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Putting the ‘E’ back in EMS

Legislative takeaways from AAA’s Shawn Baird, Randy Strozyk and Dr. Gerad Troutman; and as well as Senator Bill Cassidy

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The American Ambulance Association recently held its annual AAA Stars of Life event in Washington, D.C. The American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.

While in Washington, EMS One-Stop Host Rob Lawrence interviewed AAA President Randy Strozyk, on the aims and objectives of the stars program and the 2023 Legislator of the Year. Rob also spoke with AAA Medical Director Dr. Gerad Troutman, who is AAA’s first medical director. Finally, Rob chats with AAA Immediate Past President, Shawn Baird, on the Federal Balanced Billing legislation and the role that AAA and others are playing in protecting both the patient and EMS agencies.

Top quotes from this episode

“Every provider is out to make a difference, but to actually be recognized for it, which you don’t often get the opportunity to have, makes it that much more of an honor to be selected for something like this” — Paramedic Erica Brockman

“AAA stars and hundreds of thousands of people like you are the beginning of the healing process. When somebody is hurt, somebody is wounded, somebody is scared, it is the EMT that first touches that patient and then begins to transport into the healthcare system when the rest of the healthcare system can then kick in to what it does, but it would not start unless it begins with you.” — Senator Bill Cassidy

“Think about when Covid hit, at 0200 in the morning, we were the ones that came, we were the ones that had to deal with a whole new level of challenges, not only Covid, but we had to deal with the fact that people didn’t want to go to the hospital, so we were providing levels of care, interfacing, making sure that people had connections. I see that as a bright future to how EMS will progress in the next decade” — AAA President Rany Strozyk

“I’m really passionate about patients called 911 looking for solutions to a problem and that solution is not always an ambulance to take them to an emergency department, so we try to impact their care differently, especially lower acuity patients, because we now have all the technology and tools to treat them in place with our paramedics or EMTs on site of even treating them utilizing a navigation program from the 911 system, the PSAP and maybe get them to an urgent care or virtual care doctor, where they can be cared for right in their home. Patients love it and the best thing is it really puts the ‘E’ back in EMS and allows us to save those emergent resources that need those most.” — Dr. Gerad Troutman, AAA medical director

“We will be coming back to Congress with a recommendation that ground ambulance not be rolled into the No Surprises Act. That (if we were included) would be devastating to access for care.” — Shawn Baird, immediate past president, AAA

Episode contents

00:21 – Opening: Erica Brockman

01:02 – Introduction: Rob Lawrence

01:36 – Randy Strozyk, president, American Ambulance Association

05:12 – Key areas of legislation for 2023/24

08:07 – Presentation of Legislator of the Year: Senator Bill Cassidy

11:00 – Dr. Gerad Troutman, AAA medical director

17:00 – Federal Balanced Billing Committee: Shawn Baird

18:35 – Summary and close

Additional resources

The full bios for all of the AAA Class of 2023 Stars of Life can be found here.

Listen to next: Alexia Jobson, Dr. Peter Antevy, Brian Maloney, Doug Wolfberg and more join the EMS One-Stop podcast to discuss takeaways from the show

About our guests

Randy Strozyk brings to his leadership of the American Ambulance Association more than 34 years of experience in EMS operations and management. He has been part of the American Medical Response leadership team for 16 years, and currently serves as the company’s executive vice president of operations.

Strozyk earned his EMT/paramedic certification and worked on an ambulance while studying microbiology at Washington State University. He later earned an MBA from California State University. He has been heavily involved in the American Ambulance Association for nearly two decades and is the current president of the organization.

Gerad Troutman, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAEMS, is the national medical director for innovative practices at Global Medical Response. He is an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas, and serves as a mentor to the Texas Tech Innovations Hub. He is a past president of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians and currently serves on the Governor’s EMS & Trauma Advisory Council of Texas.

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Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. He is currently the director of strategic implementation for PRO EMS and its educational arm, Prodigy EMS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part-time executive director of the California Ambulance Association.

He previously served as the chief operating officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he served as COO for Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California.

Prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Rob served as the COO for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk County, England, and as the executive director of operations and service development for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust. Rob is a former Army officer and graduate of the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served worldwide in a 20-year military career encompassing many prehospital and evacuation leadership roles.

Rob is a board member of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) as well as chair of the American Ambulance Association’s State Association Forum. He writes and podcasts for EMS1 and is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with him on Twitter.