Emergency Physician Leaders To Convene In Washington, D.C., April 19-22

ACUTE CARE‘s CEO, Dr. Menadue, will be there…

ACEP members will demand that emergency medicine be addressed during health care reform

Washington, D.C. – Nearly 400 emergency physicians from across the country will be converging on the nation’s capital April 19-22 to advocate for greater patient access to lifesaving emergency medical treatment. As part of their visit, these medical specialty leaders will meet with key policy and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to educate them about the nation’s emergency care crisis, which was recently documented in ACEP’s National Report Card on the State of Emergency Care.  The report, issued in December, assigned the nation an overall grade of C- for its support of emergency care and a D- in access to emergency care.

Emergency physicians will urge their elected officials to hold hearings on and enact the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act (H.R. 1188 and S. 468), a bill that outlines measures to strengthen access to emergency care for patients. The meetings are part of the 2009 Leadership and Advocacy Conference of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), a key component of which is to urge members of Congress and the administration to include an array of critical emergency care issues in the discussions of health care reforms.

Invited conference speakers include former Clinton Administration senior health care advisor Chris Jennings, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), political pundit Charlie Cook, executive director of Families USA Ron Pollack and executive vice president for government affairs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce R. Bruce Josten (final confirmations pending).  For a complete list of Leadership and Advocacy Conference activities, see:

Physicians Required to Implement Identity Theft Programs

From ACEP:

Although organized medicine and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continue to disagree over whether new identify theft protection rules should pertain to physicians, one thing is certain – those rules go into effect on May 1, 2009.

The FTC issued a set of final regulations known as the “red flag” rules in 2007. They require a variety of business entities, mainly banking and financial institutions, to develop and implement identity theft prevention and detection programs to protect consumers. The FTC maintains that when physicians defer payment for their services they become creditors under those rules, and therefore must comply with them.

ACEP, the American Medical Association and numerous other medical specialties took issue with the FTC’s broad application of the regulations and have repeatedly said that physicians should be excluded from complying with them.

The FTC provided some relief for the physician community when it delayed implementation of the rules for six months, to May 1, 2009. The FTC has stated that it will not extend the deadline again, but in an interview with American Medical News, Naomi Lefkovitz, an attorney with the FTC, said that the commission is “looking for reasonable efforts” by doctors to comply.

The help physicians comply with the regulations, the AMA developed a guidance document and sample policies that groups can use to create an identity theft prevention and detection program that can be coordinated with existing HIPAA security and privacy policies.

Red Flags Rule Guidance Document (PDF)

This resource addresses the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the Red Flags Rule?
  • How do the rules differ from HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules?
  • Who has to comply with the Red Flags Rule?
  • What is a “Red Flag”?
  • How can physician practices comply with the Red Flags Rules?

AMA Identity Theft Prevention and Detection and Red Flags Rule Compliance (PDF)

This resource includes simple, customizable policies and procedures to incorporate into your practice in order to comply with the requirements of the Red Flags Rule. Also included in this policy is a link to the FTC’s Identity Theft Affidavit that can be used by patients who may be victims of identity theft.

University of Chicago Death Gets EMTALA Citation

From MedLaw.com:

After months of being in the headlines over ED practices that were designed to get the UC out of general hospital operations and into high-paying areas of elective practice, a death in the Emergency Room has resulted in a CMS
EMTALA violation citation according to a hospital press release.

Hospital physicians had protested practices which they labeled as dangerous, and the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians had criticized ED practices as coming close to violating the EMTALA laws.

The citation threatening expulsion from Medicare was apparently received March 17 after CMS investigation of an earlier incident in which an elderly man sat for hours outside the triage area of the ED.  When the daughter’s
complaints finally resulted in attention to the man, he was reportedly found to be dead.

First U.S. Community Paramedic Course Underway

From JEMS:

Ten paramedics in Minnesota will become the first U.S. “Community Paramedics” this spring when they complete a course that prepares them to provide expanded health services in areas short on other health-care practitioners.

The course is based on a new CP curriculum developed by the Community Healthcare and Emergency Cooperative, a consortium founded in July 2007 to develop a new community health provider model to address critical health care shortages in rural and remote areas. CHEC includes EMS and rural health leaders from Minnesota, Nebraska, Australia and Canada, and the CP Program is similar to those serving parts of Nova Scotia.

The pilot course began in January at a fire station on the Mdewakanton Sioux Reservation near Minneapolis under the auspices of Hennepin Technical College. The first class includes three paramedics from Mdewakanton Emergency Services (who will use their new skills on the MES 18-wheel mobile medical clinic), three from the Mayo Clinic’s Gold Cross Ambulance Service, three from North Memorial Medical Center and one paramedic educator who’s taking the course “to see if she’d want to put this into her program,” said Mike Wilcox, MD, Mdewakanton’s EMS medical director.

The course includes 150–200 hours of classes plus 28 hours working one-on-one with Wilcox or another mentor.

VA: 3 patients HIV-positive after clinic mistakes

From the AP:

Three patients exposed to contaminated medical equipment at Veterans Affairs hospitals have tested positive for HIV, the agency said Friday. Initial tests show one patient each from VA medical facilities in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Augusta, Ga.; and Miami has the virus that causes AIDS, according to a VA statement.

The three cases included one positive HIV test reported earlier this month, but the VA didn’t identify the facility involved at the time.

The patients are among more than 10,000 getting tested because they were treated with endoscopic equipment that wasn’t properly sterilized and exposed them to other people’s body fluids.