This year’s ACEP Leadership & Advocacy Conference (LAC) held May 20–23 in Washington, D.C., provided ACEP members a wonderful opportunity to get updated on the key national and state issues affecting the practice of emergency medicine and have their voices heard on the crucial issue of health care reform in Washington, D.C.
LAC is really four amazing meetings in one. Although the conference didn’t officially start until Monday, the pre-meetings on Sunday focused on giving attendees a jumpstart on the basics of health care advocacy. The first official day of LAC was Monday’s Leadership Summit focusing on issues that enable all of us to be more mindful and effective leaders. Tuesday was the day when attendees became advocates, culminating with official visits to members of Congress on Capitol Hill. The last day of the conference was the Solutions Forum focusing on two key topics: opioids and end-of-life care.
This year’s meeting was packed with both great ACEP speakers and invited guests from Congress and the federal government. Given the upcoming elections in November, together with current debates and votes on key issues, the conference and our advocacy on the Hill were a great success.
The “Pre-Game” Meetings
With nearly 150 EM residents and medical student included in the more than 700 attendees at the conference, Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA) and the ACEP Young Physicians Section (YPS) once again started the action on Sunday with their Health Policy Primer program. This half-day session included great presentations beginning with the “Intro to Health Policy” talk by Rachel Solnick, MD who serves as EMRA’s legislative advisor, followed by “How is the Government Running Healthcare” by Jeet Guram, MD, senior advisor to CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Vidor Friedman MD, FACEP, from the ACEP Board of Directors closed the conference with “A Roadmap to Getting Involved,” encouraging the attendees to be persistent in their advocacy efforts and to work within ACEP’s many opportunities to be contributors in the health policy arena. This year a new half-day Chapter Leadership Session was added to the conference’s Sunday schedule. This session provided nuts-and-bolts solutions for current and future chapter leaders. Topics in the program included leading an effective state advocacy program, financial leadership at a chapter level, building an effective board, and a review of the resources available to state chapters from national ACEP.
The Leadership Summit portion of the conference on Monday began with presentations challenging attendees to focus on how we each can personally develop a better toolkit as leaders to foster both personal wellness and the wellness of those we lead and mentor. The talk by Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP, medical director of the NFL Players Association, on “Rewarding Champions, Corralling Stragglers” took on the tough issue of managing expectations and performance of others—never an easy task. ACEP Board member Aisha Liferidge, MD, MPH, FACEP, led a session on “Glass or Sky: Ensuring Women Lead.” Presentations on developing personal and professional life balance and an update on the changes coming to Maintenance of Certification by ABEM President Terry Kowalenko, MD, FACEP, closed out the morning program. The afternoon session was kicked off by Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report, who provided an election 2018 update. The rest of the afternoon was filled with an update by ACEP staff and others on the issues that are shaping how we practice emergency medicine. The afternoon format also allowed participants to attend smaller breakout sessions. Topics and issues covered in the program included:
- “Federal Pay for Performance Programs for EM: MIPS Tips”
- “What’s Ahead for Entitlement Reform”
- “Public Policy Town Hall: Emergency Preparedness,” including special guest speaker Robert Kadlec, MD, assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response for the Department of Health and Human Services
- “How to Change Perceptions of Emergency Care”
- “To the Defense of Our Patients: State Level Responses to Insurer Attacks on the Prudent Layperson”
- “Savvy Social Media and Storytelling for Advocacy”