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ACEP Leadership Report

Our monthly Leadership Report is the best way to stay apprised of how ACEP leaders are working on your behalf to advance emergency medicine. We know the challenges our members face, and we are continually taking steps to protect your interests and make it easier for you to provide the highest quality care for your patients. Keep reading for the latest updates from the national office.

January 2020

ACEP Working with The Joint Commission on Common Concerns
After conducting an all-member survey to collect feedback about concerning TJC regulations, ACEP has summarized the member responses and is working with TJC to address relevant issues. The most common concern was the ability to eat and drink in the emergency department, a regulation affected by various entities that ACEP worked with TJC to clarify in February 2019. Our clarification confirmed that TJC DOES NOT forbid eating and drinking at the workstation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also does NOT have a prohibition against the consumption of food and beverages at work stations, including those in the emergency department. However, some hospitals do have rules that designate a "safe space" for emergency staff to eat or drink in the ED. We created resources to help you advocate for improvements at your place of employment. Visit www.acep.org/letseat for all of the details and resources related to eating and drinking in the ED.

The second-most common concern voiced by our members in the survey was the requirement for 1:1 sitters for patients who are suicidal, along with universal screening for suicide patients. TJC recommends universal screening for suicidality but only requires it for patients who present with behavioral emergencies. TJC does, however, require 1:1 sitters for patients who are suicidal. ACEP is discussing appropriate alternatives with TJC.

Wondering what else came up in the survey? Cleaning the ultrasound machine, the need to laminate all posted notices, the number of screens performed by triage nurses, to name a few. ACEP and TJC are working through these concerns to determine how many are related to TJC regulations and how many are unique to specific hospital policies. 

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. We will keep you posted on progress as ACEP’s advocacy and clinical affairs teams continue discussions with TJC.

CDC Reports Vaping Epidemic on the Decline
In early January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an encouraging update related to the vaping-related lung injury outbreak that began in June 2019.After its peak in September 2019, the number of cases continues to decline. Laboratory data identified the agent causing much of the damage to be vitamin E acetate. The data shows certain patient groups released from the hospital are more likely to be rehospitalized or die, including those with chronic medical conditions and increasing age, so the CDC is encouraging continued vigilance. View the CDC’s updated guidance for clinicians at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html.

JACEP Open Hits the Ground Running
ACEP’s new open-access journal, JACEP Open, published its first papers in December 2019 and expects to publish its first full issue in late February 2020. As of mid-January, the new journal had received 108 submissions. JACEP Open welcomes submissions at www.editorialmanager.com/jacep. Read the journal at www.jacepopen.com.

Pediatric EM Conference: Early Bird Deadline Approaching
February 28 is the last day to receive $150 off registration with the code PEDS20 for the 2020 Advanced Pediatric EM Assembly, March 31-April 2 in New York. The course lineup and faculty were released in January and features top expertsin pediatric chest pain, radiology, sports medicine, infant fever, anaphylaxis and more. Visit www.acep.org/PEM for the latest updates.

Nominate Your Peers for National Awards
ACEP is accepting nominations for the 2020 ACEP Leadership & Excellence Awards, which annually honors members distinguishing themselves for leadership and excellence in emergency medicine. All members are eligible to submit nominations in one or more award categories by March 1. Get more information at www.acep.org/leadership-awards.

Know an outstanding educator? Nominations are open for National Emergency Medicine Faculty Teaching Award, Junior Faculty Teaching Award, and Bedside Teaching Award. All educator award nominations are due April 15. Learn more at www.acep.org/teachingaward.

Board Nominations Due March 16
The ACEP Nominating Committee is accepting individual and component body recommendations for the ACEP Board of Directors. Submit applications to nominations@acep.org by March 16. To view the qualifications needed to apply, go to www.acep.org/board-nominations.


December 2019

Submit Comments for Opioid, Pneumonia Clinical Policies
The following drafts are open for comments until Feb. 15:

  • “Clinical Policy: Critical Issues Related to Opioids in Adult Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department”
  • “Clinical Policy: Critical Issues in the Management of Adult Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Community-Acquired Pneumonia”

Submit your comments at www.acep.org/clinicalpolicies.

