With so many changes and challenges occurring in EMS during the COVID-19 pandemic, JEMS Editor Emeritus A.J. Heightman held a special episode of The EMS TODAY Show with EMS legal expert Steve Wirth, Esq., EMT-P, from the EMS legal firm Page, Wolfberg and Wirth (PWW).
In this episode, A.J. and Steve discuss:
- CARES Act funding for EMS services and the terms and conditions of acceptance;
- HIPAA issues under the Pandemic and the requirement for hospitals to inform EMS agencies if a patient they transported to their facilities tested positive for COVID-19;
- Documentation issues; and
- Loosened requirements for EMS to obtain patient signatures.
Stephen R. Wirth is a founding partner of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, the National EMS law firm based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. In a distinguished four-decade public safety career, Steve has worked in virtually every facet of EMS — as first responder, firefighter, EMT, paramedic, flight paramedic, EMS instructor, fire officer and EMS executive. He was one of central Pennsylvania’s first paramedics.
Steve brings a pragmatic and business”oriented perspective to his diverse legal practice — he served for nearly a decade as senior executive of a mid”sized air and ground ambulance service, helping to build the company from the ground up. He is a dynamic and sought”after speaker at regional, state and national conferences on a variety of EMS law and public safety subjects and has authored many articles and book chapters on a wide range of EMS leadership, reimbursement, risk management, corporate compliance and workplace law topics.
Steve is an adjunct professor for the University of Pittsburgh EMS degree program. Steve is a past chair of the Panel of Commissioners for CAAS, the national ambulance accrediting body. He serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania EMS Provider Foundation, the National EMS Memorial Service, The National EMS Museum, and is an active participant in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride — the “Muddy Angels.”
He is also a life member of the Nippenose Valley Fire Co. near Jersey Shore, PA, where he started his public safety career at age 16 as a junior firefighter and later served as deputy fire chief. Steve was an active firefighter/EMS practitioner with Hampden Twp. Fire Rescue until he recently “retired” as safety officer. He is a cum laude graduate of Duquesne University School of Law where he served on the national appellate and trial moot court advocacy teams.
Special Note on PWW
This is the 20th Anniversary of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, born over a discussion between Jim Page, Steve Wirth and Doug Wolfberg at a JEMS “EMS Insider” Conference held in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. The three discussed a need for a legal firm that specialized in EMS law and agreed to move forward with the establishment of a firm. Doug and Steve left their competing law firms and started PWW with just two employees (Doug and Steve). The rest is EMS history with the firm now the most respected EMS law firm in the county and employing 14 staff members.