important that this information reach as many of the Texas EMS Agencies as possible.

July 28, 2017

Dear TEMSA Member:

As we mentioned yesterday, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will hold a stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, August 8 at 1:30 p.m. in Austin to discuss proposed Medicaid cuts for ground ambulance service in Texas.  Both ALS and BLS services would be cut by approximately 35 percent under the biennial review proposal for Medicaid.

TEMSA is working with lawmakers and other stakeholders to fight the proposed cuts.

What EMS Agencies Need to Do
Every EMS agency is strongly encouraged to send its own letter regarding the proposed cuts to HHSC.

General instructions for sending a letter to HHSC:

  • Place the letter on your letterhead and have it signed by an agency leader.
  • More about the template and suggestions for the text of your letter can be found below.
  • The stakeholder meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 8 at 1:30 p.m..  (If you are able to attend the hearing to speak, that would be helpful. Click here for meeting details.)
  • Since the stakeholder letter is on August 8, you are strongly encouraged to deliver your letter to HHSC by Friday, August 4.

E-mail is the most effective delivery option.  If you e-mail it (the e-mail address is below), please ask for confirmation that they received it:

E-mailRADAcuteCare@hhsc.state.tx.us

U.S. Mail:
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Attention: Rate Analysis, Mail Code H-400
P.O. Box 149030
Austin, Texas 78714-9030

Overnight mail, special delivery mail or hand delivery:
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Attention: Rate Analysis, Mail Code H-400
Brown-Heatly Building
4900 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78751

Phone number for package delivery512.730.7401

Fax: Attention: Rate Analysis at 512.730.7475

Letter Text and Template
The following template is recommended:

August 4, 2017

Charles Smith
Executive Commissioner
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
4900 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751-2316

Re: Biennial Review of Ambulance Services (Proposed to Be Effective October 1, 2017)

Dear Commissioner Smith:

I am writing on behalf of XX EMS Agency to express my strong concerns regarding the proposed ground ambulance rate cutes for Medicaid. Add your text here. Focus on how the proposal will hurt your community.

Sincerely,
Your name and contact information

Talking Points and Background
You are encouraged to write the letter in your own words (it does not have to be long).  In addition, it would be useful to include an analysis of the proposed rate cut and include the figures in your letter.

Click here to view a link to the spreadsheet of proposed rates (the link can be found within the web page). The proposal would cut both ALS and BLS service.

You may find the following talking points to be useful for writing your letter:

  • Ambulance providers will have no choice but to make reductions in the number of ambulances that they equip and staff, which will impact response times for all Texas residents. Some communities will be forced to abandon the provision of 9-1-1 services altogether, or in order to continue to provide services, local jurisdictions will be forced to raise taxes to subsidize ambulance services.

 

  • Ambulances provide vital 9-1-1 services to our communities.  For many rural areas, ground ambulances are the community’s health safety net and the only access to emergency medical care.

 

  • Medicaid is a large payer for many ambulance services in Texas.  Medicaid makes up approximately 20 percent of the payer mix in most urban communities, and 30 percent or more in rural communities.  The current Medicaid payment rates for ground ambulances, which are already well below Medicare payment rates (Texas Medicaid pays 67 percent of Medicare ground ambulance rates), do not even cover the cost to transport a Medicaid patient.

Bobby Hillert | Texas EMS Alliance
Bobby@txemsa.com | 214.728.7672 m

 

7 May 2017

AngelTrack introduces Customer Self-Serve Online Booking

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Would you like to add online booking for your EMS agency? Being able to allow your customers to directly book and schedule for transports online can be an exciting tool to offer. 

Customer Portal Request Form

The biggest advantage to providing online booking for your clients is the reduction in the time required to book a transport. This can allow for a reduction in staffing overhead for your agency. However, is a simple email or web form to collect the data for a transport really providing you with the benefits that you were expecting by implementing an online booking system? AngelTrack takes this one step further with an online booking platform which directly integrates into your AngelTrack dispatch system.