Nominate Your Peers for ACEP Leadership Awards
ACEP is accepting nominations for the 2020 ACEP Awards Program, which annually honors members distinguishing themselves for leadership and excellence in emergency medicine. All members are eligible to submit nominations in one or more award categories, but a nomination form must be completed for each nomination submitted. Nominations must be accompanied by current curriculum vitae. Nominations are due March 1. Get more information at www.acep.org/leadership-awards.

Be Accredited to Provide Pain and Addiction Care in the ED
Be part of the solution and improve your community! Understand how to prevent opioid addiction and treat opioid use disorder in the emergency department. Developed for emergency physicians by emergency physicians, ACEP's Pain and Addiction Care in the ED (PACED) Accreditation Program ensures that patients receive quality pain management, with an emphasis on minimizing exposure to opioids, when appropriate, thus decreasing the risk of opioid harms. Additionally, PACED provides the tools necessary for an ED to initiate treatment for patients struggling with opioid use disorder. The PACED program will begin accepting applications in early 2020. Join the interest list at www.acep.org/paced.

MIPS: Upcoming Changes You Should Know About
Many of you are all too familiar with the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), the major quality reporting program for physicians under Medicare. Each year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revises requirements for MIPS, and CMS recently finalized requirements for calendar year 2020—which is just around the corner. Read our regulatory blog at www.acep.org/regsandeggs to learn more about the changes to MIPS coming in 2020 and to get some helpful tips about the program.

ACEP Leaders Meet with AAFP
ACEP President Bill Jaquis, MD, FACEP, and President-Elect Mark Rosenberg, DO, FACEP, joined ACEP Executive Director Dean Wilkerson for a meeting with the American Academy of Family Physicians in late November 2019. They discussed the role of family physicians serving EDs in rural America, the organizations’ shared role in addressing the opioid crisis, bridging ED electronic health records with primary care records for true interoperability and more.


November 2019

ACEP-Supported Bill to Prevent ED Violence Passes House
ACEP applauds the House passage of the bipartisan, “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act,” sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), which requires certain health care employers to implement plans to prevent violence against health care workers. “The epidemic of violence in our nation’s emergency departments is unacceptable,” said ACEP President Dr. Bill Jaquis. “ACEP appreciates Representative Courtney’s unwavering leadership on this critical issue.” 

New Surprise Billing Toolkit Helps You Advocate Against a Rushed Solution
ACEP believes patients need a real cure for surprise billing, not a hurried, band-aid solution. Please contact your legislators to urge them to be thoughtful about passing the best solution rather than rushing something through. Our member advocacy toolkit has been updated.


Applications Now Being Accepted for ACEP Executive Director Position
ACEP’s Executive Director, Dean Wilkerson, announced in September that he is retiring in the summer of 2020. The Board has retained a search firm and established a Search Committee that created a position description. Applications are being accepted through Jan 17.

CMS Releases Major Final Reg: 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) rule that includes changes that will affect Medicare physician payments and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) starting Jan. 1, 2020.

CMS finalized an increase in these payments in line with the American Medical Association (AMA) Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) recommendation for 2020. However, CMS also finalized a proposal to increase the office and outpatient E/M services in 2021. Medicare requires that overall changes to Medicare physician payments be budget neutral, so this adjustment to the office and outpatient E/M codes is likely to reduce reimbursement to emergency medicine. So, while emergency physician services will be more appropriately valued in 2020, payments for these same services may be significantly reduced the following year. Fortunately, CMS is leaving the door open to re-evaluating this policy in next year’s reg, and ACEP will be working hard to ensure that these payment reductions do not become a reality in 2021.

ACEP has broken down the rule on the Regs & Eggs blog, emphasizing seven key policies that apply to emergency medicine and ACEP’s stance on each policy. Want to subscribe to Regs & Eggs to always stay abreast of the regulatory updates affecting EM? Sign up to receive email updates at www.acep.org/regsandeggs

ACEP Applauds Federal Court Rejection of HHS Conscience Rule
On Nov. 7, ACEP put out a statement applauding the United States District Court in New York for rejecting a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that would shield health professionals who refuse to deliver care or services based on religious belief or moral conviction. ACEP looks forward to additional states acting to invalidate this flawed regulation because denying emergency care or delaying emergency services based on the religious or moral beliefs of a medical provider is unethical and dangerous. Further, refusing to care for patients who require emergency medical attention could violate federal law (EMTALA).

