Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ACEP Renews Call for Emergency Medical Services Act During "Cover the Uninsured Week"

From the American College of Emergency Physicians:

ACEP is asking the public to visit and send messages to Congress to pass HR 3875, the Emergency Medical Services Act, to address the critical problems affecting their access to emergency care. The bill, introduced by Representatives Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) has three objectives:

1. Provide financial incentives to end the practice of "boarding" patients in emergency departments in order to expedite the movement of patients to inpatient beds. The practice of leaving or "boarding" admitted patients in emergency departments until an inpatient bed becomes available in the hospital is the cause of the gridlock in emergency departments, resulting in long waits for treatment and ambulance diversion to other hospitals.

2. Provide an alternate medical liability system for physicians who provide uncompensated care in an emergency department. The liability risk of caring for emergency patients is so great, it is deterring many medical specialists from being on-call to emergency departments and driving many emergency physicians out of practice.

3. Increase Medicare payments to physicians who provide care in emergency departments. The continuing decline in payments for emergency medical care reduces resources to care for more patients, decreases access to on-call medical specialists who lack financial incentive to be on-call to emergency departments and makes emergency medicine unattractive to medical students who are choosing a specialty.


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