Last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed a health reform bill, H.R. 3962. Emergency physicians are divided in their thoughts about the consequences of this legislation, as is the house of medicine and the country in general. However, there are many aspects of the bill that are positive for emergency patients and for emergency physicians.
Some of these include:
*Inclusion of emergency services as part of an essential health benefits package
*Statutory authorization of ECCC (Emergency Care Coordination Center) and ECCC Council of Emergency Medicine.
*Health and Human services annual report to Congress on ECCC activities, with focus on emergency department crowding, boarding and delays in ED care following presentation.
*Emergency care/trauma regionalization pilot project grants.
*Trauma stabilization grants.
*Health and Human Services incentive payments to states that establish medical liability reforms (Certificate of Merit/early offer)
*Health and Human Services demo project to reimburse private psychiatric hospitals that provide EMTALA services to Medicaid beneficiaries.
The American College of Emergency Physicians has worked diligently to represent emergency physicians and emergency patients throughout this volatile process. As the process continues toward final legislation, ACEP will continue to focus on the needs of emergency patients, future emergency patients, and the physicians who care for them.