By Alexander M. Rosenau, DO, CPE, FACEP
As we come upon the halfway point of my Presidency, I’d like to offer ACEP members an update and share news about exciting things we’re working on for the coming months. For me, the past six months have been intense, as I’ve connected with individual members, groups, organizations and legislators in concert with our strong Board of Directors, expert staff and amazing volunteer physician members. Dialogue, conflict management for a better result, as well as bringing together the right folks for both the challenges at hand and those just over the horizon are daily activities. I’ve cherished every minute. Emergency physicians enjoy a tremendous relationship with each other, and I know we’ve done some things in the past six months to make our bond even stronger – and to appreciate our past even more. In all things emergency medicine, my mantra is “them is us and us is them,” meaning that the common bond we share is much stronger than the forces tugging at us in disparate directions. When you read this update, please know that I will continue to work hard for you over the next six months, and I welcome any feedback. I hope to see you at our Leadership and Advocacy Conference next month and ACEP14 this fall, and please don’t forget to say, “Hey.”
Report Card Garners Major Media Attention
Although we don’t like the results we saw from the release of the 2014 State-by-State Report Card on Emergency Medicine, an overall grade of D-Plus nationwide could have a positive impact on health care moving forward. Our Report Card fostered many a conversation with state legislators. Media outlets have pointed out what we already knew – that several states don’t have the resources and policies in place to support high-quality emergency care. Stories about the Report Card appeared in major newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle and The Seattle Times, to name a few. Along with print stories, nearly 800 broadcast stories aired on news organizations including ABC’s World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox Business News, CNBC’s Kudlow and Kramer, WNBC New York, and Telemundo as well as dozens of local television stations across the country. The estimated audience reach was 72.2 million people. Our dedicated spokespersons will continue to make sure the results of this study resonate nationwide. Keep up with the progress at www.emreportcard.org.
ACEP Working on Several Federal Advocacy Efforts
One of the most critical federal advocacy projects we’re currently working on is the support of H.R. 36/S.961, the “Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2013,” introduced by my 911 key contact, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) in the House and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) in the Senate. The bill provides medical liability relief for physicians providing care under the EMTALA mandate. The House bill continues to gain support and reached nearly 70 co-sponsors last month. Our advocacy team is working diligently on SGR repeal in concert with a number of allies. Although the CBO rated an SGR fix the most affordable ever, Congress failed to settle the offset funding issue and we didn’t get the permanent fix. The previous work of our Washington office in collaboration with our specialty and AMA allies assured prevention of a seriously damaging 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for one year; also extending dozens of other expiring health care-related provisions. ACEP will continue to work with the AMA and other medical specialty societies to encourage members of Congress to take action this year on the permanent repeal of the SGR. We’ve also been working very closely with the Emergency Medicine Action Fund (EMAF) to address regulatory reform under the Affordable Care Act, including areas related to quality measures reporting and reimbursement.
ACEP Now Launched
When the calendar flipped to 2014, ACEP turned its monthly publication up a notch. We wanted to blend the needs of our membership with an edgy editorial vision related more closely to the world we work in. Beginning with a round-table discussion cover story and a compelling piece on breaking down racial barriers in the ED, the new-look ACEP Now hit mailboxes in mid-January and began receiving rave reviews from ACEP members. I hope you like the direction of our new medical editor-in-chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, and our new publishing partner, Wiley Press. The new ACEP Now is not only bigger, it features more incisive opinions, “you are there” real articles regarding our decision making and advice from some of emergency medicine’s most renowned physicians. The news from ACEP and events related to the College will always be a part of the magazine, so none of that has changed. What has changed is the attention to detail and open dialogue when opinions differ on controversial issues. If you haven’t seen ACEP Now lately, grab a copy soon. Your feedback is welcome at www.acepnow.com .
Strategic Plan Taking Shape
In leading the annual Board retreat in December, top-level goals and objectives for the college from now until 2017 were debated, prioritized and built for impact. Goal 1: Care transitions and reform of the health care delivery system continue at full gallup. Goal 2 received particular attention with the formation of the Membership Engagement Task Force, the Membership Bylaws Task Force and the Residency Visit Task Force. Your fellow member leaders of these groups, their Board of Director Liaisons, and assigned top level staff are poised for success in member engagement and satisfaction. Here’s an overview of the Strategic Plan:
Goal 1 – Reform and Improve the Delivery System for Emergency Care
- Objective A – Identify, support, and promote delivery models that provide effective and efficient emergency medical and acute care in different environments.
- Objective B – Promote quality and patient safety, including development and validation of quality measures.
- Objective C – Pursue strategies for ensuring fair payment and practice sustainability.
- Objective D – Pursue solutions for workforce issues that ensure access to high quality emergency care.
