It is with great pleasure and excitement that I have the privilege of writing to you all as the new President of the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when I was a resident and was dragged to my first MOCEP meeting by a few of my attendings. While I didn’t fully appreciate it then, I can’t say how grateful I am to them for their continued mentorship, without which I wouldn’t be writing this today.
I’d also formally like to thank Dr. Jonathan Heidt, the outgoing MOCEP President, and the rest of the Board of Directors for their legislative efforts the past two years. There have been plenty of fights ranging from TCD CME requirements, to Medicaid, and most recently, Anthem. For those that weren’t aware, SB 982 passed both the House and Senate at the close of the legislative session and was signed by the Governor. The bill helps prevent an insurance company from denying a patient’s claim based on final diagnosis and requires out of network payments to be made directly to the physician without going through the patient. It also allows the Emergency Physician to determine what care is needed to screen and stabilize a patient. While we will have to fix a few unrelated amendments that were added at the last moment, the bill is a great accomplishment. For his efforts in what seems like daily meetings with legislators, Anthem executives, or the media, Dr. Heidt was just awarded the ACEP 911 Network Member of the Year Award.
However, what I really hope everyone takes away from this success is the power of what we can accomplish together. Anthem is a multibillion dollar corporation; we are an organization of approximately 600 physicians spread throughout the state. I’m sure they figured they’d get a little push back, maybe even a little negative press, on their way to implementing their new policy. I can’t imagine they ever dreamed of the headaches that we’d create for them through a barrage of media ads and interviews, notifying the state attorney general, effectively lobbying our United States Senators, and helping to create and guide legislation that was passed in less than a year. My whole point is that this would not have been possible without everyone’s support and effort.
I realize that not everyone has the time or desire to be on the Board of Directors or lead a committee. But what I am asking is for everyone to be as active as they can. This is the only way that we can continue to advocate for ourselves and our patients, because unfortunately, no one else is going to do this for us. While we were successful with Anthem, it is only a matter of time before another Anthem-like issue rears its head. The Board will continue to fight on your behalf, but to truly be successful, we need everyone’s continued support and help. The Board meetings are open to ALL members and the minutes are visible under the member’s only section on the website for anyone that is interested in getting more involved. We have multiple committees that ANY member can join. Most only meet via conference call a few times a year and require a minimal time commitment.
Additionally if you are interested in forming a new committee, please let us know. If you have ideas for projects or areas that need MOCEP’s attention, please let us know. We’ll do our best to make those things happen. And if nothing else, there is our PAC. If you can’t commit with time, I ask that you consider making a donation. It really is important and can be done through the MOCEP website.
We are a small group but can do great things if we work together.
Evan Schwarz, MD, FACEP, FACMT