Monday, September 19, 2005

ACEP Action Alert

This is slick. The American College of Emergency Physicians has an web-based "Action Alert" application that allows one to compose a mail or e-mail letter of concern directed to legislators. "Talking points" are supplied and one can enter them into the text of the message with one click. A tabbed entry provides information about the membership of the US Congress and the Senate. Very impressive!

Some data:
Will Lifesaving Emergency Care Be There When You Need It?

More than 2,000 emergency departments have closed their doors since 1992. During that same period, Americans dramatically increased their dependance on the emergency care system and in 2003 made more than 114 million visits to hospital emergency departments, resulting in dramatic increases in patient volumes and waiting times.

Overcrowding causes prolonged pain and suffering for patients, long emergency department waits, and increased transport times for ambulance patients, according to a report from the U.S. General Accounting Office.

The health care system is in crisis due to a lack of hospital inpatient beds; a shortage of on-call medical specialists; an increasing elderly population; and nationwide shortages of nurses, physicians, and support staff.

Emergency physicians provide care to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay, but the cost of treating the uninsured is passed on to all Americans through higher hospital bills, insurance premiums and taxes.

Skyrocketing jury awards and frivolous lawsuits are causing physicians to retire early or stop performing high-risk procedures, leading to a lack of medical specialists willing to provide lifesaving emergency medical care.


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