I hope everyone is having a great holiday season and is getting at least a little time off to enjoy the season with their families and reflect on the past year. MOCEP had a great year and we hope this is reflected in our members’ abilities to provide exceptional care to their patients.
Even though this is supposed to be the quiet time of the year, we’ve been quite busy over the last few months. Most recently we were able to support several physicians or physician-friendly candidates that were elected to the Missouri Legislature. These efforts wouldn’t be possible without your contributions to the Emergency Medicine PAC. So for that, the MOCEP Board of Directors kindly thanks you for your continued contributions. Additionally, we just had our first bill of the year submitted, SB 67. Under this act, any physician or provider delivering care under EMTALA is not liable for any civil damages unless their acts constitute gross negligence. I can’t say I know what will happen to the bill but greatly appreciate Senator White drafting it on our behalf. We also just assisted the Missouri Hospital Association in updating their opioid guidelines. Additionally, please be on the lookout for our improved and updated website. It should be even more user-friendly with several new features!
While we’ve had great success in the last year in no way can we stand on our laurels. We already are preparing for several legislative issues that we will face shortly. Beginning January 1st, Centene may be implementing a policy that automatically downcodes E/M codes based on the final diagnosis. I know, déjà vu all over again! We’re already discussing this with ACEP and I’m in the process of setting up a meeting with Centene.
The TCD regulations are also being reviewed again. Of the many important aspects covered in them, our main concern regards the CME requirements for emergency physicians. A few years ago when we were able to move them under the Board of Healing Arts, we were also able to eliminate any specific CME requirements outside of those required for your MO medical license. We do not want them to return. It also appears that scope of practice issues could be pushed harder this year than last, especially based on recent announcements at the national level. While we enjoy working with our NP and PA colleagues, we believe in, and will always support, collaborative and not independent practice. There is a reason that we all went to four years of medical school followed by a 3- or 4-year residency. These are, of course, only some of the issues we will face. Please be on the lookout for calls to action, emails, and pop-ups on the website.
Lastly, I’d like to make an announcement about the annual General Membership Meeting scheduled for May. We are going to try something completely new this year. Prior to the meeting, we are going to hold our first free leadership summit. The goal is to get the directors or leadership of all the EDs in Missouri together to discuss important topics that affect us all. While we are spread out across the entire state, we face many of the same issues in trying to deliver the best care possible. We hope the summit will allow us to talk about those issues and come up with solutions. At the Scientific Assembly earlier this year, I was able to speak with a few of the chapters that are already doing this, and they told me their membership has found the sessions to be incredibly useful. Hopefully, this will be the first of many annual summits. In addition to the leadership summit, we will be holding a parallel x-waiver course. It is also free and open to any and all physicians. It’s a great opportunity for either emergency physicians to get waived or for community physicians to get their waivers so that we have places to refer our patients. Much more to come about this in the next few months.
As always if you have any other questions, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or our executive director at email@example.com. Here’s wishing us all a Happy New Year!
Evan Schwarz, MD, FACEP, FACMT