Written by Jonathan Heidt MD, MHA, FACEP
Greetings from Columbia, MO! As the days continue to get warmer with the promise of the approaching spring season, I wanted to review a few of the many activities that have kept the MOCEP office and board of directors busy over the winter months.
First, in January MOCEP held our 4th annual advocacy day in Jefferson City with great success. During the planned sessions, participants had the opportunity to speak with Lt. Gov. Parson, Rep. Rehder (sponsor of the prescription drug monitoring program), Rep. Jay Barnes, and Sen. Caleb Rowden. Issues discussed included the potential of a PDMP in Missouri, Medicaid funding and reimbursement, and Tort issues. Following the planned sessions, 25 MOCEP members met with their representatives and senators to discuss these and other important issues.
MOCEP also continues to work on concerns related to the Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) system. Last summer, Gov. Nixon signed a TCD bill that contained a physician CME amendment that was supported by MOCEP. Essentially this provision transferred authority for setting emergency physician CME requirements for the TCD system to the board of healing in arts. In October, after a meeting with the board, a decision was made to convene a task force to work on setting future requirements. We anticipate release of updated TCD regulations soon that will reflect the removal of prior CME requirements. MOCEP also continues to participate with a work group formed by the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) to improve other aspects of the TCD system.
Additionally, work on the low acuity non-emergency (LANE) program proposed by MO HealthNet continues to be a high priority. Last summer we were notified by MO HealthNet of their intent to develop a program that would divert low acuity emergency department patients through a triage process as a cost saving measure. As emergency physicians, we are all aware of the peril that this system would create. Such a diversion process is fraught with EMTALA, liability and ethical concerns. MOCEP is partnering with MHA and MSMA to develop an alternative proposal that would save costs while simultaneously improving the quality of care provider to Medicaid patients. The proposal will be modeled after similar programs that have proven to be successful such as in Washington State. We hope to release details of our alternative proposal soon.
Finally, work is well underway in preparing for the next MOCEP general membership meeting. The meeting is scheduled on May 4th in Springfield, MO. Please consider attending as we will be providing detailed updates on many important issues facing emergency physicians in Missouri. If you are interested in running for a board of director’s position, please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I look forward to providing you with more updates as we move towards the spring.