The HHS regulation fails to recognize the unique and vital nature of emergency medicine and opens the door to discrimination by institutions or individuals that are expected to prioritize patient care and safety ahead of personal beliefs.

New Member Benefit Offers Free Counseling, Legal Assistance
ACEP’s new Wellness & Assistance Program was launched during ACEP19 in Denver. This program offers ACEP members exclusive access to three free counseling or wellness sessions. Support is available 24/7, and you can conduct your sessions over the phone, face-to-face, via text message or through an online chat service – whatever works best for you! The service also includes 30-minute consultations for individual legal/financial matters. Learn more about this new benefit at www.acep.org/support.

FDA Drug Shortage Task Force Releases Long-Awaited Report
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released its long-awaited Drug Shortages Task Force report, “Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions.” ACEP has been involved in this effort from the beginning, urging the FDA to find solutions to the drug shortage crisis and working with Congressional champions to call for the creation of this task force to get to the root cause of the issue. In its report, the task force identifies three root causes of drug shortages: (1) lack of incentives to produce less profitable drugs; (2) the market does not recognize or reward manufacturers for mature quality management systems; and (3) logistical and regulatory challenges that make it difficult for the market to recover after a disruption.

The report also provides three potential solutions: (1) create a shared understanding of the impact of drug shortages and the contracting practices that may contribute to them; (2) create a rating system to incentivize drug manufacturers to invest in achieving quality management system maturity; and (3) promote sustainable private sector contracts. The report touches on several ACEP priorities, including the need to provide greater transparency to ensure adequate competition in the marketplace, and better supply chain monitoring and response to guarantee the availability of lifesaving emergency medications.

ACEP President William Jaquis MD, FACEP, had a call with the nominee for FDA Commissioner, Stephen Hahn, MD, FASTRO, on Nov. 15 to discuss the report and the impact drug shortages have had on emergency medicine. ACEP will continue to work alongside Congress and the FDA on this issue. Stay apprised of our progress at www.acep.org/drugshortages.

Congratulations to the ACEP Section Award Winners
Every year, ACEP recognizes its membership sections that excel with the Service to Section, Service to College, Promoting Section Membership and Outstanding Newsletter Awards. Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 section awards:

  • Service to Section:Social Emergency Medicine Section
  • Service to College:Young Physicians Section
  • Promoting Section Membership:American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP), Careers in EM
  • Outstanding Section Newsletter:Young Physicians Section

Learn more about the section awards.  

JACEP Open Now Accepting Submissions
ACEP’s new peer-reviewed, open access journal is officially open for business! As a companion journal to Annals of Emergency Medicine, the focus of JACEP Open is to publish high quality original peer-reviewed research, across the spectrum of basic and clinical research, in an open access format to the world-wide community. JACEP Open will publish contributions in the form of original research, clinical reports, opinion, and educational information related to the practice, teaching, and research of emergency medicine. JACEP Open is welcoming submissions


October 2019

CDC Releases Interim Guidelines for Vaping-Associated Lung Injuries
In mid-October, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released interim guidance for health care providersrelated to the evaluation and care for patients with suspected vaping-associated lung injuries. As of Oct. 11, the CDC had compiled 1,299 cases of vaping-related lung injuries from 49 states, including 26 reported deaths. The guidelines provide a framework for initial assessment, management and follow-up, including how to evaluate and manage these potential lung injuries during flu season.

The CDC’s investigation into this outbreak is ongoing, and the investigators are looking at the sources and root causes for these illnesses. At time of publication, the outbreak wasn’t associated with any one product. Clinicians are encouraged to report possible cases to their local or state health department for further investigation. The investigators are interested in gathering any remaining e-cigarette products the patient may have used. Stay apprised of all relevant information at www.cdc.gov/lunginjury.

What Unnecessary Standards and Regulations Make Your Job Harder?
The Joint Commission is working with ACEP to identify standards and regulations that make EM physicians’ jobs harder or require unnecessary work. Look for an upcoming all-member survey that will allow you to weigh in on which standards are the most aggravating.

In case you missed it: ACEP and The Joint Commission worked together in March 2019 to clarify that emergency staff caneat at an ED workstation during shifts. ACEP put together resources to help you explain this clarification to your hospital. Find more information at www.acep.org/letseat.

