December 14, 2020
Season’s Greetings MACEP membership,
The winter holidays are upon us and the virus has taken the anticipated darker turn, with Massachusetts and the entire country engulfed in rising cases of COVID-19. Emergency departments are filling up across the Commonwealth as we meet this challenge head-on. You all have my deepest respect for your steadfast commitment and leadership during the greatest health crisis of our generation. Most of the world stayed home in endless Zoom meetings!
MACEP continues to work on your behalf, supporting you and your patients wherever we can. Update us regularly
through our COVID-19 Update
with what you see on the frontline to keep us informed and stimulate discussions at the start of our monthly meetings (4th
Tuesday, 4:30p-6:30p). These virtual meetings are open to all members: you can engage with us in our efforts or just drop-in to learn what we’re doing. Look for email invites and Tweets. Next is January 26th
MACEP members have interests and expertise in all kinds of areas and presenting your work in a brief 10-minute virtual presentation enriches our meetings and provides a regional opportunity for you. Submit a topic of your research, advocacy efforts, or areas of clinical expertise. Link to form
So here is what’s going on:
Emergency physicians shouldn’t be spending our energy right now persuading lawmakers not to defund the emergency healthcare safety net during a surging pandemic. Yet here we are.
For those who haven’t been able to answer our Call-To-Action on December 4th, now is the time
. CLICK HERE
to auto-generate emails to key members of this Healthcare Conference Committee.
Over the next few days in the Massachusetts State House, a joint conference committee will decide how to proceed on out-of-network (OON) legislation from the separate House and Senate bills passed this summer. MACEP recommends no action
at this time, as the best decision given these uncertain and extraordinary times. Of the two bills, we support the House Bill with the amendment
Rep. Jon Santiago MD, FACEP passed with MACEP advocating.
Washington is also pushing to finalize OON/Surprise Billing legislation before it recesses at the end of this week. Key U.S. House and Senate committee leaders announced
an agreement with bipartisan legislation on Friday. We don’t yet know how this will affect us and are certainly concerned. Keep a close eye out for updates from national ACEP. It will be a busy week in MA and Washington on this important issue.
6% Cuts to Medicare Scheduled January 1st
Emergency physicians are also under threat of the 6% cut in Medicare from CMS that goes into effect on January 1st
, 2021. U.S. Representatives Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID–19 Act of 2020
(HR 8702), which would ensure that, for two years, Medicare reimburses claims, at minimum, at 2020 levels. Senator John Boozeman (R-AR) introduced the Senate companion (S. 5007) and with bipartisan support of 50 senators and has sent a letter of support
to Senate leadership. ACEP has been advocating hard
for legislation to protect us from these cuts. Reach out to your representatives and senators today.
Behavioral Health Boarding In MA
MACEP was invited to give oral testimony
for the Joint Committee for Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery on October 23rd. Updates from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services revealed what we all can feel, specifically that there is a 300% increase in behavior health boarding time in our EDs. This is the result of increased patients seeking emergency services and a loss of 274 inpatient psychiatric beds (kept empty for contingency planning for inpatient behavior health patients who become Covid-19 positive while admitted).
MACEP held its annual point-of-care ultrasound course on December 5th under the leadership of course directors Drs. Michele Schroeder and Andrew Goldsmith. Not an easy feat to pull off during a pandemic and a blizzard warning but they succeeded! A MACEP Ultrasound lecture website was developed with excellent educational content from faculty across the state and the hands-on portion was done under heightened safety precautions. MACEP extends its gratitude to all the exceptional faculty who devoted their talents and efforts to make this a success.
Save the date
- MACEP will be holding its annual meeting & educational conference virtually
on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, from 8am-1pm. More information to follow in January.
Despite the known challenges ahead of us, we should all feel at least some measured optimism: first off, there are only a couple of weeks left of 2020! A remarkably effective vaccine is actively being shipped out across the country as I write this, with emergency physicians likely among the first to receive it. With the U.S. election over, the American people have chosen a new president, who is determined to lead through the remainder of this pandemic with policies and messaging based on science and the advice of public health experts.
In closing, please accept my warmest holiday wishes to you and yours. Be mindful of your limits and be compassionate with yourselves during this time.