Posts Tagged become an advocate
Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, ACEP Past President
I would like to personally invite you to become a member of the Emergency Medicine Practice Research Network – EM-PRN. Becoming a member is simple; just click on this link and answer a brief survey. It will take less than five minutes. We want to know if you are seeing patients with chronic pain, we want to know if you are experiencing medication shortages and how you are coping. We want to know how you practice. YOUR ANSWERS will provide ACEP with essential information for our advocacy in Washington and improving emergency care. To stay a member, all you need TO DO is to agree that you will complete 3-4 surveys, five minutes or less, each year.
Membership at this time is only open to ACEP members, residents, attendings and life members. Sorry, we cannot as yet accommodate non-members or medical students. Many other specialities have built practice research networks. Pediatrics has had one for more than a decade. They started small, like us. They have found that getting data from physicians on the front lines is often very different than getting it from inner city, teaching hospitals. Once you join EM-PRN, you will be able to do much more than just give opinions to survey questions. We want to submit ideas for research projects and survey questions that YOU would be interested in. Our group will pick the more interesting and the most popular IDEAS for the next survey. So you not only will be providing answers, you’ll be designing the questions.
Right now and for the next few years, EM-PRN will be largely surveys. Eventually, we will likely want to grow to collect some data. For example, IN THE FUTURE we might want to monitor the number of patients seen with chronic pain in emergency departments. You would simply count the actual number of patients you see during a single shift (no names, no identifiers) and submit it to ACEP.
We could then monitor this number over time to see if it is increasing, decreasing or staying the same. The members of EM-PRN will help direct what research projects we consider and will be acknowledged on any publication. Members will also receive the results of any project ahead of publication. So in the time it has taken you to read this Blog, YOU could contribute to advancing our knowledge of the real practice of emergency medicine. Join now.
Now home in Dayton for me and wherever you are today, the real work begins. We had a strong start at LAC this year in Washington DC with over 400 hill visits, but that is just the beginning. Now comes the grassroots ground effort to obtain more sponsors, gather support, and lobby for a hearing. Whether or not you were at LAC, emergency medicine needs your help!
Write a letter. Take the time to thank those that you met with in DC if you had the opportunity to travel. If you did not make it to DC, write to your legislator and senator and encourage them to support the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act of 2009 (HR1188, SB 468) this year. It does not need to be long. Just tell them the problem of overcrowding, given them a story of their constituents, and the benefits of the bill. For those that may not be as familiar, this bill studies the problem of overcrowding, works to develop and implement the suggested solutions, and provide funding for those that provide emergency care to encourage on call coverage and access to emergency services. A few minutes to write a letter can make significant change! I encourage you to lobby your partners to do the same.
Write to the papers. It is truly amazing how willing the papers are to publish a letter to the editor from a physician. There are standard letters that you can obtain from the ACEP advocacy folks, or write your own. Most have a word count around 250 words, so you can make it short. Just take the time to get the word out.
Talk to your friends/colleagues/administors/etc. Start the conversation on the overcrowding problem. If you suffer right now from overcrowding, use this as a launching point for change. If you are among the lucky few who have not experienced significant overcrowding, work toward a prophylactic solution and get some of the solutions in place.
In the end, the work on DC is only a start, the real work begins at home. Keep up the progress and the hardwork. Make a real effort to build on the success and relationships you have formed. We need to remind those that are going to define health care reform that the emergency department has been and will be the national safety net. We need a seat at the table. That only happens with your support and dedication!