FAQ: Alternative Payment Models
As Medicare and other payers move away from fee-for-service toward more value-based care, ACEP has taken a leading role in putting emergency physicians in the driver’s seat to help manage this transition by developing the first, and only, emergency medicine-specific alternative payment model (APM), the Acute Unscheduled Care Model (AUCM). In September 2019, HHS Secretary Alex Azar responded that he believes the core concepts of the AUCM should be incorporated into the APMs that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’ Innovation Center (CMMI) is developing. While this is exciting news and an important step in the process of getting an emergency medicine-focused APM like AUCM implemented, it’s now up to CMMI to conduct the work to carry out the HHS Secretary’s request. ACEP put together an FAQ to explain various aspects of APMs and how AUCM could impact you. Read more.

Update on Medical Merit Badges
ACEP met with the Coalition on Medical Merit Badges and joined with them to write a letter to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services opposing its recent directive that requires Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) and trauma-specific CME for trauma centers. The American College of Surgeons has backed away from these requirements in its latest “Orange Book,” but states may try to reintroduce these unnecessary requirements. If you have any questions about this or other state-specific issues, contact ACEP Director of State and Chapter Services Harry Monroe at hmonroe@acep.org.

New Website Draws Public’s Attention to Key Issues Facing EM Physicians
In October 2019, ACEP launched a new external website, www.EmergencyPhysicians.org, to provide the latest news, advocacy and medical emergency tips. This website enhances the College’s ability to directly communicate and better shape the perception of emergency physicians among the press, public, and policymakers. A dynamic site featuring some of the most pressing issues to emergency physicians, www.EmergencyPhysicians.org, has been instrumental in conveying ACEP’s public statements and federal advocacy efforts around surprise billing.

This new website is the main interface with the public for Until Help Arrives, including facilitating sign up for the training and prominently highlighting the results of a recent public opinion poll around bystanders’ confidence in assisting with a variety of medical emergencies, and the public desirability for a program like Until Help Arrives. Moving forward, ACEP will leverage the website to share firsthand stories from ACEP members about the prevalence and impacts of ED violence through ACEP’s and ENA’s No Silence on ED Violence campaign.

Update on PA/NP Utilization Task Force
The Emergency PA/NP Utilization Task Force has finished its work and presented its draft paper and policy statement to the ACEP Board of Directors during ACEP19 in Denver. The next steps are to circulate the documents to partnering EM organizations for endorsement.

ACEP’s Clinical Affairs Department Collaborates with Organizations on Seizure Care, Postpartum Morbidity
ACEP’s Clinical Affairs Department recently met with the American Society for Epilepsy about creating a guideline for care of seizure patients. They also started discussions with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology about ways to decrease maternal and postpartum mortality.


September 2019

ACEP Executive Director Announces 2020 Retirement
Dean Wilkerson, the executive director of ACEP for more than 15 years, announced on Sept. 3 that he plans to retire in 2020. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with so many talented emergency physicians and dedicated staff to make progress in ACEP’s mission,” Wilkerson said in the press release. “Together, we have transformed the organization over the years and made a profound difference in the lives of millions of Americans seeking emergency care.” Read more about ACEP’s growth during Wilkerson’s tenure in an article recently published in ACEP Now.

Reimbursement Changes for Emergency Care of Veterans
The Veteran’s Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2009 provided payment for veterans enrolled in VA care who used a non-VA facility for emergency care, but an internal VA regulation blocked those payments. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs must reimburse for emergency care of veterans at non-VA facilities.
It’s important to identify veterans who are receiving care at a VA facility, plus those who would qualify for care if they enrolled. The eligibility rules are complicated, and the process is not always straightforward. Once enrolled, the veteran can receive many benefits, including pharmacy, home care and end-of life care. Many veterans use non-VA EDs because of distance or not knowing they are eligible for care. Now that the VA system has been ordered to reimburse EDs for this care, it may be reasonable to add questions about veteran status to your patient registration process and encourage identified veterans to check their eligibility with the VA.  

EM Physician’s Name Added to 9/11 Memorial Wall
Michael G. Guttenberg, MD, who passed away in October 2017 from pancreatic cancer attributed to his work as a first responder at 9/11 Ground Zero, was added to the FDNY World Trade Center Memorial Wall in Brooklyn during a ceremony Sept. 6, 2019.Despite his diagnosis, Dr. Guttenberg served as medical director of Northwell Health’s clinical preparedness and Center for EMS until days before his death.

