More than $1 Million Contributed by First Meeting
Washington, DC — Representatives of key emergency medicine groups met today in Washington, DC, for the first time in their official capacity as governors of the Emergency Medicine Action Fund (Action Fund) to lay out strategies for dealing with the significant challenges the specialty of emergency medicine will face as health care reform continues. Participants discussed issues, including accountable care organizations, bundled payments and the likelihood that emergency visits will increase, despite health care reform.
“This is a historic moment for emergency medicine, as diverse organizations are joining to speak with one voice and to turn up the volume on the critical issues facing emergency patients,” said Dr. Wesley Fields, chair of the Action Fund and member of the board of directors of CEP America, one the nation’s largest acute care partnerships. “Emergency departments are essential to every community and must have adequate resources. Given the uncertainties ahead, and the myths that have been perpetuated about emergency medicine, our efforts have never been more important.”
ACEP launched the Action Fund to generate additional financial support for regulatory efforts that will affect emergency patients and the specialty of emergency medicine. Scores of emergency medicine groups and organizations have joined independently or formed coalitions to participate, contributing more than $1.1 million. In addition, about 145 individuals have contributed independently to this effort. To support the Action Fund, ACEP has engaged the services of Alston & Bird LLP, Health Policy Alternatives and Hart Health Strategies to augment the staff of its Washington, DC, office.
In addition to ACEP, representatives of six stakeholder organizations are participating on the 18-member board of governors: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine, American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, Emergency Department Practice Management Association, Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. The Action Fund consists of four groups, three coalitions of independent and democratic emergency medicine groups and three state coalitions.
For a complete list of participating organizations, visithttp://www.acep.org/EMActionFund/.
Resources from the Action Fund will be used to educate regulators about fair payment for emergency services and other priorities for emergency medicine as part of the implementation of health care reform. The Action Fund also will support meetings with regulators to help patients receive the best quality of acute care.
“Emergency medicine must play an even greater role in the years ahead,” said Dr. Fields. “The Action Fund will ensure the practitioners of emergency medicine are more directly involved in the development and implementation of policies that enhance the effectiveness of the ED as the vital interface between community and hospital-based providers.”
Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of ACEP, said the Action Fund represents value that no group or organization could obtain on its own.
“The Action Fund was created to dramatically expand the influence of our specialty among federal regulators,” said Dr. Schneider. “Demand for emergency care has grown at twice the rate of the U.S. population, and emergency visits are going to continue to increase. So we need more resources, not fewer. Regulators also need to recognize that emergency care is efficient. We treat nearly 124 million of the sickest patients each year using less than 2 percent of the nation’s health care dollar, a statistic that is often lost in the current cost-cutting environment.”
ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.