At its inaugural meeting, the Emergency Medicine Action Fund Board of Governors developed six areas of focus for the projects the Fund will seek to impact this year.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 30 – No 08 – August 2011
Anticipating rules and regulations stemming from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the Action Fund’s Board of Governors agreed to broad categories that they believe would have the most impact on emergency physicians:
- Workforce/residency training and funding graduate medical education
- Reimbursement, risk and gain sharing, and valuation of professional services
- Relationships with hospitals and other major elements of the health care system
- Information technology, health care data, and quality measurements
- Adaptation to reforms in the health care environment
- Community access and public health issues
Most of these categories relate to each other, the Board acknowledged, adding that some of these areas may be easier to impact than others.
“It’s been incredibly frustrating that one of the common sound bites during health care debates is the notion that every time someone goes to the ED, it’s a failure of the system,” said Dr. Wes Fields, Action Fund chair.
“In reality, we connect with every department of the medical staff and every major primary care group in our ED practices. We are the problem solvers in our hospitals and in our communities; we are the nation’s leaders in patient-centered integration of care,” he added. “The Action Fund will help us translate what we do every day into a greater degree of respect and influence with policy makers in Washington.”
Consultants have been retained to advance emergency medicine’s regulatory agenda, and they attended the meeting. The consultants pointed out that implementation of the ACA hinges on Congress answering some of the larger financial questions facing the nation.
Tom Scully, former CMS administrator and the Action Fund’s legal adviser from Alston & Bird, said payment bundling and value-based purchasing are not new ideas – and that despite any movement to repeal or have the courts overturn the ACA, these concepts are likely to continue to be the focus of federal agencies.
“Everything CMS is doing will affect your dollars,” Mr. Scully said. “If you come as a community, you will have more credibility and are likely to get more traction on your issues. … Hitting [CMS administrators] repeatedly with good arguments and research is how you get the outcome you need,” he added.
The Board recognized the need to have data to bolster their arguments and appointed a work group to develop research project ideas.