ACEP Launches New Website for External Audience
ACEP has reimagined Emergency Care For Youto create a new, comprehensive external website. EmergencyPhysicians.org is as a one-stop-shop for the public to get the latest news, advocacy updates, and public health and safety tips directly from emergency physicians.
ACEP Urges Policymakers to Remove Obstacles to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) compiles a report to Congress on treating opioid use disorder, ACEP urges policymakers to consider steps to remove obstacles to appropriate care in the ED, including removing the “X-waiver,” modifying the “three-day rule” and removing preauthorization requirements. Read the full comment letter.

Regulatory News: Patient Confidentiality for Substance Use Disorder
The U.S. Department on Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) proposed reg to modify 42 CFR Part 2, which governs the confidentiality of patient records for the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD). One of the major policy debates around 42 CFR Part 2 has been whether this set of regulations should be modified to align more closely with HIPAA, and the proposed reg does not do so. Instead, SAMHSA proposes smaller modifications to 42 CFR Part 2 aimed at advancing care coordination for patients with SUD and clarifying existing policies for 42 CFR Part 2 treatment Programs (federally assisted alcohol or drug abuse programs) and other health care providers. Read more at on our weekly regulatory blog, Regs & Eggs

Breaking Down the AUC Program and its Emergency Exemption
You may have heard about the upcoming Medicare requirement to consult Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) through approved clinical decision support mechanisms prior to ordering advanced imaging services. You may have even heard that you have to do this for all your Medicare patients in order to comply with federal regulations. Visit our EHR advocacy page to read how ACEP advocated for and received an exemption for individuals with emergency medical conditions and to download a sample letter to help explain this exemption to your hospital administrators. 

August 2019

#ACEPNation Hits Membership Milestone
Back in August 2011, ACEP hit the 30,000 member mark. In August 2019, we reached 40,000 members for the first time in our history. We’re so proud to stand beside you. Here’s to the next 50 years!

Medicare Payment Rule Adjusts Value of EM Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency responsible for running Medicare and Medicaid, recently issued its proposed Medicare physician fee schedule for 2020. CMS included a proposal to revalue the ED Evaluation and Management Codes, the most commonly billed services for EM physicians.

As the only EM organization represented on the AMA Relative Value Scale Update Committee that develops values for physician service codes, ACEP advocated strongly for this revaluation. The RUC accepted our recommendations, and CMS is proposing to accept the RUC’s recommended values. If finalized, this revaluation would increase Medicare reimbursement for ED visit codes by approximately $137 million in 2020, when the policy becomes effective. The increased values would become the new standard for each year after that. View EM-specific highlights of the rule.

ACEP Shares Opioid Resources with FDA
The FDA is interested in the development of resources to reduce the use of opioids where alternatives exist, so ACEP shared its extensive opioid resources. Our two opioid-related point of care tools, MAP (managing acute pain) and BUPE (buprenorphine) are now available on our new app, emPOC, available through the Apple Store and Google Play.

Update on Firearm Violence Initiatives
In response to the mass shootings in July, ACEP President Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, provided the ACEP membership with an update on ACEP’s firearm safety initiatives that span the last several years. Several key pieces will be discussed or debuted at ACEP19 in Denver:

  • A resolution has been submitted to the Council for consideration that will be discussed at the Council Meeting Oct. 25-26.
  • The results of our Council Survey about a variety of policy positions related to gun injury prevention will be available by the Council Meeting.
  • Until Help Arrives, our training program designed to help EM physicians provide basic first responder training in their communities, will officially launch at ACEP19.
  • ACEP will host a preconference course on assessing threat and identifying patients at risk for causing harm entitled “Care Under Fire: EDs, Gun Violence and Threat Asssessment.

View all of ACEP’s active shooter resources, including policy statements, podcasts and more.

