Aug 2013:  Physician Payments Sunshine Act Effective August 1, 2013
As of August 1, manufacturers are required to start tracking meals, faculty payments, certain educational events, grants and other transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) and the regulations issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Manufacturers and Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) will also separately report physicians' and immediate family members' ownership and investment interests.  CMS will publish these reports on the public OPEN PAYMENTS website

With only a week before reporting begins, physicians, teaching hospitals and medical societies should educate themselves and their members on the PPSA and implement self-tracking.  While physicians are not required to do anything by law, their names will be posted on a public website, so it is advisable for physicians to track payments on their own  to challenge and resolve disputes over manufacturer-reported data during the limited review period provided by the PPSA rules.

CMS recently issued the OPEN PAYMENTS Apps for iPhone and Android to facilitate internal tracking by physicians and manufacturers. Through these Apps, physicians will track and retain transfers of value in real-time and share information with manufacturers directly. These Apps will ease some of the burdens associated with the new rule and minimize disputes. Proactive tracking of manufacturer and GPO relationships will enable physicians to respond quickly to erroneous reports that could implicate their professional reputation and livelihood.

Additionally, CMS recently issued a request for comments on the burden estimates associated with the PPSA. While this solicitation of comments is directed at the administrative impact of the PPSA, rather than the substantive rule itself, physicians and societies may want to submit comments that highlight the significant burdens physicians face under the new rule. Comments are due September 20.
For more detailed information on the PPSA requirements, please see our memorandum. Please contact Rob Portman at 202-872-6756 or Johanna Michaels Kreisel at 202-349-4241 for additional information. This summary and analysis is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute and should not be treated as legal advice.

May 2013:  Welcome Johnston Memorial Hospital Emergency Physicians for achieving 100% Group Membership in ACEP/VACEP! 
They join Augusta Emergency Physicians, Centra Emergency Physicians, Chesapeake Emergency Physicians, Emergency Physicians of Tidewater LLP, Peninsula Emergency Physicians and University of Virginia Physicians Group in making a group commitment to support the VACEP Mission - to promote and protect the interest of emergency physicians and the patients they serve. Group membership provides discounted dues to new members and other services. For more information on how your group can start the process to participate in this program, email Annette Roberts or call 800-649-4911.

May 21, 2013:  Largest EM Physician Gathering in Washington DC
VACEP contributed to the largest EM physician gathering in Washington DC in the history of ACEP's Leadership & Advocacy Conferece. Bolstered by the recent release of the Rand Corporation documenting EM physicians as key decision makers for nearly half of hospital admissions, Virginia EM physicians delivered a strong message on their vital health care role to the entire Virginia delegation.

Apr 22, 2013:  Robert M. Ramsey, CAE, joins the VACEP administrative support staff as Executive Director.  Bob was hired by the Board of Directors to lead VACEP upon the retirement of Gwen Messler Harry later this spring.  Click here to read Bob's impressive CV. 

Capitol Pic2013 Virginia General Assembly is now closed. VACEP gave you complete coverage on what your legislators actions were on proposed bills relating to, and affecting, emergency medicine. Click here to go to the Advocacy & Legislation page to view each bill with its' final status.

Feb 2013:  At the VACEP annual membership meeting held on February 15th, the 2013 Board election results and Officers were announced. Click here to meet everyone!

Jan 2013Dr. Jake O'Shea, VACEP President-Elect has been appointed to the Mental Health Workgroup of the Governor's Taskforce on School and Campus Safety, which was created after the recent tragedy in Newtown. 



Dec 2012:  Congratulations to Marilyn K. McLeod, MD, FACEP for receiving the 2012 Governor's EMS Award for Physician with Outstanding Contributions to EMS!  Read about her accomplishment here..   
VACEP welcomes Harinda Dhindsa, MD, FACEP to the VACEP Board.  Dr. Dhindsa will fulfill the term of the seat recently vacated by Dr. Vanden Hoek.

Nov 2012:  ACEP Scientific Assembly elected two new members to ACEP Board of Directors, including VACEP member Dr. Robert O'Connor as Secretary-Treasurer.  Congratulations to Dr. O'Connor!

Congratulations to VACEP member Dr. Brian C. Dawson voted in as FACEP at the ACEP Scientific Assembly!

Oct 9 2012: Dr. Robert O'Connor, VACEP member and ACEP Board member says emergency care is actually a great deal in Ezra Klein's WonkBlog in The Washington Post. Read it here...

