August 17, 2020

FEC Section Plans for ACEP20 Virtual Meetings

You have probably heard that ACEP20 scheduled for October 26-29 in Dallas has been moved to a virtual experience.  That impacts Section and Committee meetings as well. The Freestanding Section has its biannual elections scheduled for this year, so we need to take steps to be prepared to convert the traditional in person election process to one held electronically.

Our operational guidelines allow for an electronic election at the discretion of the Chair.  Other Sections routinely conduct their elections using a voting platform such as Survey Monkey. We will likely follow this same proven practice to ensure the integrity of the election process.

Call for Nominations

Our operational guidelines call for nominations 45 days prior to the election so that the slate may be presented no less than 30 days before the voting begins. We are considering holding the annual FEC Section meeting on Tuesday October 20 from 3 pm to 5 pm Central time to minimize disruption of other programming during the virtual Convention. That would mean all nominations would be due by Friday September 4 to be listed on the ballot.  We will not be able to take nominations from the floor; however, write in candidates are allowed by our guidelines. Nominees must be members of the FEC Section at the time of the elections to be considered.

Officer positions to be voted on this year include Chair-elect, Secretary/Newsletter Editor, Member at Large and Alternate Councilor. Each position serves a two-year term; but chair elect is actually a six-year term with two as Chair-elect, two as Chair, and two as Immediate Past Chair. The Alternate Councilor is similarly a four-year commitment, with two years as the Alternate and two years as the primary Councilor for the Section.

Please send all officer nominations to David McKenzie, staff liaison, at dmckenzie@acep.org  before that date for inclusion in the official ballot. Indicate which office you wish to run for and submit a brief bio or candidate statement of qualifications to be included in the ballot materials. These must be received no later than Friday September 4, 2020.

Winners will be announced during the Section meeting on October 20, 2020.

Freestanding ED Accreditation is Still Available

The ACEP Board of Directors recently  renewed a contact the Centers for Improvement on Healthcare Quality (CIHQ) to implement an accreditation program based on ACEP developed standards.

CIHQ is a nation-wide provider of accreditation programs as well as a deemed authority for CMS, similar to the Joint Commission. They have expertise and infrastructure to provide site visits and manage the accreditation process, which makes them an excellent partner in this program.  CIHQ has accredited over seventy hospitals and is well known in this space.

Accreditation lasts for three years with an annual fee payable each year.

A website with information including the standards, accreditation process, program fact sheets, and the application itself can be found on the CIHQ website at www.cihq.org/fsec.asp.

ACEP  Talks to CMS On FEC Involvement During the PHE

Dr. Gillian Schmitz and ACEP staff Jeffrey Davis participated on a conference call with CMS on Thursday, Aug 13 to discuss the role independent FSEDs have played in the COVID pandemic and barriers to becoming enrolled as hospital under the CMS waiver. It is estimated that 70-80 independent FSEDs took advantage of this opportunity to enroll as a hospital since the CMS waiver was issued. Emergency physicians provided testimony on the value of increased access and patient choice in seeking care during the pandemic. CMS is hoping to collect more data and feedback on both FSEDs and ASCs on expanding access and patient care to Medicare beneficiaries during COVID-19. Members of ACEP and TAFEC expressed the desire to make these temporary changes and waivers more permanent.

Presidential Executive Order May Help Rural FSEDs

CMS took another step earlier this week to implement the President’s EO. On Tuesday, CMS announced that it plans to roll out a new payment model for rural clinicians. The goal of the model, called the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model, is to test "whether upfront investments, predictable capitated payments, and operational and regulatory flexibilities will enable rural health care providers to improve access to high quality care while reducing health care costs." Of note, the regulatory flexibilities that CMS lists include the expanded use of telehealth (past the end of the COVID-19 PHE) and a waiver of Medicare hospital conditions of participation to allow rural EDs to be paid as if they were classified as a hospital. This last waiver may have implications on some of you who practice in a free-standing ED in a rural area. Although the proposed model would not go into effect  for at least a year.

David McKenzie, CAE