AAEM, Small Groups Join EM Action Fund

ACEP News
May 2011

AAEM, Small Groups Join EM Action Fund 

BY NANCY CALAWAY 

ACEP Communications Manager

 

Recognizing the potential threat to the independent practice of emergency medicine, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) and several small to mid-sized groups have joined the Emergency Medicine Action Fund, which is collectively working to impact health care reform's regulatory implementation.

These contributors are looking past the differences of the varied participants in the EM Action Fund and recognizing the need to improve the practice of emergency medicine for everyone, said Dr. Wesley Fields, Chairman of the EM Action Fund.

"What I hope AAEM, the other EM organizations vested in the EM Action Fund, and EM groups large and small will do is to change the conversation about the acute care continuum among policy makers and thought leaders regarding the future of health care in the U.S.," Dr. Fields said.

"There will never be a better time or a more compelling need for emergency physicians to find common cause," he added. "The macro forces that threaten our specialty and our health care system are far greater than any intramural disputes between EM organizations."

AAEM will join the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Emergency Medicine Residents' Association (EMRA), and the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) on the EM Action Fund Board of Governors. AAEM and SAEM contributed $25,000 each, and EMRA, noting that their future is at stake, gave $100,000 over the next 2 years.

Invitations to sit on the Board also have been extended to the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine (AACEM), the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP), and the Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA) and were still being considered in mid-April.

The remaining 10 Board seats will be allocated to the largest contributors. Several small and mid-sized groups are working together to form coalitions in hopes of attaining a seat on the Board.

As of mid-April, 12 physician groups of various sizes have contributed to the EM Action Fund, along with two companies that work closely with emergency physicians. There have also been dozens of individual contributions.

As an adjunct to ACEP's Washington, D.C., staff, the EM Action Fund's consulting firms have been developing analysis pieces about the recently released draft regulations for accountable care organizations (ACOs) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

There is a synopsis of the quality reporting requirements for ACOs, a summary of the ACO waivers of various federal laws, and many other resources useful for review as a formal response to the CMS is being prepared.

The Web site, www.acep.org/EMActionFund, also has a list of the issues and provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) relating to emergency medicine, a timeline of implementation dates of various provisions, and a status update of current legal challenges to PPACA.

"It is obvious to any serious observer that the federal government is likely to continue to have more and more influence over the practice of emergency medicine," Dr. Fields said. "That is why the Emergency Medicine Action Fund will focus on federal regulatory affairs."

There is still time to contribute to the EM Action Fund, which expects to have its Board in place and begin regular meetings later this summer.

"Regardless of your mode of practice, EMAF deserves your support and needs your intellectual capital as much as your financial pledge," Dr. Fields said.

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