- The ability to perform medical screening exams via telehealth has helped protect emergency physicians from unnecessary exposure to the virus and preserved limited supplies of PPE.
- The addition of ED E/M codes on the approved list of Medicare telehealth services enables emergency physicians to be appropriately reimbursed for the care they provide.
Expanding Liability Protections
ACEP continues to actively work to secure immunity from liability. During his White House meeting, Dr. Jaquis explained to Vice President Mike Pence and the other Trump administration officials about the need for such increased liability protections, and ACEP is working directly with Congressional lawmakers to include liability protections in future COVID-19 legislation.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 08 – August 2020
A lot of the liability movement will happen on the state level, so we also provided a template letter asking for full immunity to every state chapter. By July, 16 states and Washington, D.C., had included strong liability protections for frontline health care practitioners in either an executive order or legislation. Another eight states expressed a belief that existing statutes related to emergencies created such protections.
Seeking Federal Financial Support for Our Members
ACEP has consistently pressed for emergency physicians and other frontline health care workers to be prioritized during the distribution of stimulus funding. ACEP sent four letters to the Trump administration and to Congress requesting financial support so emergency physicians can treat patients, maintain readiness, and be fully prepared for further patient surges.
We continue to track new waves of funding from the Provider Relief Fund created in the CARES Act and are keeping our members apprised of announcements. We continue to be in constant contact with HHS to reiterate our concerns.
As part of our focus on small, independent groups, we created resources on financial options to sustain them through COVID.
Supporting Physician Mental Health
ACEP is actively supporting several pieces of legislation that prioritize mental health for both health care workers and patients. ACEP worked closely with legislators on the development of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, introduced in late July. Learn more about Dr. Breen on p. 11, and see the latest on this legislation and other ACEP-supported bills related to mental health at acep.org/Breen-bill.
While we press for COVID-related progress, other factions are trying to slide one-sided, insurer-favored surprise billing legislation into the response packages. ACEP is pushing back, explaining that now is not the time to introduce divisive surprise billing legislation into the debate about how to respond to the pandemic.