Meet our 2019 Board Candidates
The VACEP nominating Committee presents the following seven candidates for election to the VACEP Board of Directors. The election is determined by members eligible to vote online by January 24, 2019.
“Since arriving in Virginia with my family in the summer of 2017, I have felt welcomed and supported by Virginia ACEP. I have enjoyed the privilege of completing the VACEP Leadership and Advocacy Fellowship and have continued the work I started during that fellowship on Out of Network Billing. VACEP is uniquely active in advocating for Emergency Medicine and reaching out to include all its members. Thanks to the work of VACEP, emergency medicine is represented at all levels of Virginia healthcare decision making, ensuring access to emergency care for our communities.
As chair of my department and a member of one of the many emergency medicine groups that have undergone rapid changes in the last few years, I understand how critical these times are for our specialty. My work on out of network billing has helped me better understand the reimbursement and legislative actions that are shaping the future of our practice. It is more important than ever that we remain vigilant and proactive in our work to protect and advance emergency care on behalf of our communities and our colleagues.
If chosen to serve on the board, I will remain steadfast in my commitment to advocating for emergency care. I am proud of the work we do every day as emergency physicians and am honored to be considered to represent such an exceptional group of professionals.”
“I would be honored to serve you on the VACEP Board of Directors. I have a realistic understanding of the diverse challenges and opportunities we face in our practice, having worked for nearly 15 years in a variety of community and academic EDs; with democratic, corporate, and hospital-based EM groups; and in administration, education, and research. I will work diligently to address the issues we face, including understaffing, hospitals overreliance on unhelpful metrics, excessive time spent on documentation, patient boarding, medication shortages, burnout, and inadequate social and psychiatric resources. In the meantime, I think it is crucial that we focus administrators and policymakers’ attention on the remarkable work already being done by emergency physicians despite these many challenges.
While the heart of our specialty remains our clinical practice, in the current climate we must also band together and advocate for ourselves as physicians, for our emergency departments, and most importantly for our patients. Rather than wait for corporations, insurance companies, and lawyers to dictate policies on how we can provide care, together we can be at the forefront of legislative reform, creating commonsense solutions to the challenges we face with mental health emergencies, nursing shortages, corporate medicine, fluctuating reimbursement patterns, and firearm safety.
We have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of emergency medicine, and I would be honored to serve you and Virginia ACEP.”
Sarah Klemencic, MD, FACEP
“I have been working for Carilion Clinic since 2010 after I graduated residency in Ohio. In a time of such change and burnout I have been lucky and blessed to find a location and job I embrace and cherish. Through my eight years in this job I have become involved in leadership academies, research fellowships and I am currently the medical director for our NP/PA group. I have been selected as Physician of the Year twice. I continue to seek growth and experience in new areas. I became involved with Virginia ACEP in 2017 when I was selected as a VACEP Leadership and Advocacy Fellow. During my fellowship, I worked on the most active issue this last legislative session, Scope of Independent Practice for Nurse Practitioners. Fortunately, we were able to solidify strict requirements to preserve the integrity of our field. I am also currently serving as a Councilor from Virginia to National ACEP.
The Board of Directors position is one in which I could continue to contribute and grow as a physician and practitioner. In EM we are faced with many changes in culture and demands on our jobs and time nearly every day. We need a cohesive group to stand for us on a state and national level to share our voices regarding pertinent issues including malpractice, balance billing, PA/NP roles, and burnout. This list will continue to grow, and I would be honored to represent the state on these and many more issues.”
Todd Parker, MD, FACEP (Incumbent)
“Thank you for considering me for reelection to the VACEP Board of Directors. I joined the board in 2016 hoping to make a difference for Emergency Medicine in Virginia. Having been legislatively active in the past, my focus after joining VACEP has primarily been on legislative activities, specifically about insurance reimbursements and malpractice/tort reform. I chaired the Reimbursement Committee this last year, addressing unfair insurance reimbursement policies including Out of Network Billing and Prudent Layperson denials, and our work made this the number one legislative priority for VACEP.