There are some very important considerations when implementing an online booking system.

Is the system secure or is it open to anyone to make a request? If anyone can make a request, is there a solid verification procedure in place or is it susceptible to abuse from a competitor?

Does the system provide for a long enough lead time between a transport request and the time of service? A system that allows for transport booking of immediate or short lead time transports can often cause overbooking of your resources and quickly leave customers dissatisfied if you aren’t able to arrive at the requested time. Allowing at least a 24 hour lead time and requiring a confirmation procedure for online booked transports should be considered before implementing a system.

How is the system getting the data to your dispatch system? An online booking system that directly integrates into your CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) can help prevent data input errors.

How does the system handle data that has to be acquired in order to enhance your billing and state data reporting requirements? Is it obtaining the required information or will that have to be entered manually?

AngelTrack’s online transport request system addresses all of these concerns.

AngelTrack’s online booking service is a secure platform that guides the customer to select origin and destination, and set times for pickup and dropoff. For scheduled transports, the friendly form collects all information necessary to book the transport… even a round trip if they so desire.

Customer requests queue up for approval (or rejection) by one of your dispatchers. During the approval process, the dispatcher reviews the details of each request, adding notes and making adjustments as necessary. The customer is then automatically notified via email, letting them know their request was added to the schedule… or was declined, with explanation.

Nursing homes, hospitals, personal-care homes, and even individual patients can all use it, if they prefer that over traditional telephone booking.

You can learn more about the integrated online booking platform in our video walk-through <Click here to watch the video>.

9 Dec 2016

Do you constantly feel like you’re battling your nursing home clients?

Often times in the world of private ambulance transportation, we don’t feel like we’re working with our nursing home clients as much as we should be. The growing paperwork demands from Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance carriers along with the increased compliance and oversight EMS is under indirectly (and sometimes directly) cause friction between private ambulance companies and their nursing home clients. AngelTrack has put together a great article for EMS and Nursing Facility’s to better educate their staff and bridge the gap we often feel in our communications. We all have similar goals but in order to minimize friction and improve a healthy working relationship, it’s important that staff understands the needs and demands that each provider is facing.

For example, do your medics and dispatchers understand the concept of bed-filling and body-snatching which may affect whether you are transporting to the closest appropriate facility? or when it’s actually in the interest of the facility and the patient to transport to non-covered destinations (or non-covered mileage) ? The facility may be getting the bill for the transport in order to fulfill other obligations or to ensure continuity of care of the patient.

From our article,

“…a patient admitted to a hospital may not return to the nursing home at all! Hospital administrators often have relationships with specific nursing homes, and so the hospital may attempt to discharge the patient to that nursing home, rather than the nursing home they came from.”

“When a patient must go out to the emergency room, family members frequently demand that EMS take the patient to a distant hospital. That hospital may be conveniently close to the family members’ homes, or it may have recently had good press or positive reviews. Unfortunately these reasons do not qualify for insurance coverage.”

Are your facilities aware of the best ways to reduce their transport invoices? Have you educated them on the importance of ensuring Prior Authorizations? AngelTrack has built in Customer Portals which display to the facility the upcoming transports and indicate which ones need authorization. Prior Authorizations are a key way to reduce a facility’s transport bill.

Learn more about the relationships between ambulance providers and nursing facilities by reading the whole article. Just click on the link below.

Understanding Nursing Homes

This is a must read for Ambulance Company owners, sales people, dispatchers and senior medics who want to work with their customers and develop relationships.

12 Sep 2016

How do we keep from dropping patients?

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It’s happened to the best of us, and it normally happens for one of two (or both) reasons; Improper or inadequate training; or stretcher malfunction. It almost always leads to a liability nightmare for the company involved as well as added stress or injury to the patient or a crew member. What can we do to at least mitigate some of this risk? This article is to bring your attention to the latter risk of stretcher malfunction. The most effective way of mitigating stretcher malfunctions is simply to ensure that you are doing proper maintenance on your stretchers. Proper maintenance should not just be a reactive process; you should also be proactive in your stretcher maintenance.

