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Chair’s Corner

Shawn M. Varney, MD, FACEP, FACMT
Chair, ACEP Toxicology Section

ShawnVarneyWelcome to the latest Toxicology Section Newsletter. The following will update you on our annual Section meeting as well as review what we have accomplished in the last year.

The upcoming Toxicology Section meeting will be held in conjunction with the ACEP 2015 Scientific Assembly in Boston, MA. The Toxicology Section meeting is Monday, October 26th, from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm at the Boston Convention and Exhibit Center in Room 206B. Hopefully, you will all be able to attend! We need you there to contribute to the body of toxicology knowledge and experience and to help carry out toxicology-related projects. In addition, we will have academic presentations on: “Novel Organophosphate Therapies” by Steven Bird, MD; “The 2015 ACLS Guidelines Update: Implications for Emergency Physicians and Toxicologists” by Eric Lavonas, MD, FACEP; and, “Novel Adsorbent System for the Removal of Calcium Channel Blockers” by Phillip Chan, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, CytoSorbents, who is sponsoring our meeting. An additional scholarly activity will include discussion of the new Toxicology Simulation Case Library.

Another important focus of the meeting will be new officer selections for Chair-elect, Section Newsletter Editor, Section Secretary and Alternate Counselor. If you would like to engage in an active role in the Section, contact me or Kathryn Mensah immediately. During the meeting we will welcome the new Toxicology Section Chair, Sam Stellpflug, Medical Toxicology Fellowship Program Director at Regions Hospital and Hennepin Regional Poison Center, Twin Cities, MN, and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of MN Medical School.

Over the past year the ACEP Toxicology Section has been busily engaged in many endeavors. We have worked with the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA) to create and establish the new EMRA Toxicology Division. Dr. Ryan Surmaitis from Lehigh Valley Health Network is the force behind this and has been named the new Chair. The EMRA Toxicology Division will serve as a resource for EM residents interested in pursuing a fellowship in medical toxicology.

On an initiative led by the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT), we have worked with the Sub-Board of Medical Toxicology (from the American Board of Medical Specialties) and partnered with the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM), American Board of Pediatrics, American Board of Preventive Medicine, and others to request from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services a separate specialty designation code for the specialty of Medical Toxicology. This would allow medical toxicologists to be reimbursed financially through Medicare for the specialty care provided during bedside or outpatient clinical consultations. Until now we have been counted within the general category of emergency medicine and unable to bill separately for our services. This is a tremendous step forward for advancing the field of medical toxicology and receiving appropriate compensation for services rendered.

We have been participating with ABEM’s EM Model Working Group (ABEM, AAEM, CORD, EMRA, RRC-EM, EMRA, SAEM) to review the Model of the Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine, Section 17, Toxicologic Disorders. This document outlines in detail the core knowledge requirements for all of EM. Specifically, we are discussing the drugs and chemical classes of agents EM residents are expected to know as part of their residency training covering toxicology. This includes categorization of acuity (lower, emergency, or critical) regarding how patients usually present, and the potential for adverse outcomes. The goal is to simplify and solidify core concepts of toxicology as they relate to EM.

In addition to collaborating with other EM and toxicology organizations on the above matters, the ACEP Toxicology Section has also been working at the ACEP Board level dealing with multiple large organizations to manage issues of national importance that affect our patients directly – the decriminalization of medical marijuana and its repercussions, dispensing of naloxone kits, and other timely social concerns.

The ACEP Toxicology Section Antidote App continues to be a hit for healthcare providers everywhere. The app serves as a simple, readily accessible resource that provides dosing regimens for a variety of antidotes.

The Toxicology Section is engaged in advancing the field of medical toxicology in numerous ways to help both patients and emergency providers. We invite all Section members and anyone interested to participate in these endeavors and others.

The latest initiative is to establish a library of toxicology simulation cases and make it available to ACEP members and others. In collaboration with the SAEM Toxicology Interest Group and Simulation Academy, ACMT, and the ACEP Simulation Academy, we are gathering simulation cases for content review, accuracy, standardization, and review. Again, we welcome all interested to contribute cases and help in every way. At the upcoming ACEP Scientific Assembly we will hold our Toxicology Section meeting and discuss this project further.

We look forward to seeing all of you there!


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