The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 (H.R. 3717)
This bill proposes to improve research and data collection of existing mental health programs, promote evidence-based medicine systems of care for patients with mental health issues, remove regulations that prohibit same-day billing under Medicaid for treatment of physical and mental health issues, and establish federal liability protections for health professionals who volunteer at community health centers or behavioral health centers.
EMTALA Medical Liability Reform
The Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 36/S. 961)
Co-sponsored by multiple members of the House and Senate and passed in the House by voice vote in 2012, this bill would provide liability protection for EMTALA-related services in the emergency department to emergency physicians and on-call specialists as federal employees under the Public Health Safety Act.
Graduate Medical Education
The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013 (H.R. 1180/S. 577)
This bill would expand the current cap, in place since 1997, on the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education slots in the United States. It would create 15,000 new training slots over five years with one-third of the positions each year directed to hospitals already operating over their resident limits and half of the positions dedicated to training physicians in specialty shortages. ACEP also supports funding for the National Health Care Workforce Commission that was authorized under the Affordable Care Act in 2010 but remains unfunded.
The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015)
Although Congress averted a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement to physicians this year, the latest patch still does not address the flaws with the SGR payment formula. This bill would completely repeal the SGR and replace it with a workable formula.
Safe Harbor Liability Protections
The Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act (H.R. 4106)
This bill would provide increased liability protection in the form of legal safe harbors to physicians who demonstrate they followed clinical guidelines developed by a multidisciplinary panel of experts. These safe harbors would provide physicians the opportunity to have their case heard in federal court, making the case subject to mandatory alternative dispute resolution rather than trial.
Dr. Moody is an emergency physician and ED medical director for Mountain States Health Alliance in Norton, Virginia; president-elect for Tennessee ACEP; and an ACEP Councillor since 2011.