Flu Season, Still Worsening, Now as Bad as 2009 Swine Flu
NEW YORK (AP) - February 9, 2018 - The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago.
A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu.
Regulators Say Herbal Supplement Kratom Contains Opioids
WASHINGTON (AP) — February 8, 2018 - U.S. health authorities say an herbal supplement promoted as an alternative pain remedy contains the same chemicals found in opioids, the addictive family of drugs at the center of a national addiction crisis.
A recently published Food and Drug Administration analysis makes it more likely that the supplement, kratom, could be banned by the federal government.
The FDA also said it has identified 44 reports of death involving kratom since 2011, up from 36 reported in November.
Sold in various capsules and powders, kratom has gained popularity in the U.S. as a treatment for pain, anxiety and drug dependence. Proponents argue that the substance is safer than opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, which have contributed to an epidemic of drug abuse. More than 63,000 Americans died in 2016 from drug overdoses, mostly from opioids.
Leading Ambulance Manufacturers Braun Industries and Demers Ambulances Joining Forces
Demers Ambulances, a Quebec-based leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of ambulances in Canada, is merging with Braun Industries, Inc., a leader in custom ambulance manufacturing based in Ohio serving customers throughout the U.S. The combination of expertise, trusted leadership, safety-driven products, values and cultures creates a leading player within the evolving specialty vehicle industry. The terms of the merger are not disclosed.
Congress Approves Ambulance Medicare Add-Ons
Congress passed a five-year extension of Medicare ambulance add-ons as part of a two-year budget deal.
According to Ambulance.org, the provisions in the final deal passed by Congress differ from the provisions passed earlier this month – they now include the collection of ambulance cost data.
The final package includes:
- A cost data collection process that gives the Secretary of HHS flexibility in developing the system and requires industry consultation so that a balance is struck between obtaining data and not causing the EMS agencies to be burdened.
- The extension, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, is effective through Dec. 31, 2022
- If the required data is not reported, a payment reduction of up to 10 percent will be issued for the following year, unless there is a hardship case.
- A “pay-for” for the extension with a 13 percent cut to non-emergent dialysis transport
New EMS Data Law Now in Effect!
The new ems data law establishes data reporting requirements for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies and dispatch centers. The law requires that emergency medical services providers report to the department, EMS Electronic Patient Care Report (ePCR) data in the most recent National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) compliant format.
How does this law affect your agency?
The Law mandates that ALL pre-hospital EMS providers use NEMSIS compliant (currently version 3.4) electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) software.
"Emergency Medical Services Provider" means any association, organization, company, department, agency, service, program, unit, or other entity that provides pre-hospital emergency medical care to patients in this State, including, but not limited to, a basic life support ambulance service, a mobile intensive care unit, an air medical service, or a volunteer or non-volunteer first aid, rescue, and ambulance squad".
For more information about NEMSIS or to ensure your agency is using compliant software, please visit www.NEMSIS.org.
Frequently ask questions and answers:
Is my EMS agency included in the law?
All EMS agencies (regardless of status or licensure) that respond to pre-hospital emergencies must comply with the law.
When does my agency have to start submitting data?
The law went into effect January 18, 2018; agencies must submit data as of this data.
What electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) software can my agency use?
Agencies may use any NEMSIS compliant (currently version 3.4) software. Click here for a full list of NEMSIS compliant software. Click here for a full list of NEMSIS compliant software.
Does the State provide NEMSIS 3.4 compliant software for free?
YES! The Department of Heath provides ePCR software FREE to any NJ based EMS agencies.
How do I get more information regarding NJ ePCR?
Visit: http://www.state.nj.us/ health/ems/ems-toolbox/