What is the Emergency Medicine Action Fund?
In January 2011, the ACEP Board of Directors voted to create the Emergency Medicine Action Fund to generate additional financial support for our existing advocacy efforts in Washington DC. As part of the Action Fund’s commitment to advancing the needs of emergency medicine, six stakeholder organizations have been invited to sit on the Board of Governors. They include AAEM, AACEM, ACOEP, EDPMA, EMRA and SAEM. Along with ACEP, these organizations will help guide the direction of the Action Fund to address the federal regulatory issues that matter to you.
Why should you get involved?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has the potential to dramatically change emergency medicine. As this major healthcare law is finalized through the complex federal regulatory process, the EM Action Fund gives us the opportunity to get involved in this process with a clear and influential voice to define how emergency physicians practice in the future. Evolving practice models and demonstration projects, such as accountable care organizations and bundled payments, are just two examples of critical areas where we need to focus our efforts. The Action Fund provides an important tool to unify and strengthen our influence with federal agencies in a way that is more effective than individual groups and organizations could achieve on their own.
What if I am opposed to PPACA or believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn some or all of the Act?
While no one can predict the outcome of the legal challenges to PPACA, our expert advisors believe that the prevailing trends driving health care change are overwhelming, and that federal regulation will inevitably impact the practice of emergency medicine in many fundamental ways. The EM Action Fund will greatly enhance our ability to respond proactively, regardless of the direction of the U.S. courts and Congress.
How is the EMAF different than current emergency medicine advocacy efforts?
In addition to expanding the efforts of the ACEP staff in Washington, DC, the Action Fund allows us to engage some of the most prominent and influential law firms and consultants, including Alston & Bird and Health Policy Alternatives. These firms are known and respected for their regulatory expertise, comprehensive understanding of complex reimbursement issues, and their ability to research and identify effective means of communicating the value of emergency medicine to important stakeholders. All of these consultants, including Hart Health Strategies, have been critical players in health policy for more than 20 years. These relationships will be vital in our commitment to influence necessary change in the years ahead.
How does the EM Action Fund differ from NEMPAC?
The National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee, NEMPAC, gives contributions to candidates who actively support emergency medicine and the needs of emergency physicians. NEMPAC has been an effective tool alongside our legislative advocacy efforts; however, NEMPAC funds can only be used to support candidates. The Action Fund will greatly expand our efforts to impact federal regulatory issues in ways that NEMPAC cannot.
How will the EM Action Fund use your contribution?
The majority of the spending (75 to 80 percent) is for new initiatives, such as:
- Retaining renowned consulting and law firms Alston & Bird LLP, Hart Health Strategies, and Health Policy Alternatives
- Hiring additional staff to focus on regulatory issues
- Commissioning studies, like quantifying the value of emergency medicine, to support our position with regulators
- Coordinating high-level meetings with regulatory agencies
- Developing additional public relations campaigns
The remaining spending would augment the ongoing advocacy activities undertaken by the staff in ACEP’s Washington, DC office. Additionally, the current changes to our health care system require significant additional resources to address the regulatory challenges posed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Which regulatory agencies and EM organizations will the EMAF work with?
- Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- National Quality Forum
- Department of Justice
- American Hospital Association
- Federation of American Hospitals
- American Public Health Association
- and more
Who will set the EM Action Fund agenda and make the spending decisions?
An 18-member Board of Governors will set the agenda for the Action Fund and determine how funds are spent, in collaboration with ACEP staff, committees, members and other emergency medicine organizations. Ten of these Board seats are allocated for the largest donors to the fund. All Board of Governors decisions are final unless the full ACEP Board of Directors votes by a two-thirds margin to override a Board of Governors decision.
What are the EM Action Fund contribution levels?
Participants in the Action Fund may contribute at one of three levels:
- Governors Circle, minimum contribution of $100,000
- Contributors Circle, contributions between $50,000 and $100,000
- Sustainers Circle, any contribution up to $50,000.
Contributors of $100,000 or more are automatically eligible for one of the 10 seats on the Board of Governors. Small to mid-sized emergency physician groups within chapters, regions, or existing business affiliations can combine resources to become a coalition that would qualify for one of the seats. The coalition members would then appoint its representative for the Board of Governors.
Terms are for one year and reappointment to the Board of Governors requires an annual contribution. The size and composition of the Board could change over time based on contributor response and participation.
How can you ensure you have a voice if you or your group does not contribute at the $100,000 level?
The Emergency Medicine Action Fund offers contributors, large or small, the opportunity to help shape emergency medicine's regulatory agenda. Like ACEP's committees, there is no restriction on who may propose an issue for consideration. And as the Board of Governors begins to develop its priorities, it will seek input from a variety of sources. Because the federal reform process is expected to play out over several years, contributors to the Emergency Medicine Action Fund will have many opportunities to voice their views.
How can you make a payment? Is there an installment plan?
Those interested in contributing at any level can find a contribution form online. Installments can be set up but the total contribution pledged must be paid in full within 12 months. The goal is to raise $1 million in the Action Fund’s first year and we hope to grow to $2 million in year two.
What else do you need to know?
All contributors to the Action Fund will receive regular activity reports, be eligible to participate in meetings with executive branch staff, U.S. Representatives and Senators, and have access to an EM Action Fund website. For further information, please contact Gordon Wheeler, ACEP’s Associate Executive Director, at 800-320-0610, ext. 3016.