June 21, 2023

ACEP Leads Congressional Briefing to Sound the Alarm on Boarding

This afternoon, ACEP organized a congressional briefing with the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to express strong concerns to legislators about the impact of ED boarding on our health care safety net.

ACEP President Christopher S. Kang, MD, FACEP, joined Dustin Bass, RN, CEN, NEA-BC, Emergency Nurses Association board of directors, and Susan Stearns, executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on a panel moderated by Ryan McBride, MPP, ACEP congressional affairs director.  They were flanked by a sign whose words summed up the sentiment in the room:

“The crisis is bigger than can be managed by a single hospital or even the medical system alone. We need help from policymakers.”

Dr. Kang spoke to a packed room of Congressional staff about daily challenges faced by emergency physicians face and ACEP's potential solutions to ED overcrowding.

This briefing is the latest way ACEP is urging legislators to prioritize finding solutions to the boarding crisis. To recap, in November, ACEP wrote the White House about the dangers of boarding and collected more than 140 troubling stories directly from ACEP members. Then in the spring, ACEP members shared their stories directly with legislators during our Leadership and Advocacy Conference. Now, ACEP is voicing support for mental health legislation and numerous policy solutions that address the causes and consequences of boarding.

The panelists asked legislators to work together to support solutions that help emergency care teams and patients. Dr. Kang concluded the briefing with this important takeaway for Congressional staff:

“There are three things you can take home from my remarks today, 1) patient boarding is a clear and present public health danger affecting thousands of individual and collective patients daily; 2) although EDs bear almost the entire burden of boarding, patient boarding is emblematic of the floundering of the current health care system; and 3) initial important steps can be taken today.”

Related Content: Learn more about ACEP’s efforts to address the boarding crisis.

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