Fortuitously, several issues beyond our control made billing issues for Emergency Care one of the top issues that legislators want to address next session. Predictably, the Health Insurance Plans want to enact oppressive laws that would dramatically decrease reimbursements and subsequently salaries, even threatening the existence of many smaller groups. Our forward-thinking model has allowed us to be proactive in this fight, rather than reactive, giving us a better chance of a favorable outcome. In addition to my work on this, I also initiated a move to change the investment strategy for VACEP, allowing record returns which provides us a political war chest to help fight future battles. I also serve as part of the Social Media team, and was selected as a Councillor, representing Virginia Emergency Physicians at the National ACEP Council Meeting/Scientific Assembly. This ensures a voice for Virginia when National ACEP is determining their priorities and positions.
Going forward, the fight with insurance companies will continue to be the top priority, but my next goal is to begin addressing tort reform in Virginia Emergency Services. Mirroring what some other states have done, I would like to raise the standard for malpractice after EMTALA-related care to one of Gross Negligence or even Willful Misconduct. I would also like to pursue establishing an arbitration board, where lawsuits can be vetted by neutral parties before proceeding to litigation. Other states that have done the same have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of frivolous lawsuits against Emergency Physicians, and I believe we can do the same in Virginia.
Before going into Medicine, I was a prior Naval Flight Officer, and after going to Medical School served as an academic physician, Medical Director, and Assistant Chair of the Emergency Medicine Program and Residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. After retiring, I worked in a private democratic group for several years which gave me valuable exposure to the business side of medicine. I now work for Riverside Health System at both the tertiary care center as well as remote critical access hospitals. I have been blessed to land at a place that allows me the opportunity to pursue issues that impact Emergency Physicians statewide, while also sharing my values of what is important in Emergency Medicine. I believe my background, accomplishments, and vision for the future make me an ideal candidate for reelection to the Board. Thank you for your consideration.”
Joran Sequeira, MD
“Thank you for the consideration to be on the VACEP Board of Directors. Health policy and advocacy has been a sincere interest of mine since medical school. Attending LAC in residency opened my eyes to the importance of educating our legislators to ED-centric issues. If we are not at the table, we truly are on the menu.
Since commencing my Leadership and Advocacy Fellowship in 2016, I have attended every VACEP board meeting and been an active participant. My project as fellow was on standardizing the medical assessment of psychiatric patients. Over the past 2 years, along with other VACEP board members, I have worked along with Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Administration (VHHA) and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) on negotiating guidelines that are safe, cost-effective and feasible for our patients and EDs. Though the Go Live date was on November 5th, my work on it will continue as we review cases and revise the guidelines as needed. Moreover, my role in this project has opened doors to other discussions surrounding current psychiatric legislation such as TDOs to state hospitals. While my fellowship has officially ended, I still serve as a mentor for current fellows and help with coordination of the fellowship in any way needed.
As one of the VACEP Councilors this year, I served as an ACEP Council member voting on behalf of Virginia EPs. I helped guide discussion on the resolutions and elections. In addition, I have frequently taken the initiative to share all our legislative efforts with my work and residency colleagues. It is important that we remain transparent such that our EPs know the incredible work ACEP/VACEP does.
I would be proud to serve as a VACEP board member. We have come so far over the past several years and continue to do great work. I hope to be an added voice to the Board of Directors and continue the dedication to advocacy on behalf of all emergency physicians of Virginia.”
Shannon Walsh, MD, FACEP
“I am honored to be nominated to serve on the VACEP Board of Directors. I am relatively young in my Emergency Medicine career, having only been out of residency for five years, but I am very passionate about our specialty. As emergency physicians, we are uniquely situated to provide care for patients who often have no other access to medical care. Our skill set allows us to care for and connect with patients and their families in some of their darkest and most frightening moments. I consider it a privilege to care for the people of Virginia, and I am excited to have the opportunity to work on a larger scale with VACEP to advocate for our specialty and our patients on issues ranging from trauma and disaster preparedness to psychiatric care to legislative issues and health care reform.”
Justin Walters, MD, FACEP
“Emergency Medicine is a continuously changing field, constantly changing and adjusting throughout events as bad as Las Vegas to small changes like initial treatment choices for heart attacks. I have always enjoyed working to help my patients and their families but have desired to work more to improve the ER as well as the community. Currently, I have taken a position that allows me to work closely with the EMS around the community as well as assist in preparing my hospital be ready for any type disaster that may arise. It is my hope to continue that desire by further building the community of emergency medicine throughout the state of Virginia.”