Working to Decrease Your Documentation Burden
In August, ACEP sent official comments to CMS related to its call for suggestions for how to reduce administrative burden for health care providers. On August 12, ACEP responded to a CMS request for information (RFI) on additional ways to reduce administrative burden through the “Patients over Paperwork” Initiative. In summary, we asked CMS to take the following actions:

  • Postpone the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Program. Although we got a clarification to the exemption for emergency medical conditions, we need more time to educate our members and hospitals about when the exemption for is applicable.
  • Make electronic health records easier to use and increase the ability to receive and exchange information about our patients.
  • Require hospitals to share clinical data with clinical data registries to fulfill MIPS reporting requirements.
  • Simplify MIPS requirements for hospital-based clinicians.
  • Revise existing criteria for adding new codes to the list of approved telehealth services to make it easier to add emergency telehealth codes to this list.
  • Implement emergency medicine-specific alternative payment models (APM) and specifically adopt ACEP’s APM, the Acute Unscheduled Care Model.

Learn more about ACEP's work to reduce your administrative burden.

ACEP Hosts Health Care IT Summit
In July 2019, ACEP hosted thought-leaders from health IT for a one-day collaborative summit designed to foster important discussions about the future of healthcare IT in the acute care setting. More than 100 outside-the-box thinkers discussed both aspirational and immediately actionable ways to make healthcare IT more intuitive and functional for EM physicians and your patients.

The HIT Summit included prominent EM informatics experts and representatives from the CDC,  the ONC, the VHA, Cerner, Epic, and more, brainstorming about the future of care delivery and data sciences. What’s the ideal future state of healthcare IT, and how do we get there?  How does data acquisition, AI, data transparency, population health, quality initiatives, policy, advocay, predictive modelingand data-driven networks factor into future plans?

The work product of this summit will be summarized to serve as a guidebook for ACEP’s future planning, policy and advocacy related to administrative burden and EHR.

Longevity & Tenure Awards
ACEP's Careers in EM section has announced its 2019 award winners. Longevity Awards went to Kenneth T. Larsen, Jr., MD, FACEP, who has been practicing EM for 46 years, and George Edward Malcom, Jr., MD, FACEP, who has been practicing for 44 years. The 2019 Tenure Award winner is Kashmir Singh, MD, FACEP, for 30 consecutive years in the ED. 


July 2019

June Board Meeting Addresses Key Issues
ACEP’s Board of Directors convened June 26-27, approving ACEP’s FY2019-20 budget and discussing several topics related to policy and practice. Among their decisions, they approved the following new or revised policy statements:

The Board also reaffirmed the Disaster Medical Response policy statement and the Point of Care Utrasonography by Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physicians policy statement and its associated technical report that was developed jointly with the American Academy of Pediatrics, SAEM, and the World Interactive Network Focused on Critical Ultrasound.
The following items were also approved during the June meeting:

  • New clinical policy: Critical Issues in the Evaluation and Management of Adult Patients Presenting to the ED with Acute Headache
  • Governance Charter for the ED Pain and Addiction Management Accreditation Program
  • Revised criteria for the ED Pain and Addiction Management Accreditation Program
  • Taking no further action on Resolution 20(18) Verification of Training – the Emergency Medicine Practice Committee reviewed the resolution and staff compiled information on standardized methods for verification of training. A standardized form for verification of training was developed by the National Association of Medical Staff Services. This information will be posted on ACEP’s website.
  • 2019 Compendium of ACEP Policy ACEP Policy Statements on Ethical Issues.
  • Revised Procedures for Addressing Charges of Ethical Violations and Other Misconduct. The revised procedures must be approved by the Council. The Board approved cosponsoring a College Manual resolution that will be submitted to the 2019 Council for consideration.
  • Taking no further action on Referred Resolution 35(18) ACEP Policy Related to Immigration. The resolution is addressed by ACEP’s policy statement “Delivery of Care to Undocumented Persons.” In December 2018 ACEP sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security expressing objection to the proposed rule that would change the definition of public charge. Policies already exist throughout the health care community to protect patient information, unless disclosure is required by law, and creating additional policy specific to providing information to immigration authorities would essentially be superfluous.
  • Taking no further action on Referred Resolution 42(18) Expert Witness Testimony for the Specialty of Emergency Medicine. The resolution requested that ACEP revise the “Expert Witness Guidelines for the Specialty of Emergency Medicine”’ policy statement to define an expert witness as a person actively engaged in the practice of medicine during the year prior to the initiation of litigation who has the same level or greater training in the same field as the subject of the tort for a majority of their professional time. Theone-year requirement would eliminate many qualified experts who recently retired from practice. The requirement would also apply to defense experts, which could have the unintended consequence of limiting the number of qualified experts available to defend emergency physicians.
  • Not seeking access to malpractice data from the National Practitioner Data Bank directly but review relevant aggregate NPDB data that may be made available. This information will be used to explore opportunities to develop educational materials that may reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.
  • 2018 Section Grant projects for funding (five grants awarded)
  • Formation of the Aerospace Medicine Section
  • Disseminating the MITIGATE Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit
  • Referred the revised policy statement “Firearm Safety and Injury Prevention” back to the Public Health & Injury Prevention Committee for additional revisions
  • Petitioning the Office of Coverage and Analysis Group at CMS to reconsider the addition of the ED as a place of service for Hepatitis C testing (in response to Referred Resolution 41(17) Reimbursement for Hepatitis C Virus Testing in the ED)
  • Expert Witness Testimony Model State Legislation
  • Endorsing the American College of Medical Toxicology’s “ACMT Position Statement Recommending Removing the Waiver Requirement for Prescribing Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder”
  • Distributing a survey to the membership regarding The Joint Commission regulations
  • Further assessment of the Broselow Blue Code product for potential endorsement consideration
  • Revised Clinical Ultrasound Accreditation Program Governance Charter
  • Distributing a survey to the Council on firearms research, safety, and policy
  • Revised Geriatric ED Accreditation Program Criteria
  • Supporting the preliminary 2019-20 committee objectives
  • Completing the work already in process to review membership data and developing a report to the Board

