Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP, who completed her term as ACEP President in October, recently sat down with ACEP Now Medical Editor in Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, to share her views on the key accomplishments from her year as President. Here are some highlights from their conversation.
KK: Becky, you’re approaching the end of your very, very busy presidency. Let’s review what has happened in your year.
RP: It’s truly been an honor to represent emergency physicians, but this year has reemphasized that honor and that mission. Emergency physicians are passionate and care about their patients. That has made this job so much easier when it comes to tough decisions.
KK: What an ominous responsibility to be representing 37,000 of your closest friends. What were some of your key achievements this year so far?
RP: I wanted to look at and watch health care reform and the changes going on in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is heavy on the reimbursement piece. The second piece was heavily focusing on diversity and inclusion.
Third, I walked out of the Council meeting into ACEP16 and right into out-of-network balance billing. Some very controversial press, negative for emergency medicine, came out through a perspectives piece in the New England Journal by Zack Cooper.1 We got a query from one of our long-time reporters we work with at The Wall Street Journal who was interested in our CIGNA parody video that Dr. Jay Kaplan had done as he finished his presidency. As we talked to that reporter, we found out that the Cooper article was being published the next day but had not been shared with us, and clearly, all the press had been lined up. There was an NBC Nightly News piece, already filmed, to be released the next day. Our PR team in D.C. calmly said, “Hey, can you send us the article?” Within 12 hours, we had talking points, and we brought up the salient issues for that article. Within 24 hours, I gave multiple interviews, some while working a shift. I was doing a long shift at a Level 2 high-acuity trauma center, and our unit secretary said, “Um, NBC Nightly News is on the phone for an interview, but I see that you’re intubating that patient.” “Tell them I’ll call them back,” I said. We got quotes into over 80 publications and a clip of our parody into the NBC Nightly News when they interviewed Dr. Cooper.