- Objective E – Advocate for meaningful liability reform at the state and federal levels.
- Objective F – Communicate the value of emergency medicine as an important component of the health care system.
Goal 2 – Enhance Membership Value and Member Engagement
- Objective A – Increase total membership and transitioning resident retention.
- Objective B – Provide robust educational offerings, including novel delivery methods.
- Objective C – Support member well-being.
- Objective D – Ensure adequate infrastructure to support growth.
Building Bridges and Strengthening Relationships
My other mantra is to connect ACEP with others who share our passion for quality health care. If we build bridges and enhance our synergy with other health care organizations, we benefit and so do our patients. We’re currently working to provide input to ABEM for recognition of Clinical Ultrasound for subspecialty certification. This will improve education, continue to allow Ultrasound use for patient care by all members meeting ACEP guidelines and validate point of care as a reimbursable item. This contributes to our value. Our relationship with CORD continues to grow, as does our joint work with CORD and SAEM in GME matters. EMRA has a new executive director and our relationship with EMRA could not be stronger. We’re proud to announce the recent ACEP/SEMPA Advanced Practice Provider Academy drew rave reviews and more than 300 physician assistant and nurse attendees. I participated as our two organizations penned a new five-year management service contract in New Orleans last month. I directed a new task force be formed to reach out to identify opportunities for collaboration with the Society of Hospitalist Medicine. When it comes to building bridges, there are many organizations whose activities, benchmarks and plans have relevance to us. That is just one reason our executive director, Dean Wilkerson, has been such an asset to our organization for the past decade. We meet by phone at least weekly, communicate via email most days. Your Board members are out and about on a national scale gathering information, forming relationships and honing the judgment that all of you expect your elected leaders to use. I personally appreciate their diplomacy and expert work.
Two Clinical Policies Reviewed
ACEP reviewed two Clinical Policies recently. In response to the Council- and ACEP Board–adopted Amended Resolution 32(13), the “Clinical Policy: Use of Intravenous tPA for the Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Emergency Department” is being reviewed. The Clinical Policies Committee, as per council, accepted comments until March 24. Findings and any recommendations regarding the policy will be reported to the ACEP Board in June. Also, per the resolution, future clinical policies will include a 60-day comment period before finalization. A Clinical Policies Subcommittee of ACEP completed a draft clinical guideline in late March, “Clinical Policy: Critical Issues in the Evaluation and Management of Adult Patients with Suspected Acute Non-Traumatic Thoracic Aortic Dissection.” It’s open for comments until May 28, 2014. To view the draft policy and comment form, go to http://www.acep.org/content.aspx?ekfrm=96266. For questions, please contact Rhonda Whitson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality Measures and Reimbursement
ACEP has accepted donated emergency medicine quality measures from other organizations, and we’re developing our own for member benefit (both for CMS incentive and avoidance of CMS penalty). These steps, in addition to our continuing education on reimbursement and coding, add value to your bottom line and salary. We’ve had several recent articles, webinars and a spring conference devoted to Reimbursement and Coding, helping you prepare for reimbursement issues, the eventuality of ICD-10 and PQRS benefits in concert with ABEM.
ACEP’s Official Mobile App Improved
The official ACEP mobile app, an essential resource for members and other emergency care providers, received an upgrade early in 2013 to make navigation easier and to improve the design. The next phase of upgrades is currently being implemented. This includes the addition of several links to education resources from ACEP’s bookstore, audio recordings from the monthly Education on Demand newsletter and a section where emergency medicine news published in ACEP Now can be found. You can also find a secure Member Directory, a personalized Member Guide that reflects your chapter and sections, an events calendar and ACEP’s clinical policies. If you don’t have ACEP’s app on your phone, download it today for iPhone or Android devices.
EMF Continues Endowment Push
Since October, EMF has launched a new logo and continues the momentum of the ACEP $1 million match to bring the endowment to maturity with a corpus of $2.5 million. To help achieve this goal, for every dollar contributed to EMF before June 30, EMF will match it with a contribution of 50 cents toward the endowment. EMF has a new board and a new Strategic Plan. It’s Goals and Objectives are to:
- Goal 1 – Position EMF as the principal sponsor of scientifically rigorous research and education to to improve the care of the acutely ill and injured and policy research that aligns with emergency care priorities
- Goal 2: Increase EMF’s capacity to engage more people in emergency medicine research and award more grants
- Goal 3 – Position EMF as the premier 501(c)(3) emergency medicine foundation
- Goal 4 – Increase EMF revenue to fund more research grants and education projects
Please go to www.emfoundation.org, and make EMF your charity of choice.
