The past several months have seen health care reform dominate the attention of ACEP members, other physicians, lawmakers, and the public. In addition to the energy and resources devoted to advancing emergency care in the constantly shifting milieu of the health care debate in Washington, D.C., the activities of daily ACEP life continued. Here is a sampling of some of the achievements of the past 6 months:
ACEP developed a fair payment policy. ACEP provided the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, NCOIL, with draft model legislation on balance billing, ensuring that the model bill provided important exemptions for emergency physicians in the areas of notification of patients and in contracting.
ACEP negotiated with CMS for changes in regulations regarding the administration of propofol and other sedation agents. ACEP, in collaboration with the Emergency Nurses’ Association and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, met with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to negotiate and clarify the terms of the regulations regarding the administration of propofol. CMS requested further information and has promised a response in the near future.
ACEP defended board certification policies in several states. ACEP worked with state chapters in Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina to support ACEP’s policy recognizing ABEM and AOBEM as the only primary certifying bodies in emergency medicine. As a result, the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure rescinded a rule change and efforts are ongoing in Texas and North Carolina.
ACEP placed all LLSA articles on the website for members. ACEP obtained the necessary permissions and placed all 61 articles on the ABEM LLSA Reading Lists on the website, giving members free access through the ACEP LLSA Resource Center (www.acep.org/llsa). This benefit includes free access to the LLSA article summaries published in Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine and access to the LLSA course syllabi from Scientific Assembly.
ACEP made Clinical Policies available in a mobile application. Responding to member requests, ACEP created a mobile application for accessing Clinical Policies. The Clinical Policy “Critical Issues in the Management of Adult Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Community-Acquired Pneumonia” continues to be one of the most downloaded online resources.
ACEP created a free online text for members. ACEP’s first-ever online text, “Observation Medicine,” was published online and continues to be available as a free member benefit.
ACEP became a free web host for chapters. In order to assist chapters with the demands of an increasingly tech savvy membership, ACEP developed a free website service that manages site content for chapters. Sites were built for five chapters, with three more under construction and three more in the planning stages.
ACEP continued to be a media presence. ACEP continued to engage the media fully, with resultant coverage in most major print, online, and social network outlets. Major coverage by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, and MSNBC addressed H1N1, health care reform, the role of EM in disaster response, and various aspects of medical care. I had letters to the editor published in The Wall Street Journal (health care reform), The New York Times (emergency department closures), and Politico (health care reform). In a high-profile exchange, Bill O’Reilly used information from ACEP’s press conference on emergency department visits in Massachusetts to question Mitt Romney.
ACEP doubled attendance and offerings of some of the most popular educational courses. The Advanced EM Pediatrics Assembly had 604 attendees this Spring in New York City, double the anticipated number. As a result of demand, ACEP conducted two EMBRS courses and two Teaching Fellowship courses since last fall.
ACEP set attendance records at the 2010 Leadership and Advocacy Conference. ACEP’s 2010 Leadership and Advocacy Conference had record-setting attendance this year, and ACEP members from 41 states and the District of Columbia participated in 294 meetings in Capitol Hill offices with legislators and/or their health care staff. Eighty-four percent of the Senate offices were visited while nearly half of the House of Representatives’ offices were visited.
Annals of Emergency Medicine gained a record impact factor. Annals of Emergency Medicine continued to be the number one peer-reviewed scientific journal in emergency medicine, with an impact factor of 3.755. Impact factor is based on the amount of published research cited by other journals, and is regarded as a key measure of journal quality.
ACEP redesigned EM Career Central. Additional search capabilities, CV building advice, interview skill resources, and networking opportunities added strength to the online job bank maintained at EM Career Central on the ACEP website.
ACEP hosted an AHRQ grant conference. ACEP hosted an AHRQ grant conference, “Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Emergency Care across the Continuum: A Systems Approach.” The conference brought together government, IT, healthcare, research, and policy experts to develop research priorities for improving the quality and efficiency of our health care system.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but serves to illustrate that behind the scenes and beyond the headlines, ACEP has been working diligently to serve the members. Whether advocating on your patients’ behalf to governmental entities or enhancing your membership benefits to make your practice a little easier, you can count on ACEP to pay attention to the issues that matter and to continue advancing emergency care.