I’m happy to report that ACEP14 in Chicago broke our all-time attendance record. The total four-day registration number was an astounding 6,590, easily surpassing the mark of 6,224 at ACEP13 in Seattle. What’s more important is the positive feedback we received from members who attended the conference and reported that the experience was top-notch, from the educational sessions to the Exhibit Hall to the networking to the closing and opening parties.
Besides setting a record for attendance, we also set new records for our exhibits. Last year, we had 370 companies that offered a look at their latest emergency medicine products and services. This year, we had 406. innovatED, part of the Exhibit Hall experience, continues to be very popular. When we launched this interactive emergency department space, we had 35 companies that participated. This year, we had 55.
Something new this year was having a ticketless course entry system. Registering for specific courses was not required this year, and seating was on a first-come, first-served basis. Many other organizations do it this way, and we believe the vast majority of our members found it more convenient. We welcome your feedback.
Long-Time Staffers Retire, Emergency Physician Joins National Office
Although I’m happy for them, I am sad to report that two of our great staff veterans have retired. Cal Chaney and Marilyn Bromley have each spent 22 years at the College. While in one sense they are irreplaceable, we have found incredibly well-qualified people to pick up their responsibilities. For the first time ever, ACEP has hired an emergency physician to be on our staff. Past President Sandy Schneider, MD, FACEP, has agreed to become our Director of Emergency Medicine Practice to succeed Marilyn.
Dr. Schneider will start with us this month in our Dallas office. Obviously, it is a huge asset having someone with her experience and expertise who has practiced emergency medicine and who plans to continue to work some shifts to be available to counsel you and your groups.
“We had another strong year for NEMPAC and remain very pleased with the work the NEMPAC Board and staff have done to get input from a consultant and develop innovative new approaches for making NEMPAC successful.”
Craig Price, who had previously been our State Legislative Director, has been promoted to take Cal’s position as our Associate Executive Director. Leslie Moore is our new General Counsel, and Harry Monroe is our new State Legislative Director.
Keep EMF and NEMPAC in Your Donation Plans
It has been exciting to see the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) move to a higher level over the past few years in terms of its donations, establishing an endowment, and increasing the amount of money it is able to give out to grantees and for other activities. A lot of people have worked very hard, and I want to say thank you. As we approach the end of this calendar year, please consider making a generous tax-deductible gift to EMF to support the future of our specialty.
We had another strong year for NEMPAC and remain very pleased with the work the NEMPAC Board and staff have done to get input from a consultant and develop innovative new approaches for making NEMPAC successful. Our PAC is highly respected. I want to thank all of you who are putting your money where your mouth is for advocacy and particularly those of you donating at the Give-A-Shift level.
On your next dues invoice, you’ll notice that we’ve raised the suggested giving amount for NEMPAC and EMF to $200 each. This is a voluntary donation amount. It is hoped that this will stimulate increased giving to NEMPAC and EMF.
ACEP Working on a Qualified Clinical Data Registry
One of the most important things ACEP will do this year is work to develop a qualified clinical data registry (QCDR). Our specialty has been the most successful in medicine in reporting on quality measures under the existing Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). ACEP has worked diligently with the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) and with funding from the EM Action Fund to develop quality measures as required by PQRS. As you may know, CMS is eliminating numerous PQRS measures, including a number of them for emergency medicine. We have had to scramble to develop additional quality measures to keep our members from being harmed in their reimbursement.
The quality environment is changing rapidly, moving from a pay-for-reporting system to one that is more pay-for-performance using a value-based modifier. In years to come, there will not be incentives, but there will instead be increasingly heavy penalties for physicians who do not report and show improvement. Demonstration of quality improvement will be the new coin of the realm not only for federal and state governments but eventually for private payers as well.
Groups and individuals are currently permitted to report in the current traditional system using claims data. Many of our ED groups are doing this through group reporting, known as the GPRO reporting option. CMS and virtually every health policy and quality expert we speak with say that option will be coming to an end in the not-too-distant future.
ACEP is in the minority among major national medical specialties because we do not have a QCDR at this point. Creating one will be a relatively complex and expensive undertaking. We believe, however, it will position us to develop quality measures that will resonate with our members and will actually make a difference to improve quality. We can develop measures that apply to patients beyond the Medicare population. If we have our own QCDR, we can control the playing field and develop measures we believe are appropriate without having to submit them to the National Quality Forum for other groups to approve. Rather than having measures imposed on us, we will drive the measures ourselves.
I would like to emphasize that the College’s leadership does not see development of a QCDR as just a way to try to stave off attacks on reimbursement and facilitate measure development. We believe it is the right thing to do. We believe it is a legitimate vehicle to help us improve quality and achieve our mission to help provide the highest quality emergency care.
ACEP to Conduct Comprehensive Affiliate Member Study
At this year’s Council meeting, held Oct. 25–26 in Chicago, members of the Council voted to commission a comprehensive study and report on the feasibility of creating a non-voting, non–office-holding membership category for individuals not currently eligible for full, active membership. This report, including the financial and advocacy impact of membership expansion, will be presented to the Council in Boston at ACEP15 next October.
This issue deserves the kind of attention to detail and exhaustive study that will take nearly a year to complete. A pro-con article about affiliate membership was published in the August issue of ACEP Now, and the dozens of letters to the editor in response show that our members have strong feelings on each side. ACEP members should know that we will research this issue in depth and give a comprehensive report next year to the Council.
Thanks to Volunteers, Leaders, and Staff
Thank you for all you have done this year to help us make progress in our mission. National ACEP and our chapters are blessed to have great volunteer member leadership and talented, dedicated staff.
Mr. Wilkerson is ACEP’s Executive Director.
Tell Us What You Want to See in 2015
Do you have a great idea for an article? Have a colleague who should be profiled in the pages of ACEP Now? Want to know more about a particular EM topic? We want to hear from you! This is your publication, so tell us what you want us to cover in the new year.
Send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may see your idea brought to life in a future issue of ACEP Now.