February 2014 Was A Busy Month For VACEP!
VACEP's Hot Topics in Emergency Medicine 2014:  60+ Emergency Physicians and their family members gathered at The Omni Homestead for CME, skiing and top emergency medicine conversations.
White Coats on Call 2014: As healthcare becomes more and more pressing in Virginia's government, emergency physicians from all over Virginia were visible in their white coats as they visited their elected officials in Richmond.

2014 VACEP Hot Topics/LLSA Conference  ACEP Executive Director Dean Wilkerson (far right) with ACEP Leadership.

2014 White Coats On Call


Go Team VACEP!!
2014 VACEP Hot Topics/LLSA Conference
VACEP Pres. Jeremiah O'Shea, MD, FACEP (r) thanks speaker Richard Hamrick, MD, FACEP with the Lamp of Knowledge.

2014 White Coats on Call

John Turski, III, DO and Pamela Bensen, MD, FACEP meet with Senator Frank Ruff.

News Releases/Announcements: 


Report Card

VACEP President Jake O’Shea was interviewed on local TV and national radio in response to Virginia’s 18th place ranking with a C- in the American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment (“Report Card”). VACEP leaders held multiple meetings to make sure Virginia’s Report Card grade represented the hard work by Virginia’s emergency medicine physicians in as positive way as possible. The state’s best grade was a B- in the category of Quality and Patient Safety Environment, and its worst grade was a near-failing D- in the category of Access to Emergency Care.

Virginia Receives a C- for Not Having Policies to Support Emergency Patients

Virginia’s Access to Emergency Care grade reflects shortages across the entire state health care system. Virginia has a relatively high hospital occupancy rate and below-average per capita rates of emergency departments, staffed inpatient beds and psychiatric care beds. According to the Report Card, investments to bolster hospital capacity and improve Medicaid reimbursement rates, especially to physicians who provide care in emergency departments, would improve this grade.

“Emergency physicians are required by federal law to see every patient who seeks emergency care, yet we are being penalized by the PEND program, which pends, reviews and slashes payments for Medicaid patients.” said Dr. Jeremiah O’Shea, president of the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians.  “Virginia can do several things to shore up support for emergency patients. The first is to end the financially disastrous PEND program that has nearly eliminated Medicaid payments to doctors who treat patients in the ER. The second is to expand access to emergency mental health services.”

The hospital and bed shortages that threaten access to emergency care also weakened Virginia’s Disaster Preparedness grade, which is a C. In addition, the state has a very low rate of intensive care unit beds and only average rates of health professionals registered in the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals. According to the Report Card, Virginia should implement liability protections for volunteers and health care workers during a disaster to improve this grade.

Virginia’s Quality and Patient Safety Environment grade was the result of ongoing funding of quality improvement efforts within the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system and funding for a state EMS director. In addition, the state’s destination policies allow EMS providers to take stroke, heart attack and trauma patients directly to appropriate facilities.

Virginia ranked 19th in the country with a C+ in the category of Public Health and Injury Prevention, marking a decline from 2009 when it was ranked 14th with a B. According to the Report Card, despite enactment of legislation to reduce traffic fatalities and improve traffic safety, Virginia needs to pursue efforts, such as implementation of anti-smoking legislation and working to reduce the state’s above-average rates of adult obesity.

Virginia’s grade for Medical Liability Environment, a C, ranked it 25th in the country. The Report Card reported the state has taken positive steps, such as apology inadmissibility laws, to better protect the medical workforce that is federally mandated to treat patients in emergency departments, but there is still room for improvement. Joint and several liability reforms would be a good step.

“America’s Emergency Care Environment:  A State-by-State Report Card – 2014” evaluates conditions under which emergency care is being delivered, not the quality of care provided by hospitals and emergency providers.  It has 136 measures in five categories:  access to emergency care (30 percent of the grade), quality and patient safety (20 percent), medical liability environment (20 percent), public health and injury prevention (15 percent) and disaster preparedness (15 percent). While America earned an overall mediocre grade of C- on the Report Card issued in 2009, this year the country received a near-failing grade of D+.

  Click below to listen, and watch, VACEP President Dr. O'Shea address the report.

Task Force

Dr. William Barker (left), Dr. William Hazel, Secretary of HHR (center) and Dr. Bruce Lo (right) pose for a photo after the first Task Force meeting. Missing from photo is Dr. Scott Syverud.


