Nebraska chapter members,
Greetings and I hope this finds everyone well as we continue our precarious practice on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a year filled with new challenges and uncertainty and has had a tremendous impact on the practice of Emergency Medicine, not to mention our personal lives. ACEP20 and the council meeting will be an online event this year. Dr. Engler and I will be the chapter representation for the council meeting. Along these lines, the chapter leadership met in July, and at this time, we are not planning on holding an in-person chapter meeting this fall. When the resolutions for the council meeting are released, we will meet (virtually) a few weeks prior to discuss them. (Continue Reading From Newsletter)
In addition to the ACEP “911 network” that many of you have participated in, ACEP also has a Capital Minute webinar which is accessible on the ACEP Website. It provides an up-to-date review of what is happening in DC that is affecting our practice and our patients. It is live every other Thursday and interactive, allowing for a Q and A session at the end. Past webinars are also available on the website. Highlights from the most recent webinar include:
-An update on the “Mask Up Campaign” which ACEP has partnered with the AMA and other health experts to encourage mask-wearing in public as well as combat misinformation related to mask-wearing. More information can be found at https://www.emergencyphysicians.org/article/covid19/should-i-wear-a-mask
-The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which was introduced to the Senate on July 29th. The bill would create behavioral health and well-being training programs to encourage health care professionals to seek support and treatment as well as initiate a federal study into health care professional mental health and burnout and provide grants to establish and expand mental health support services to those providing care to COVID-19 patients. ACEP is advocating for the bill to be included in the next COVID-19 relief package.
-COVID-19 relief package 4.0. The proposal is being referred to as the HEALS act. One ACEP supported proposal included in the Senate version of the bill which was not included in the House version included liability protection for healthcare providers, businesses, and schools arising from COVID. Progress on this bill has for the most part stalled due to significant divisions among congressional leaders.
-On August 3rd, the president signed an executive order to expand and support telehealth and support health care in rural communities.
-Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). Because of increases in the office and outpatient E/M codes that will take effect in 2021 and existing budget neutrality requirement under the Medicare PFS, CMS is forced to make negative adjustments to physician payments in order to counterbalance increases in code values that CMS implements. The overall reduction to emergency medicine is expected to be around 6%. ACEP has sent a letter to key committees in congress requesting that it waive the budget neutrality requirement. More information can be found at: https://www.acep.org/federal-advocacy/federal-advocacy-overview/regs-eggs/regs–eggs572/
To sign up for the webinars and view past updates, go to: https://www.acep.org/federal-advocacy/federal-advocacy-overview/capital-30-minutes/ (Next webinar is set for Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 3PM ET)