The meeting officially kicked off with a welcome from ACEP President Jay A. Kaplan, MD, who got the group all fired up by demonstrating new advocacy technology that is now available to all state chapters. Every attendee was able to email, Facebook, and tweet their MOC to let them know that EM physicians were in D.C. It was a powerful demonstration of how technology can make advocacy easier and more effective. The rest of the day was just as engaging with talks on disruptive innovation, alternative payment models, and ACEP’s quality initiatives under MACRA and Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Although adjustments to Medicare physician payments under MIPS won’t start until 2019, the data collection begins January 2017.
Luncheon speaker Charlie Cook, a nationally recognized political analyst, offered insights into the current election cycle and gave his predictions about the presidential race. Following Mr. Cook’s talk was a presentation about good and bad regulations—underscoring the importance of what happens after a law is passed and the regulatory agencies take responsibility for establishing how programs will be operationalized. Closing out the day was a session entitled “State Strategies to Deal with Out of Network/Balance Billing.” This rapidly has become the hot topic in EM as many states are considering legislation that would significantly change the rules of billing patients. Dr. Kaplan made this issue a cornerstone of his presidency and his creation of the term “fair coverage” has completely changed the tone and tenor of the discussion with legislators and policymakers. Through the “fair coverage” campaign, ACEP is leading the house of medicine in educating legislators and policymakers on how their constituents, and our patients, are being unfairly treated by insurance companies that are selling insurance policies with exorbitantly high out-of-pocket deductibles. For more information on the campaign, go to www.faircoverage.org.
Working the Hill
Tuesday morning’s program was highlighted by presentations from the two EM physicians who are MOC. Joe Heck, DO, (R-NV), and Raul Ruiz, MD, (D-CA), both challenged attendees to be more active and engaged in health policy and advocacy. Brad Gruehn from the ACEP D.C. office also presented an overview of key issues, which included the following: