Thursday, May 22, 2008

Covering the Hill

Emergency physicians blanketed Capitol Hill today, asking the nation’s elected officials to repair a broken healthcare system. ACEP leaders from every state gathered in the historic Senate Caucus Room* to hear a Congressional view of healthcare from several Senators and Congressman, including Representative Timothy Murphy (R-PA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). In spite of their differing political affiliations, Representative Murphy and Senator Wyden agree that healthcare in America needs reform, and that reform must come soon. Following the remarks, ACEP physicians made over 300 visits to Senators and Representatives on the Hill, asking them to support the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act of 2007. (HR 882 and SB 1003)

The bill has 3 essential elements:

Convene a Bipartisan commission to study the problems in emergency healthcare delivery.

Provide a 10% additional payment to physicians providing EMTALA related services to Medicare beneficiaries. This is expected to help on-call specialists defray some of the costs of professional liability insurance associated with taking care of emergency patients.

Direct CMS (the governmental agency that controls Medicare and Medicaid) to collect data on crowding and boarding, then develop measures to alleviate these problems

The bill began the week with 135 co-sponsors in the House and 18 co-sponsors in the Senate. Many more promised to add their support in the weeks to come. As support grows, so does the chance of meaningful change…….and that is what brought ACEP to Washington.

*The Senate Caucus Room has been the site of other historic events - the Titanic hearings, the McCarthy hearings, the Iran-Contra hearings

No comments: