Part of the ACEP mission is to expand and strengthen state advocacy. Chapter initiatives are making a positive impact on emergency physicians in their own communities with actions that often have implications for the entire specialty. Here, we highlight some of the key state efforts this year.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 42 – No 09 – September 2023
California Scores Historic Reimbursement Win
After hundreds of California ACEP members contacted Governor Newsom and state legislators, a long-overdue increase to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates was included in the state’s budget.
Starting in 2025, $200 million will be devoted annually to increase reimbursement rates to emergency physicians. The increase will move reimbursement rates from between 55 and 60 percent of Medicare reimbursement to 80 percent.
Medi-Cal reimbursement rates have not increased in 20 years, until now. California ACEP advocacy led to emergency medicine being the only physician specialty specifically delineated in the budget bill.
“We are thrilled that these changes will improve access to care for Medi-Cal recipients,” said Valerie Norton, MD, FACEP, president of California ACEP. “The long overdue increase should significantly impact emergency physicians who serve a high proportion of vulnerable patients—this is a stunning success.”
There will be other increases to Medi-Cal, including an annual appropriation of $1.38 billion for primary-care rate increases, $1.15 billion for specialty-care rate increases, $500 million for hospital emergency-department reimbursement, at least $500 million for family planning and reproductive-health care, and $600 million for behavioral-health facilities, including some for new inpatient psychiatric beds.
Minnesota Calls for System Changes to Address Boarding Crisis
Minnesota ACEP is teaming with the Minnesota Medical Association to offer a series of recommendations to address the boarding crisis in their home state.
The recommendations, released in June, were outlined in a detailed statement that includes suggestions to address the many contributing factors, mitigate exacerbating circumstances, and develop solutions focused on patients with psychiatric diagnoses collaboratively with partners across the care continuum.
Task force co-chair Drew Zinkel, MD, senior medical director of emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and past president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians: “The recommendations that our task force developed offer up a game plan on addressing this complex issue. It’s a big lift but desperately needed.”
Read the Minnesota ACEP and Minnesota Medical Association recommendations in its joint statement at acep.org/MNboarding.
Closing the Road to Alternative Certification in Puerto Rico
Senate Project 1134, touted as a way to alleviate the physician shortage in Puerto Rico, would have created an alternative pathway to a certification in emergency medicine, avoiding the training and certification standards supported by ACEP and the American Board of Emergency Medicine.