Three VACEP Emergency Physicians Chosen to Shape Mental Health Process

Three of the 36 members of the Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response are VACEP members:
William J. Barker, MD, FACEP
Bruce Lo, MD, FACEP
Scott A. Syverud, MD

OConnor Pic
Robert O'Connor, MD, FACEP

Both VACEP Endorsed Candidates
Elected to ACEP Board
At ACEP Annual Council Meeting

VACEP is very proud to announce that Robert O'Connor, MD, FACEP (Incumbent) and Debra Perina, MD, FACEP were elected to the ACEP Board at ACEP's Scientific Assembly on Oct. 13.

Virginia joins Texas and California in being the only Chapters in ACEP's history to have two members serving during the same term.

Perina Pic
Debra Perina, MD, FACEP

James Dudley Headshot


VACEP Past President James Dudley, MD, FACEP elected Associate Director to The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) Leadership Board.
(October 31, 2013)

Virginia's delegation (Councilors) is all smiles as they poise with newly elected ACEP Board of Directors Robert O'Connor, MD, FACEP and Debra Perina, MD, FACEP at ACEP 2013.

ACEP 2013 Councilors



Telemedicine Program Unveiled
James McCorry, DO, Service Line Chief at Riverside Doctors Hospital Williamsburg, shows VACEP Board members their Telemedicine Program System.

VACEP Past President & Active Member
Elected ABEM President-Elect

VACEP is proud to annouce Dr. Counselman has been elected President-Elect of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM).  Dr. Counselman is a Distinguished Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School and a member of Emergency Physicians of Tidewater.

Counselman Pic
Francis L. Counselman, MD, FACEP

July 2013:  VA Department of Health Clinicians' Letter:  Influenza and MERS-CoV Awareness. 
This information, and more, is also available on the VDH Resources for Health Care Professionals web page and VDH Health Care Professionals Facebook page.

UVA visit

July 8, 2013:  “Ramsey Shadows UVA Emergency Physicians” VACEP’s new Executive Director, Bob Ramsey, shadowed Chris Holstege, MD, FACEP during his shift at UVA’s Emergency Department. Dr. Holstege (right) consults with first year resident Dr. Jessica Srstka (left). Ramsey is planning multiple ED visits to better understand the “office” of Virginia’s busy EM physicians.  

Dr Carter          Dr Dawson
        Kelly Carter, MD     Brian Dawson, MD FACEP
Virginia Emergency Physicians Recognized for Developing Innovative and Efficient Healthcare Solutions

The Virginia College of Emergency Physicians is proud to announce that two of our members from Johnston Memorial Hospital, Dr. Brian Dawson and Dr. Kelly Carter, were recognized with the Health Information Technology award from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce at the 2013 Virginia Healthcare Innovators Awards ceremony.

While continuing to practice in Abingdon, Dr. Dawson and Dr. Carter founded Brily Innovations in 2012 and have worked to develop tools to help meet health care needs in the emergency department better, faster and cheaper. The Chamber recognized Drs. Dawson and Carter for Radiation ReconciliationSM, an innovative program they developed to better manage radiation exposure in the emergency department.   Radiation ReconciliationSM is one of these tools developed through Brily Innovations. The program calculates an estimated radiation exposure on every emergency department patient by reviewing a database of several Virginia hospitals’ imaging records when the patient is registered in the emergency department. The treating physician is notified when the estimated exposure is above a set threshold. This then allows for a more meaningful conversation with the patient regarding their risks, benefits and alternatives in the event an imaging study is considered as part of their emergency care.

Dr. Dawson and Dr. Carter were also recognized with a nomination in the Patient Care Award category for their Align Patient Care program. This program utilizes pre-made care plans detailing pertinent medical information and suggested treatment plans based on primary physician, specialist physician and/or emergency physician management plans. The average Align patient has seen 1.5 fewer emergency department visits per month, a $4000 reduction in monthly charges and 27% shorter emergency department visits. 

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce held its annual Virginia Health Care Conference on June 6, 2013 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The Honorable Marilyn Tavenner, the Director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and former Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, gave the keynote address. The focus of the conference was to identify innovative ways for multiple stakeholders to work together to transform to a higher value health care in Virginia.

The Virginia College of Emergency Physicians is pleased that the Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognizes the innovative, meaningful work being done by Dr. Dawson and Dr. Carter in the emergency department. Emergency physicians throughout Virginia are developing tools and implementing programs that bring a higher value and lower cost to health care. We are proud that our emergency physicians are on the forefront of finding solutions to help transform the provision of health care in the Commonwealth.

If you or your colleagues are involved in developing innovative processes in your emergency department, please let us know! We’d love to get the word out and when appropriate, connect you with relevant stakeholders and policy makers.  Email Bob Ramsey at bob@vacep.org




To Promote and Protect the Interests of Emergency Physicians and the Patients They Serve.