Major stretcher manufacturers offer training programs on preventative maintenance, they also provide guides and user manuals which cover general maintenance. If you are looking at doing repairs, for safety and quality assurance, you should use manufacturer (or OEM) components, not salvaged parts from another piece of equipment.

Without a preventive maintenance program, you could be looking at much more than just a broken stretcher. No matter how much experience your team members have, a sudden height drop, failure to lock, tipping due to improperly maintained equipment can lead to dropped patients, injured workers, or worse which could lead to excess liability on your company.

Preventive Maintenance of your equipment needs to be routine and thorough. This can make your equipment last longer and also reduce the costs of repair. The stretcher is the one piece of equipment that gets used the most often in EMS. Best practice is for a monthly inspection of your stretchers and equipment.

Does the stretcher move up and down smoothly and properly?

Does the stretcher lock correctly at certain heights as intended by the manufacturer?

Do all the locks, hooks, and handles work properly?

Are all the pivot pins, locknuts, springs secure and in good condition?

How do the securing straps look? Are the straps fraying or have chipped/cracked buckles?

Does the stretcher roll freely? Are the wheels in good condition?

How are your locking and securing mechanisms inside the vehicles?

Do you have records or logs of equipment purchases? Records of repairs or maintenance performed? This will allow not only repair cost tracking, but can be vital for liability reasons – as we say in EMS, if it’s not documented, it wasn’t done.

These are just some questions to get your started in developing your own preventive maintenance program for your stretchers.

19 Jul 2016

AngelTrack’s Beacon for Apple Devices goes live!

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Download the new AngelTrack Beacon application for your iOS devices now (Ipads/Iphones).

Apple App Live!

Beacon Mapping Application

AngelTrack Beacon is an optional add-on to your AngelTrack cloud server. It provides 24/7 live GPS position data for your devices, which phone home so as to appear as pins on your dispatcher’s maps. The app runs unobtrusively in the background, and can report each device as either: * the position of a vehicle (“Medic3’s iPad”), or * the position of an employee (“Scott Jones’ personal smartphone”).

This gives your dispatchers a consistent and steady picture of the locations of their vehicles and crews, even when their mobile devices are asleep.

There is no charge for the app, nor for the 24/7 live GPS position tracking service in your AngelTrack cloud server. There is no advertising or other use of personal information. Everything is included in your AngelTrack license.

After installing the app, each device must be issued a token from your AngelTrack cloud server. The token identifies which vehicle or employee the device represents. Issue tokens from the corresponding “Vehicle Edit” or “Employee Edit” page in AngelTrack. If the mobile device is assigned to a vehicle, then issue it a vehicle token; otherwise issue it an employee token for the person who carries it.

Beacon Application

To learn more about configuring and using Beacon with your AngelTrack installation, visit:

http://support.angeltracksoftware.com/help/supervisor/GPSTracking.htm#Beacon

To learn more about AngelTrack, the NEMSIS certified EMS software in the cloud, visit:

http://angeltracksoftware.com

28 Jun 2016

New OSHA Rules start August 10, 2016

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There are two parts of the new OSHA rule that will affect EMS Agencies come August 10, 2016. The first of the two rules is the requirement to involve employees in the record-keeping system by having a procedure in place for reporting workplace injuries and diseases, and informing employees on how to report an injury. The second rule is the prohibition from discriminating against employees for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses.

If you are using the AngelTrack system, workplace injuries and diseases are easily reported and records kept by creating an incident and simply choosing injury, disease, exposure, etc; along with the employees involved and then sending the incident to your supervisor. Remember, documents and photos may be attached to these incidents as well.

It’s recommended that agencies review their safety-related policies, and also have a new copy of the poster “OSHA Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law” dated no earlier than April 2016, posted where employees will see it.

Coming in 2017 is the OSHA implementation for electronic submission of workplace injuries and illness. This electronic submission will be required any employer with 20 or more employees.