By Richard A. Schmitt, MD, FACEP
Vol. 12, Issue 1, January 2003
The ACEP State Legislative and Regulatory Committee has been charged with an increasingly important mission to facilitate and aid our chapters in achieving goals on a state level. Many priorities for ACEP members will likely be most successfully pursued at the state level.
The committee considered several of the most critical external issues facing emergency physicians today. Hospital overcrowding, the malpractice crisis, mental health cutbacks, and response to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations are just a few of the major challenges in which the committee is assisting state chapters.
The committee discussed the local, state, and national response to bio-terrorism and the need to support coordination efforts by chapters. The recommendations from Positioning America’s Health Care System to Respond to Acts of Terrorism Task Force report were discussed. This report is available on the ACEP Web Site.
Consideration was given to the creation of a "Grant Center" within the ACEP State Legislative office. This center would serve to track all public and private grants dedicated to issues of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These grants could be posted on the ACEP Web Site. The committee could also be used to facilitate efforts by chapters in grant application, by teaching ACEP members to write grants, and by the development of model completed grants.
Discussion included the need to change terminology in order to better address the larger issue of overcrowding. Addressing the need to expand emergency department (ED) "surge capacity" would allow the College and its members to advocate for ED’s as first-line responders. It would also allow potential bio-terrorism grant funds to address the challenge of overcrowding and the fraying healthcare safety net.