Jeffrey M. Goodloe, MD, NRP, FACEP, FAEMS, LSSBB
If you are going through withdrawal because you did not get an OCEP President’s Message in June, here is your antidote in double dose!
The OCEP Board Officers elected to give you a bit of “inbox” space (by holding an OCEP newsletter issue) in early June so that we could prioritize emails to you on legislative action alerts on the federal out-of-network/balanced billing issue. First, thank you to the many OCEP members that have responded to those email alerts, energized to protect your patients, your future, and your family by standing up for fair reimbursement for your skilled expertise, as often provided at 0100 as 1300. The Oklahoma delegation in the US Congress is definitely hearing our concerns. Now, if they will act favorably on those…
It is always amazing how “luck” favors the highly prepared, active participant, isn’t it? We must continue to prepare ourselves with valid data, not the biased numbers insurance lobbyists choose to unethically sway our legislators. We must continue to be active in communicating with our elected leaders. When someone has a STEMI, stroke, respiratory distress, or serious motor vehicle collision it is not an insurance executive that provides EMS medical oversight and/or is waiting in the ED resuscitation room to continue care started by EMTs and Paramedics. Legislators do recognize that fact, from the obvious as well as from their own personal family experiences. I am convinced that our legislators do respect what you and I do to serve our communities and the most vulnerable citizens within these towns, but they still need to hear how these current legislative bills left untouched can decimate decades of efforts to ensure Americans the highest quality emergency medical care on a minute’s notice.
The latest incremental development involved getting some recognition of a mechanism for arbitration, now termed “IDR” for independent dispute resolution, into the process of reimbursement. Sounds good, but in present reality, it is not. The current version floating in the US House limits IDR as a resource to bills greater than $1250. For most EM groups that involves 1% or less of the bills! Therefore, as it currently exists, it is functionally non-existent to you and me. We must help these legislators understand that reality before voting time post-August Congressional recess. This is the same dynamic as the “Everything is a $1.00” store holding a 50% off sale for all items that are $5.00 or more.
As important as this issue is to our individual futures and the future of our beloved specialty, I could share insights and encouragement to action for several thousands of words. Instead, take this time and access the most up to date information and resources on the acep.org website. You’ll find the absolute best educational and advocacy items at https://acep.org/federal-advocacy/federal-advocacy-overview/acep4u-out-of-network/
On the state level, our hardest working ever OCEP Vice President (and I’m saying that as a former OCEP Vice President so that will tell you how much I appreciate and admire Jim Kennedye) is taking a little family time after an incredibly busy session of the Oklahoma State Legislature, having wrapped up in May.
Jim and I both had the incredible opportunity to represent OCEP (and more importantly to represent YOUR incredible work) as Oklahoma State Legislature “Doctor of the Day” at our state capitol. The experience was very enjoyable, being able to diagnose and treat some minor injuries and ailments, without chest compressions, endotracheal tubes, or central lines. We each got a formal introduction to the Senate and House of Representatives, which allowed every legislator that day to know emergency physicians are active beyond the Emergency Department and are interested in patient and peer advocacy at 23rd and Lincoln. I even had the opportunity to teach my state senator’s Sunday School class (thank you for the invite, Sen. Gary Stanislawski!) about EMS, 911, and first aid care including CPR and bleeding control, as a direct result of being at the state capitol.
As your OCEP President, I worked diligently with our Secretary-Treasurer (for life) Timothy Hill and his network at Oklahoma County Medical Society. Many thanks to the leadership at OCMS for letting OCEP collaborate with them during the month of April to fill a few of those daily slots. We want this to be a growing program within OCEP. If you are interested in serving as the Oklahoma State Legislature’s “Doctor of the Day” during 2020, please email our Executive Director, Gabe Graham so we can start to build a list of doctors early. I will entice you by reminding you it pays $0.00/hour during your 0815-1600 day, but the reserved parking and security screening cannot be missed. Seriously, it is a great experience and the legislators and their staff professionals truly do appreciate knowing a qualified medical professional is literally steps down the hall that day.
Some images from early April at the Oklahoma State Capitol with my thanks to EMSA ambulance for their twitter support of OCEP and me:
Shortly after our state advocacy visits, we had the opportunity to host our newest elected Oklahoma US Representatives, Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5) and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1) back in Oklahoma. Jim Kennedye hosted Rep. Horn in the Edmond area. I was sincerely impressed at the hour plus visit that Rep. Hern shared with us at Hillcrest Medical Center’s Emergency Center in downtown Tulsa. He was very attentive to our discussions about the challenges faced in emergency departments in Oklahoma. He spent the entire visit near active patient care to get the best sense possible of what we actually face on a daily basis. Here’s a photo of Rep Hern (second from right) in the Hillcrest ED, joined by Medical Director Jeffrey D. Dixon, MD, FACEP, Director Lindy Bauer, RN, BSN, MHA, yours truly, and Chairman of EM at OU, Bo Burns, MD, FACEP:
Back to the federal level, ACEP held its 2019 Leadership & Advocacy Conference (LAC) in early May in DC. What a fantastic meeting! I am very pleased to report that this year OCEP sponsored one of our resident members attending this meeting. This was a unanimous decision by your Board of Directors, knowing that investing in the future of Oklahoma emergency medicine is a wise investment for all of us. Dr. Sabha Momin, now the Chief Resident in the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine’s EM Residency in Tulsa was chosen to attend. She made a fantastic impression upon ACEP national leaders and many EMRA leaders recognized OCEP joining the many other state ACEP chapters promoting resident attendance at this important meeting.
We continued our successful tradition of meeting with many of the Oklahoma Senators and Representatives so that they can hear your concerns through your elected leadership in OCEP. Here is a photo of Dr. Momin and me at the NEMPAC booth at LAC and some photos of our Capitol Hill visits, joined by Dr. Jim Kennedye, OCEP Vice President:
Okay, show and tell photo time concludes. At 1,000 words = one picture, my typing fingers are going to need some NSAIDs and maybe a hand/ortho worker’s comp referral! We are truly humbled and honored to represent all OCEP members in these meetings and want to make sure you see your hard-earned OCEP dues dollars actively at work for YOU.
Some final (for now) thoughts.
Welcome to OCEP’s newest members, the emergency medicine interns of Oklahoma. We are excited to have you. You have many didactics already on your plate. That recognized OCEP, ACEP and EMRA are great resources for your career – both current and future. Sometimes people ask if they should get involved in OCEP, ACEP, OR EMRA. My honest answer from personal experience is get involved in OCEP, ACEP, AND EMRA. Please get involved through your faculty members/mentors and more senior residents. If you’re unsure how to get involved, feel free to contact me or Jim Kennedye directly.
As summer begins to wane, it means that ACEP19 in Denver is just weeks away. We are working on this year’s OCEP Social Function in Denver with Jim Kennedye taking the lead on this project – more details TBA closer to Denver in late October.
I’m once again running for the national ACEP Board of Directors and want to sincerely thank the many of you that shared supportive words pre and post-election last year and are encouraging my campaign this year. I certainly will not take this space for “campaigning” but will simply say that I’m honored to be a candidate on the ballot and particularly proud to represent the Oklahoma Standard that has long defined the work ethic and citizenship of our Sooner State.
As always, thanks for all YOU do. You never get to hear “Thank You!” enough, so our entire OCEP Board of Directors wants to make sure we always are appropriate quick with that anytime we ask for a bit of your time and attention as we work to make all our futures in EM as bright as the sun shines on Oklahoma wheat. Stay safe, have some fun, and keep making a positive difference for people who need you when they medically need it most.