As the political campaign season swings into high gear, emergency physicians are engaged as never before with legislative officials in Washington, D.C. and in home districts.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 31 – No 10 – October 2012
The impetus, of course, is the number of significant health care reform initiatives pending at the Federal level and party control of the U.S. Senate, House, and White House hanging in the balance.
The National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee (NEMPAC), created as a separate fund within ACEP, is now one of the nation’s top four political action committees among physician specialties.
It ranks as a top donor, along with anesthesiologists, orthopedic surgeons and radiologists.
By making contributions to NEMPAC, ACEP members can combine their individual donations to have maximum impact with legislators. While there are common concerns among medical specialties, NEMPAC officials say emergency physicians benefit from having their own strong presence in Washington, D.C.
“Emergency medicine still remains the safety net of America,” said Dr. Peter J. Jacoby, chairman of NEMPAC’s Board of Trustees. “We are there all the time, whether you can pay or not pay.”
That unique identity within the medical profession is a key part of NEMPAC’s success.
Emergency physicians are increasingly aware that their practices are greatly influenced by the outcome of political campaigns, and by legislative and regulatory decisions from lawmakers. It’s critical that emergency physicians identify with NEMPAC’s mission because the committee’s funds are raised exclusively from personal donations by ACEP members.
A member may contribute up to $5,000 to NEMPAC per year. Because NEMPAC cannot accept contributions from corporations and non-ACEP members, its success is reliant on the support and commitment of the membership, year after year. Much of NEMPAC’s growth has occurred in recent years. Since 2008, it has raised more than $1 million per year.
The PAC raised its sights this year because of the high number of contested political races across the country and is on target to meet a fundraising goal of $1,150,000 set by ACEP’s Board of Directors. From Jan. 1-Sept. 1 of this year, 4,486 ACEP members collectively donated $716,957 to NEMPAC. NEMPAC traditionally receives a big boost in fall during ACEP’s Scientific Assembly when the leadership of ACEP steps up to the plate as well as EM physician groups such as CEP America, EMA, EMP, MEP, and FEP among others who collect contributions from their ACEP members and donate them during the meeting.
The NEMPAC Board of Trustees set a fundraising goal of $200,000 for the 2012 meeting in October. Some longtime emergency physicians say they can see the impact of NEMPAC’s work because members have much more input on public policy now than in past years.