ACEP Hosts Health Care IT Summit
ACEP recently hosted thought-leaders from health IT for a one-day collaborative summit designed to foster important discussions about the future of healthcare IT in the acute care setting. More than 100 outside-the-box thinkers discussed both aspirational and immediately actionable ways to make healthcare IT more intuitive and functional for EM physicians and your patients.

The HIT Summit included prominent EM informatics experts and representatives from the CDC,  the ONC, the VHA, Cerner, Epic, and more, brainstorming about the future of care delivery and data sciences. What’s the ideal future state of healthcare IT, and how do we get there?  How does data acquisition, AI, data transparency, population health, quality initiatives, policy, advocay, predictive modelingand data-driven networks factor into future plans?

The work product of this summit will be summarized to serve as a guidebook for ACEP’s future planning, policy and advocacy related to administrative burden and EHR.

Surprise Billing Toolkit Updated
Work continues on surprise billing, and our advocacy team has updated its Member Advocacy Toolkit in response to the changing environment. You must be logged in as an ACEP member to view this resource

Teaching Award Winners Announced
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 teaching awards, who will be honored during ACEP19 in Denver!


Whether your needs are big or small, your ACEP staff is here to help. Need our assistance? Contact our membership team.

Recent Highlights

Our reimbursement team responded to a request from CMS on strengthening program integrity while eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicaid and Medicare - two of the most important programs that reimburse emergency physicians for their work every day. They assisted several states with a new Humana policy that seeks to deny payment for ultrasound, EKGs, and other imaging done by emergency physicians in the ED. ACEP will push back against the unfair policy so our members can be reimbursed for the work they do every day.

Our regulatory affairs team helped finalize a memorandum of understanding between ACEP and the Indian Health Service (IHS) that sets forth our intention to work together to improve access to emergency care for Native Americans.

Our journal team launched JACEP Open, our new peer-reviewed, open access journal. 

Our reimbursement team helped members in 23 states with an unfair UnitedHealthcare (UHC) policy that denies reimbursement for imaging done by emergency physicians (ultrasound, etc.). ACEP immediately pushed back, and has begun a conversation with UHC to immediately end this unfair policy.

Our membership and membership marketing teams launched ACEP’s new Wellness & Assistance Program during ACEP19, giving ACEP members exclusive access to 3 free confidential counseling or wellness sessions and optional 30-minute consultations for individual legal/financial matters.

Our GEDA team presented a webinar for 13 VA hospitals to learn about the value of geriatric ED accreditation and how to apply.

Our membership, PR and EMS departments collaborated to launch to Until Help Arrives, our new first responder training program

Our reimbursement team attended the AMA CPT meeting where they successfully held off a proposal that would have inhibited emergency physicians from billing for non-displaced fracture care and are working with consultants to encourage Medicaid and private payers to adopt the AUCM model construct for their patient populations. 

