First, let me congratulate Jennifer Wiler, MD, MBA, the former EMRA Speaker was just elected Chair of the AMA Women Physicians Congress. Great job, Dr. Wiler, and a well deserved honor.
In addition to the work being done by Dr. Wiler, members of ACEP’s AMA Section Council continue their outstanding representation of emergency medicine at the AMA House of Delegates meeting, where final voting on a number of resolutions important to emergency medicine will occur later in the week. Congratulations to Section Council Chair John Moorhead, MD, FACEP our other Section Council Members and staff liaison Cal Chaney for their efforts.
AMA President Dr. Nancy Neilson has been very impressive. During her speech at Saturday’s Opening Session, Dr. Nielsen compared the moment at hand for America’s physicians—the nationwide debate about health care reform—to one of the greatest in the country’s history, D-Day. “We now have the best, and maybe last, chance in a generation to build [a] bridge,” Dr. Nielsen said. “This is our profession’s D-Day.”
The speech got a standing ovation from the crowd. How appropriate that Dr. Neilson compared our task to D-Day. Our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, will be speaking the House of Delegates on Monday morning and asking America’s physicians to support his plans for health care reform. ACEP member response to the speech will be posted later that day.
After his presentation, President Obama will meet privately with the AMA Board of Trustees, which includes three ACEP members. We are living in interesting times and I’m hopeful for emergency medicine.
Here are some specifics on resolutions being considered at the meeting that are of interest to emergency medicine:
CMS Report 3-A-09: Emergency Department Boarding and Crowding, and Resolution 719: Decreasing Emergency Department Overcrowding, received unanimous support from witnesses at the reference committee.
Two ACEP leaders, Linda Lawrence, MD, FACEP and Stephen Epstein, MD, FACEP were among those who testified. Dr. Epstein urged the reference committee to accept an amendment calling for House of Delegates support for enactment of the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act and for its inclusion in federal health care reform proposal.
Next Steps: The Reference Committee will issue its report/recommendations tomorrow with House of Delegates action to follow. House of Delegate adoption of the resolution (especially if amended per Dr. Epstein’s suggestion) would constitute official AMA endorsement of the Access Act. Stay tuned