COVID-19 Update #2 for EMS Educators

This is a blanket e‐mail message to all certified Education Coordinators and ALS Coordinators.

Dear Education Coordinator,

My apologies for this length of this e-mail, however the information we are covering below is very important. 

On Thursday afternoon, March 12, 2020, Governor Northam issued a State of Emergency outlining additional measures to combat COVID-19.  Under this State of Emergency, the Governor has banned some state travel, specially-scheduled state conferences and large events for a minimum of 30-days.  Please read the State of Emergency for more information.

We have gathered a number of pertinent items below to assist you in your role as an EMS educator in the Commonwealth.

It is imperative that you read this thoroughly and make yourself aware of the changes outlined below.

Paper Certification Cards Will Be Delayed 30 Days at a Minimum

OEMS staff will not have access to our building to print and mail certification cards as the Commonwealth’s Mail Services will be affected.

Provider certifications can be verified online at the following URL: https://vdhems.vdh.virginia.gov/emsapps/ProviderSearch.html

All certification data on this website is real-time, up-to-date, valid and accurate.

Expiration of Virginia EMS Provider Certifications

Due to Executive Order 51, the Virginia Office of EMS will be extending the certification of all providers who are currently set to expire on March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020 until June 30, 2020.  These providers should be reminded of the plethora of online CE opportunities that are available to them. 

Online continuing education courses can be found at:  http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/emergency-medical-services/education-certification/provider-resources/web-based-continuing-education/

Expiration of Operational Medical Director Endorsements

Due to Executive Order 51, the Virginia Office of EMS will be extending the certification of all Medical Directors who are currently set to expire on March 31, April 30, May 31, and June 30, 2020 until December 31, 2020.

National Registry Update

Earlier today, the National Registry announced that anyone who still needs to submit a recertification application during this cycle will have their National Registry expiration date extended until June 30, 2020.  NREMT also decided to eliminate the distributive education requirements for this cycle as well, in order to allow EMS providers to complete needed hours through distributive education. The availability of completing online continuing education through distributive education was already available for Virginia providers.

If you are already eligible to recertify your NREMT credentials, please continue to move forward with your recertification as you normally would.

Consolidated Test Sites

Due to Executive Order 51, all Consolidated Test Sites are being cancelled until April 30, 2020.  Any CTS sites scheduled to be held through Saturday, March 14, 2020 WILL BE HELD.

The Office will regroup in several weeks to determine if there is a need to eliminate further CTS sites or if CTS testing can resume as normal.  We will keep you advised by e-mail of any updates on this.

ALS Psychomotor Exams

Due to Executive Order 51, all ALS Psychomotor Exams are being cancelled until April 30, 2020.  Any ALS Psychomotor tests scheduled to be held through Saturday, March 14, 2020 WILL BE HELD

We will keep you advised by e-mail of any updates on this.

Virginia Office of EMS Staffing

Due to Executive Order 51, the Office of EMS has implemented teleworking and beginning Monday, March 16, OEMS staff members will begin phasing in telework for the next 30-days (at a minimum).  Staff will maintain normal office hours from their home and will have access to their phones and computer resources. 

If you need to reach a staff member, please reach out to their direct extension which can be found here:  http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/emergency-medical-services/oems-information/contact-ems/office-of-ems-staff-listing/

The front office at Technology Park will be left unstaffed—yet monitored by one-way video.  Should you need to come to the office, there will be instructions at the desk should you need to drop something off or speak with someone.  Please do not show up at the office unannounced, as it is possible the staff member you are looking to speak with will not be here.  

No one should show up at the Office of EMS unannounced.

The Office of EMS will not be staffed for the next 30-days.  If you have a pressing issue that cannot be handled via e-mail or a phone call, then you need to reach out to that particular staff member to discuss the potential of having a face-to-face meeting. It is possible your request for a face-to-face meeting will not be approved depending on the current situation on the ground.

Paper-based Form Processing

During this time, there is a possibility that due to missed USPS, UPS or FedEx deliveries, paper-based forms (e.g. Enrollment Forms, CTS Results and CE cards) may not be able to be processed in a timely manner.  OEMS staff will do their best to try and ensure that all mail received by the Office is processed a quickly as possible after receipt.

Please note that online forms and files will be processed in real-time or nightly as usual unless there are disruptions to our computing services.  Our IT Team are all capable of working remotely, so we do not anticipate any major issues with our IT infrastructure.

Reciprocity, Legal Recognition and Challenge Requests

Anyone requesting a reciprocity, legal recognition or challenge packet will find their request delayed by at least 30-days.  We cannot access the Office of EMS to create and mail packets and the Commonwealth’s Mail Services will be affected by Executive Order 51.

Meeting Cancellations

The spring meeting of the Training & Certification Committee as well as the Medical Direction Committee have been cancelled effective immediately.  Office staff, in consultation with the Chair of the EMS Advisory Board and sub-committee Chairmen will re-group after the State of Emergency has been lifted to determine if we can reasonably reschedule these meetings or if the meetings will be indefinitely postponed.

Use of the CE Scanner Application

If you are not approved to use the OEMS CE Scanner Application, you will need to send an e-mail to Chad Blosser (chad.blosser@vdh.virginia.gov) to get a copy of the CE Scanner Application PowerPoint presentation used at Education Coordinator Institutes as well as a Commonwealth of Virginia Computer Security User Agreement.  Once you have reviewed the presentation and forwarded a completed, signed security agreement to Chad via e-mail, you will be given rights to access the CE Scanner Application and to upload CE to the Office of EMS.

Interstate EMS Personnel Licensing Compact Declared Operational To Help Communities Respond to Covid-19

At the regular meeting of the Interstate Commission for EMS Personnel Practice (EMS Compact Commission) on Tuesday March 10, 2020, the EMS Compact Commission approved use of the EMS Compact process effective Monday March 16, 2020 in response to personnel needs associated with COVID-19.  This decision enables EMS personnel licensed in Compact member states (home states) to cross state borders using a privilege to practice and work in other Compact states (remote state) without getting an EMS license in the remote state.

For more on this, see the following link:  https://www.emscompact.gov/compact-information/covid-19-operations/

Online Resources

If you are making changes to your initial certification programs which include moving content to the online environment, reach out to your textbook publisher to see if they can offer assistance to you to keep your class moving forward.

Online continuing education recourses can be found at:  http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/emergency-medical-services/education-certification/provider-resources/web-based-continuing-education/

We are doing all of this out of an abundance of caution to protect the health of providers, staff, and the community. The health and safety of each of you is our first priority and we do not believe it is prudent to gather large numbers of people together at this time.

In the meantime, we encourage all of you to refer to these helpful resources for the latest information on coronavirus:

Be well, stay safe and above all else, wash your hands!

Best,

Chad

Chad Blosser | Education Program Manager | Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services | Division of Accreditation, Certification & Education | 1041 Technology Park Drive, Glen Allen, VA 23059 | 804.888.9124 (p) | 804.371.3409 (f)|

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