April 18, 2019

NEMPAC: What Young Physicians Need to Know

By Jessica Best, MD, Chair of the Young Physicians Section

One of the ways to advocate for emergency medicine is to support NEMPAC, but it's important to understand how PACs work within the political landscape. Let's start with some of the most common questions:

What is a PAC? It's a political action committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. NEMPAC is the National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee, formed by ACEP. According to the NEMPAC website:

Under federal law, associations may establish and administer separate segregated funds known as political action committees (PACs) to pool the voluntary contributions of their members. PACs are a legal, transparent, federally monitored means of contributing to candidates.

Where does the PAC's money go? All money contributed is used for the purpose of making political contributions to U.S. Senate and House candidates, to national parties and other political action committees sponsored by federal legislators. We need friends in Congress to protect our speciality.

Where are 2019 NEMPAC dollars going? This year there has been much heated discussion on Capitol Hill about balance billing (or surprise billing). NEMPAC dollars are being used to support emergency physicians in their efforts to find a solution to eliminate the patient from receiving surprise billing, and find a fair payment solution.

NEMPAC recently released its 2018 Election Cycle Report, which has a lot of great information about how NEMPAC donations were used in the midterm elections.

I am sure we've all boarded psychiatric patients in our emergency departments. Wouldn’t it be nice to get care for the patients immediately instead of three days after presentation?! NEMPAC dollars have gone to support legislation that would increase funding for psychiatric care. 
We emergency physicians also need to work to protect our liability and ensure fair reimbursement for services. NEMPAC dollars support ACEP’s efforts to protect the Prudent Layperson Standard and fight for fair access to and reimbursement for emergency care.
NEMPAC dollars also support legislation which would protect our patients. Supporting opioid legislation, research on firearm injuries and improved access to care.

These are only a few of the questions you might have about NEMPAC, but you can visit this exhaustive FAQ for more detailed information about the role of our emergency medicine PAC. 
Why should young physicians contribute to NEMPAC? Personally, I want to protect our specialty for the future of emergency medicine. I want to ensure we will all work in a safe environment and are receiving fair payment. I want my patients to be able to receive care when needed and have their insurance companies cover their care received.
Besides protecting our speciality and helping us present a unified voice in DC, contributing to NEMPAC comes with some addition benefits:

  • Admittance to the NEMPAC VIP Donor receptions at LAC and ACEP
  • Distinct listing in various ACEP publications including the NEMPAC Election Report and on the NEMPAC website
  • Three-day admission to the NEMPAC VIP Donor Hospitality Lounge at ACEP’s Scientific Assembly.

What is the cost?
NEMPAC has its Give-a-Shift donor levels that are tied to our career phase:

  • $120 RESIDENT GIVE-A-SHIFT (one-time donation, $10/monthly or $30/quarterly)
  • $365 GIVE-A-SHIFT (one-time donation, $30/monthly or $90/quarterly)
    • Available only to retired physicians and physicians up to three years out of residency
  • $1,200 GIVE-A-SHIFT (one-time donation, $100/monthly or $300/quarterly)
  • $2,500 PLATINUM (one-time donation, $210/monthly or $625/quarterly)

It's important to note: Contributions or gifts to NEMPAC are voluntary and not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. The amount given or refusal to donate will not benefit or disadvantage you.
NEMPAC reps will be at LAC19, which is a great place to learn more about the important issues being considered on Capitol Hill that would have a direct impact on our profession. I hope to see you at NEMPAC's Give-a-Shift VIP donor reception, 6-8 p.m. on May 5.

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