Annals Added to eCME Options
In collaboration with ACEP’s online education program, articles from the Annals of Emergency Medicine are being offered as a CME component. As of April 2014, there were 13 Annals-based articles available to members. ACEP looks forward to seeing this educational offering become a robust element of ACEP’s overall online education program. Learn more at www.acep.org/ecme.
Concurrent with the inauguration of the eCME program, Annals announced that it would continue its relationship with long-time publisher, Elsevier. The five-year contract runs through December 2018, and provides a solid and stable financial basis for journal revenues. The contract provides a generous editorial office stipend along with a guaranteed minimum royalty, enabling Annals to contribute substantially toward the overall financial success of the College.
ACEP Continues to Add Value, Enhance Image
The continued strength of our specialty requires us to do some heavy lifting in areas such as keeping prudent layperson as a recognized part of the ACA, working toward an SGR fix and changing perception about the cost of emergency care. Working together, we will make progress. As a result, our place in the House of Medicine will be enhanced. And we’re building strong connections with others while providing service to our chapters as they protect the interests of our members. Chapter efforts in Washington state and most recently in Virginia underscore the need for our teamwork. We believe that Steve Stack will become the AMA’s first ever Emergency Physician President. We have a real chance for the AMA to continue its re-invigoration with a clear view of EM’s contribution to the house of medicine because of his upcoming service. If you have any membership dollars available in your professional budget, I hope you consider making this year one in which you might become an AMA member to bolster our ACEP delegation at the AMA. There are certain things that are more do-able when we have a strong delegation within the AMA, whether advancing our cause within the house of medicine or in our negotiations at the RUC.
Spring Conferences in Full Swing, LAC Coming Up
ACEP’s busy spring conference lineup began in February with the Reimbursement and Coding Conferences in New Orleans. With the upcoming changes in coding and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, payment topics have become even more popular and necessary. More than 200 emergency physicians participated in the February 2014 conference. Your next chance to brush up on your knowledge in this area is March 2015 when the R/C Conferences move to Las Vegas.
The 2014 Advanced Pediatric Emergency Medicine Assembly was held in New York City in March and drew more than 550 four-day registrants. This is the highest number in four years.
ACEP’s newest offering, the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Academy, recently wrapped up. More than 300 attendees received a crash course in emergency department essentials. Held in conjunction with SEMPA, this conference is vital for emergency department providers who might be new to the ED or need help in certain areas. The demand for this conference was high and feedback positive, so ACEP and SEMPA have decided to hold a second installment of Phase I in August. The conference has also been renamed Emergency Medicine Academy.
ACEP’s Leadership and Advocacy Conference will be May 18-21 in Washington, D.C. If you’ve never been to this conference, you’re missing one of the best three days of education and networking available. Thought-provoking, inspiring and challenging sessions by nationally recognized speakers and key decision makers will provide you the inside information and skills you need to maximize your impact as an emergency medicine leader and advocate. Invited Speakers for the Conference include: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR); U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY); Amy Walter, Political Analyst for the Cook Political Report; Patrick Conway, MD, Deputy Administrator for Innovation & Quality & CMS Chief Medical Officer. Please plan to come to Washington, D.C., next month to network with ACEP leaders and advocate for your specialty.
Please remember the elevator speech when you run into your hospital leaders and legislators:
We are 4% of the physician workforce seeing 28% of all acute care visits. We are the doctors of first contact, unscheduled, federally mandated care regardless of financial status. We are over 32,000 ACEP members seeing 130 million patient visits, 24/7/365 for about 4% of the national healthcare dollar. Our customers include primary care docs who send their patients to us for complex medical diagnostic work-ups. We are the portal of entry for 75% of all hospital admissions. We are the hub of the enterprise, and are working toward being masters of transitions of care. We are not only expected to be the admittors, but also the admitting avoidance service through our work in care coordination. And we do this in a room, in a hallway, in ‘copters and ambulances during disasters large and small every shift of every single day.
Thanks for the Past Six Months
I started my EM practice in the 1980s, and there are many reasons I value membership and the friends I’ve made over the years. I can pick up a phone and dial a colleague anywhere for advice. Like all families and all democratic groups filled with the riches of a knowledge-based constituency, we will have disagreements and some conflict. It’s all for a better result and a strong organization, as long as we stick together. The knowledge I’ve gained in reimbursement and coding and practice management has paid me back every dollar I ever contributed to ACEP, EMF and NEMPAC. The education I’ve received at conferences has made my practice better and improved the care of my patients. I was proud to join ACEP then, and I’m proud to be its President today. ACEP is growing. ACEP is dynamic. ACEP gives you a good return on your dues investment dollars. Your partners, your colleagues are the members of the committees, task forces, sections, Board, Council, and technical expert panels that create our future. Let’s connect. See you at LAC and ACEP14.
Alexander M. Rosenau, DO, CPE, FACEP
President, American College of Emergency Physicians