The Voice of Emergency Medicine in Virginia Politics

For the past thirty years, VACEP has been a key player in the Virginia General Assembly and regulatory arena regarding health care policy. VACEP has a robust and well-respected government affairs program protecting the interests of emergency physicians. Working for you, here are some of VACEP’s accomplishments over the years.

Elimination of PEND

One of our biggest legislative accomplishments was the removal of the DMAS PEND program from Virginia’s budget. After years of working on its removal, VACEP’s lobbying team was able to end this antiquated program that unfairly penalized emergency physicians. DMAS and Managed Care Organizations that contract with DMAS will no longer be able to pend, review and lower the reimbursement rate for level 3 claims.

Mental Health

As emergency physicians, we are on the front lines of mental health care. Many of these patients end up in the emergency department and we are a critical part of their system of care.

  • Passed HB 2368 in 2015, which directs the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to design a plan for allowing emergency physicians to evaluate for temporary detention orders.
  • Passed SB 260 in 2014, an omnibus mental health reform bill, which extended an emergency custody order up to 12 hours, established an electronic psychiatric bed registry, and created a “bed of last resort” system at state psychiatric hospitals.
  • Passed HB 1323 in 2008, which gives emergency physicians the ability to directly petition the magistrate to request a temporary detention order for a patient.
  • In the 2008 budget, we restored the Preferred Drug List exemption for behavioral health medications.

Scope of Practice

With our health care system constantly evolving, scope of practice is a major issue for physicians. While we want to increase access, we have to ensure this is not at the expense of a patient’s quality of care.

  • Passed HB 266/SB 543 in 2012, which defined “surgery” in the Code of Virginia and ensures only physicians are able to perform it.
  • Passed HB 346 in 2012, which requires a collaborative patient care team, led by a physician, where physicians can collaborate with up to 6 nurse practitioners. Independent practice for NP’s was NOT granted.
  • Defeated SB 263 in 2010, which would have removed the requirement of physician supervision for nurse practitioners and led to their independent practice.
  • Defeated HB 784 in 2008, HB 1820 in 2009, and HB 2487 in 2011, which would have created licensure for the practice of naturopathic medicine.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine is an effective method for increasing access to care, especially in rural areas. We helped pass legislation that will make it easier to practice telemedicine, while still protecting patients’ quality of care.

  • Passed HB 2063/SB 1227 in 2015, which expands the definition of telemedicine services.
  • Passed SB 675 in 2010, which requires health insurance to provide coverage for certain telemedicine services.

Workers’ Compensation

Despite Virginia having the 4th lowest workers’ compensation insurance premiums in the country, there is increasing pressure from the business community to move to a fee schedule payment system. Working with our fellow provider groups, we have defeated efforts to do so.

  • Passed HB 1820 in 2015, which creates a workgroup to continue to review the workers’ compensation system in Virginia.
  • Passed HB 1083 in 2014, which codifies market-based reforms for the current structure.
  • Defeated HB 946 in 2014, which would have established a Medicare-based fee schedule for workers’ compensation claims.

Death Certificates

An issue that frequently comes up is a physician’s signature on death certificates. There have been efforts by funeral homes to penalize physicians for not giving their signature in a “timely” manner.

  • Defeated HB 1802 in 2015, which would have made it a Class I misdemeanor if a physician does not sign a death certificate in a timely manner.
  • Defeated HB 597 in 2010, which would have required continuing education requirements for physicians who

Preventing Violence in the Emergency Room

Health care providers in the emergency department are at a heightened risk to be assaulted in the workplace. We passed HB 1690 in 2011 that increased the penalty for those who commit battery against a health care provider in the emergency room setting.

In past years…

  • Advocating patient rights by working diligently with legislators to incorporate bills into law. Such as:
    Prudent Layperson Standard: Requires HMO payment for emergency services.
    Patient Access to Emergency Care: Insures referrals to an emergency department by HMO gatekeepers or physicians could not be denied for emergency payment. Also requires payment for EMTALA services rendered to subscribers provided by nonparticipating providers must be made directly to the hospital or physician.
  • Advocating fair payment and streamlined claim processes.
    Level 4 and 5 Services: In 2004 VACEP spearheaded automatic payments for emergency services by Medicaid.
    Medicaid Payments: In 2006 we secured incremental increases for emergency physician services over a three year period. In 2010 we successfully blocked budget decreases.
  • Advocating improved patient care by providing education and training through CME programs and pre-hospital care:
    CME Programs: VACEP sponsors continuing medical education programs approved by ACEP. Visit our calendar for upcoming programs.
    OMD Training: VACEP helped develop the standards and jointly sponsors training with the Virginia Office of EMS. Through a grant from the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services, VACEP offers CME training courses around the Commonwealth to help OMD’s maintain their OMD endorsement requirement.

The Voice of Emergency Medicine in Virginia Politics

VACEP sponsors the Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee. EMPAC-VA makes campaign contributions to candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and educates lawmakers on issues important to emergency medicine. These contributions ensure the voice of emergency medicine is recognized and heard at the Virginia state Capitol. Meet our lobbying team:

 

Aimee Perron Seibert

Aimee Perron Seibert

 

Lauren Schmitt

Lauren Schmitt 

Virginia’s Voice in Federal Emergency Medicine Issues

VACEP has a proud history in the development of the specialty and founding of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Virginia in 19. VACEP continues to provide leadership through our representatives at the ACEP Council, the policy making body of the College.

VACEP members hold leadership positions and serve on a variety of committees at ACEP, allowing you more access to decision-making on national issues such as:

  • Medicare payment reform
  • National tort reform
  • Overcrowding
  • EMTALA regulation and policy development
  • Emergency medicine workforce