A Message from the President
Dr. Orlee Panitch, MD, FACEP
I believe advocacy to be one of the most important roles for the College. This is why I became active with ACEP over the past ten years, starting with the initiation of the ACA. We are the experts in acute unscheduled medical care. We must play a very active role in what that medical care looks like in the future, for both our patients and, for ourselves.
To be effective we need to identify the areas that we believe to be critically important to our patients’ health, i.e., access to mental health care, improving emergency department throughout and giving patients access to opiate addiction programs.
Identification of these areas has already begun. At this very session we had a very robust public policy committee. The very active trial bar nearly succeeded in passing a bill that would have repealed the requirement that experts only spend up to 20% of their time as expert witnesses. That bill would have benefitted only the trial lawyers. Utilization would increase, patients would be misled by overzealous attorneys and physicians would be subject to frivolous suits. Maryland ACEP, in collaboration with MedChi and other provider stakeholders, proved that we can garner overwhelming bipartisan support to kill this bill. Leveraging from this accomplishment, Maryland ACEP should take the lead and be proactive to create coalitions with our peers to redefine what a medical expert actually is.
We should also continue to pay close attention to Medicaid reimbursement. In Maryland, we enjoyed parity with Medicaid and Medicare several years ago. Over the past few years, the level has eroded, and where we were once at nearly 100% parity, we have diminished to 92% in 2018 with a slight bump up in 2019 to 93%.
To be good advocates we must be at the table. If you are not at the table, you are on the menu. We need to be helping make decisions. The Maryland legislature should not be deciding what CME we need to do. We need to sit on key committees like the HSCRC, PDMP, MHA WorkGroups, etc.
We are the experts regarding best practices! This is where our Practice Management Committee and our public policy committees can collaborate. We need to take the lead in making substance abuse treatment more accessible, promoting telemedicine and getting more comprehensive psychiatric care to the people.
We have real work to do. We need to expand on the work we have already done with the media to make sure that we are the only authority in Maryland on emergency care.
Promote an Accurate Understanding of the Value and Practice of Emergency Medicine in Maryland
The second initiative ties in closely to the first. This is an election year. The entire legislature, the county governments and the governorship are all up for change. We will have many new legislators that do not know us so, we need to teach them. We need to build a library so we no longer shudder when we hear reports that are clearly inaccurate. We need to have our voice heard in social media forums. To our younger members, here is your initiative. We desperately need your help here. Lastly, we need to adopt feasible goals, schedule and content management plan for EPIC publication.
Enhance Membership Value and Engagement
Everyone needs to get something out of their participation with ACEP. This isn’t a charity. Participation is not mandatory. For people to give up their time to get involved, there needs to be a value proposition.
We need to give better feedback to our members on our numerous project. We need to effectively let members know what projects are out there and what their contributions are.
We need benefits that include wellness activities and exclusive career enhancement opportunities. We do a great job of taking care of patients; we need to take better care of ourselves. Physician wellness is critically important to maintain our practices and, to avoid burnout.
We are much stronger when we represent the wonderful diversity we represent; everyone needs a voice.
We need to develop a strategy for engaging and recruiting newly graduated emergency medicine physicians. They [you] are the future; that voice should be the loudest!
We need to leverage social media to share membership advantages and promote dialogue on emergency medicine news and themes.
I’m optimistic. The practice of medicine is changing daily and we have an opportunity to mold it. Please take a part in this process; take an active role in ACEP. Join committees, help us communicate … help us advocate.