Just a month after its launch, the Emergency Medicine Action Fund is already gaining nationwide support with more than $350,000 in contributions. But even with its strong start, the Action Fund still needs more involvement to make a significant impact on the federal regulatory agenda, supporters say.
“The Emergency Medicine Action Fund will allow our specialty to speak with one voice and one message, delivered by one team of consultants, lobbyists, attorneys, staffers, and physician leaders,” said Dr. Wesley Fields, chair of the Emergency Medicine Action Fund.
“We believe that this team deserves wide and deep support from emergency physicians for years to come. We also believe the Action Fund represents unsurpassed value no group or organization could obtain on its own,” he said.
The Society of Academic Emergency Medicine and the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association have agreed to accept the invitation to join ACEP on the Action Fund’s Board of Governors and provide contributions to the Emergency Medicine Action Fund.
As of mid-March, physician groups of all sizes and from every practice model are also joining in, including CEP America, TeamHealth, Florida Emergency Physicians, and Northside Emergency Associates (Georgia). Additionally, MedData Inc., a billing and coding company based in California, has contributed to the Action Fund. And several individuals have also personally contributed.
“To effect a meaningful change, emergency medicine needs more than a single champion. It needs a collective body that can pool limited resources from many sources and become a compelling force that can truly impact the emergency medicine practice environment,” said ACEP President Dr. Sandra Schneider.
The work on health care reform regulations has only just begun. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is widely viewed in emergency medicine as the biggest potential game-changer since the enactment of EMTALA in 1986. Given this environment, the Emergency Medicine Action Fund was created to expand dramatically the influence of our specialty among the federal regulators who will be revising current standards for health care insurance, delivery, and payment.
For example, the Emergency Medicine Action Fund will engage some of the most prominent and influential law firms and consultants, including Alston & Bird LLP, Hart Health Strategies, and Health Policy Alternatives. These firms, key players in health policy for more than 20 years, are known and respected for their regulatory expertise, comprehensive understanding of complex reimbursement issues, and ability to research and identify effective means of communicating the value of emergency medicine to important stakeholders.
NEMPAC, ACEP’s political action committee, is an important tool to support candidates. With the significant changes in Congress and anticipated legislative changes to PPACA for years to come, NEMPAC must continue to have a significant presence on Capitol Hill.
The Emergency Medicine Action Fund will greatly expand our efforts to influence federal regulatory issues in ways that differ from NEMPAC. Both NEMPAC and the Emergency Medicine Action Fund need sustained contributions to represent the interests of emergency medicine effectively.
“To practice in the world we wish for, we need to affect not only the legislative process but also the resulting regulations,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, Secretary-Treasurer of the ACEP Board of Directors. “With health care reform, accountable care organizations, value-based purchasing, and other issues looming, it will take a wide vision, strong values, real collaboration and, frankly, the money to realistically influence a regulatory change that favors emergency medicine,” he added.
To find out more or to contribute, please visit www.acep.org/EMActionFund.