In 2011, following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the litany of forthcoming rulemaking and regulations related to its implementation, and the effect it would have on the delivery of emergency medical services, ACEP launched the Emergency Medicine Action Fund (EMAF) in an effort to expand emergency medicine’s influence among federal regulators.
While ACEP also has the National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee (NEMPAC), which focuses on legislation related to emergency medicine, EMAF’s focus is on regulatory language that governs the practice of emergency medicine.
Along with an ACEP representative, six stakeholder organizations were invited to sit on EMAF’s Board of Governors: American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine (AACEM), American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP), Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA), Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA), and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).
Creation of EMAF also relied on the involvement and financial support of several national and regional emergency physician groups, including Vituity (formerly California Emergency Physicians), Envision, TeamHealth, and US Acute Care Solutions, as well as coalitions comprising several state-based emergency physician groups in Florida, Georgia, New York, and Texas.
EMAF empowers emergency medicine to speak with one voice and one message, delivered by one team of emergency medicine experts, including consultants, lobbyists, attorneys, staffers, and physician leaders. Through a combined effort, EMAF has been able to achieve things that none of these groups could do on their own.
Pooled monies help equip ACEP to positively impact health care regulations, fund and retain counsel to engage in litigation of importance to emergency medicine, and retain professional consultants and researchers to develop models, whitepapers, and research in furtherance of EMAF’s core mission.
In addition to helping influence rulemaking associated with the ACA, EMAF has funded engagement to study and promulgate evolving practice models and demonstration projects such as accountable care organizations, bundled payments, and the most recent acute unscheduled care model (AUCM), now pending a hearing before the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Physician Technical Advisory Committee.
Additionally, EMAF coffers are used to ensure emergency physicians receive fair payment for their services, and have funded the following litigation initiatives:
- In Washington state against the state’s Medicaid agency challenging the state’s decision to cap certain types of emergency visits.
- In Georgia, against Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, challenging Anthem’s non-emergent policy.
- Against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services related to the reimbursement methodology developed under the ACA and rulemaking associated with the payment of out-of-network emergency services.
Monies were also earmarked to provide funding for studies to demonstrate to regulators and policy-makers emergency medicine’s value, quality, and cost efficiencies, despite biases to the contrary.