Our Quality team finalized the Healthcare IT Vision Paper, highlighting proceedings and recommendations from the Healthcare IT Summit ACEP hosted in July.

Our Regulatory team helped create content for a webpage FAQs highlighting ACEP's work promoting emergency medicine-specific alternative payment models (APMs).

Our reimbursement team assisted members with advocacy strategies in a state with out-of-network/ balance billing legislation that threatens to reduce physician reimbursement to levels in which many practices could not survive. He’s working on model legislation for Prudent Layperson Standard expected to be available by the close of 2019 that will be available for states to use to protect themselves from unfair billing practices.

Our regulatory and reimbursement teams worked with the CNAC to convince the Veteran’s Administration to significantly expand the list of approved ICD-10 diagnosis codes that will be deemed to automatically meet the prudent layperson standard during claims review.

Our DC office and our IT team recently launched emergencyphysicians.org, ACEP’s new and improved public-facing website, after months of hard work.

Our reimbursement team helped review and provide amendments on surprise billing legislation in two states where ACEP faces a major threat to EM physician reimbursement. If successful, the amendments will level the playing field between insurers and EM physicians for the first time in years. He also strengthened Prudent Layperson language for model legislation to be introduced to all the states next year that would effectively limit insurers from attempting to circumvent prudent layperson laws that protect patients who think they are having an emergency, even if the final diagnosis is non-emergent.

Our reimbursement and regulatory teams have been collaborating on ACEP’s official comments on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that revalued ED E/M codes. David McKenzie is coordinating our comments with AAP and EDPMA, and Jeffrey Davis is writing the official comments.

The IT team redesigned and launched the PEER digital experience (www.acep.org/peer).

Our Quality team added four new EM measures to the complete self-nomination for CEDR.

Our reimbursement and regulatory teams have been working with the VA on the system they have set up to decide whether claims are emergent vs non-emergent.  The VA has created a list of diagnosis codes that would automatically trigger a claim as meeting the PLP standard. The VA had developed a short list, but then asked for ACEP’s input. David sent out a request to the ACEP Coding Nomenclature Advisory Committee (CNAC). CNAC recommended a plethora of codes, and the rumor is that the VA is adopting most of them. (We’re still waiting on the final list.)

Our CEDR team provided information to two ED groups who lost their ED contracts and will dissolve this year before they can complete their MIPS submission. They discussed ways the individual physicians can avoid a 7% penalty in 2021 due to non-reporting for 2019. With no mechanism (or data) available to report for the year, the physicians need help to prevent a huge loss of income in two years. 

Our Finance, IT and Quality departments worked together to solve invoice issues for CEDR customers, greatly reducing the timeframe for invoice generation, adding helpful invoice information and offering real time GP reports to improve CEDR customer service. 

Our Reimbursement team led the group of EM physicians and staff that convinced the AMA’s RUC to increase the values of ED/EM codes. If finalized, this revaluation would increase Medicare reimbursement for ED visit codes by approximately $137 million in 2020, when the policy becomes effective.

The IT department added the Mx. Prefix to ACEP user account creation to promote inclusivity, and he created a searchable council resolution archive.

Our Grants team developed clinical measure workflows for EMS Compass measures that will help end users query in the correct and logical order to properly calculate the measures. They also spearheaded a funding proposal to develop stroke and sepsis measures.

Our Quality department attended a CMS conference and was awarded a challenge coin on behalf ACEP for the success of the E-QUAL program.

The Regulatory and Reimbursement teams worked together to write EM-specific summaries of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule to make it easier for members to catch up on the latest developments and better understand how this rule affects them.

Our Geriatric Accreditation department started discussions with both the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI,) and the American College of Surgeon’s new Geriatric Surgery Verification (GSV) program to begin building conceptual agreements for both GEDA/IHI and GEDA/GSV programs to work together to get the word out about increasing the standard of care in the ED for our nations seniors. Our goal is to make it easy for EDs and health systems/hospitals to access useful and relevant program information about serving older patients and families no matter which program they learn about first.

The Educational Products team is working on a new performance improvement (PI) pathway and educational module about opioids for our eCME platform. It’s a 20 question assessment of the user’s treatment of opioid use disorder so they can identify gaps between their treatment and current best practices.

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