Oct 2012: Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare opens in theaters. This documentary film takes a very sobering look at healthcare in America and makes the effort to promote difficult conversations that work to find solutions.  One of the featured physicians in the movie is Pamela A. Ross, MD, FACEP, a Past President of Virginia ACEP, a former Councilor and former member of various ACEP committees, including the Council Steering Committee and Public Relations Committee.  Previously one of ACEPs spokespersons, as well as contributor to concepts and talking points that related to issues concerning Emergency Physicians, Dr. Ross asks that ACEP members take a serious, in depth look at this discussion.  

Jul 2012:  At its July 2012 meeting, ABEM elected new officers to its Executive Committee including VACEP member Dr. Francis L. Counselman, MD, FACEP as Secretary-Treasurer.  Congratulations to Dr. Counselman!

Apr 2012:  VACEP's Immediate Past President Tamera Barnes, MD, FACEP co-authored article published in the Richmond Times Dispatch titled the "Mentally Ill Aren't Getting Proper Care".  Click here for full article..

Mar 2012:  Congratulations to VACEP's Immediate Past President Dr. Tamera Barnes on being nominated by Virginia Lawyers Media for their 2012 "Influential Women of Virginia" award.  This awards program recognizes the outstanding efforts of women in the commonwealth in all fields, including health care.  The honors are given to to individuals who are making notable contributions to their chosen professions, their communities and society at large.  The honorees will be celebrated at a gala luncheon on May 10 at the Richmond Marriott in downtown Richmond, at which the winner will also announced.


Oct 2011:  ACEP Honors 2011 Leadership and Excellence.  Debra G. Perina, MD, FACEP receives award for Outstanding Contribution in EMS.
This award is presented to a member or nonmember who has made a contribution to emergency medical services that is nationally significant in application or scope.
Dr. Perina is an associate professor in the Dept of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine (UVA), EMS Fellowship Director, and Division Director of Prehospital Care. She is also a Regional Quality Medical Director for the University of Virginia Health Sciences System.
Since 1985, Dr. Perina has served as an emergency medical services medical director for rural volunteer, metropolitan county services, and air medical services in South Carolina and Virginia. She has published more than 20 chapters and articles on EMS-related issues and is coauthor of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Standard Medical Director's Curriculum.
She has served on several collaborative committees between ACEP, the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and the National Association of EMS Physicians exploring physician certification in EMS, and is now leading the effort to create the first EMS certification excamination with the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Aug 9, 2011:  Ending the PEND Program. VACEP President Dr. Tamera Barnes, VACEP President Elect Jason Garrison, Dr. James Dudley, VACEP Exec. Director Gwen Harry and VACEP lobbyist Aimee Perron Seibert met with Deputy Secretary of Health Keith Hare and DMAS staff to discuss the elimination of the PEND program. We had met previously with Secretary Hazel who had expressed understanding of the program and it’s detrimental impact on emergency physicians in the Commonwealth. While we understand that the economic situation in Virginia is better than many other states, we also know that as we begin to implement health care reform, it will become more critical for emergency medicine physicians to be on the equal playing field as all other specialties in the realm of reimbursement.
They were very attentive and interested in hearing the history of the PEND program, especially how it had originally started under the misguided auspices that by underpaying physicians, Virginia could reduce Medicaid patients’ visits to the emergency department.  Soon after PEND was implemented, the Federal EMTALA law was passed, barring ED’s from turning away any patients.  Subsequently, the PEND program should have been terminated, but instead, it has slowly been whittled down by the hard work of VACEP to only apply to level 3’s, albeit half the cases you see in the ED. 
DMAS was tasked with looking at the newest numbers to get a handle on the exact cost of full elimination of the program for both physicians and hospitals.  We will keep you informed as the Commonwealth’s budget is being drafted on where we stand with PEND. 

July 11-12, 2011 Hampton Roads Legislative Road Trip
Otherwise dubbed as the ‘Summer of Love’ tour, five of the specialty physician lobbyists, including our own Aimee Perron Seibert, and MSV hopped in a mini van and made a two day trip down to visit as many physician friendly legislators as we could schedule in two days to thank them for their support of our issues. 
The trip began with a brand new delegate, Gordon Helsel of Poquoson, who was elected in the spring to take the retiring Tom Gear’s seat.  Helsel was assigned to House Health, Welfare and Institutions so we took this opportunity to introduce ourselves and our issues to him over an early breakfast in his district. 
Then we set off to see Senator Lucas in Portsmouth, a long time friend to physicians, Delegate Spruill in Chesapeake and Delegate Algie Howell in Norfolk.  Next, we were able to talk with Delegate Sal Iaquinto, the new chair of House Courts- Civil Subcommittee, where all medical malpractice bills went through last year and will go through in the future (hint: potential EMTALA med mal protection).  Joining him was Delegate Ron Villanueva, a delegate entering his second term and interested in learning more about the issues physician’s face in the marketplace. 
We then had the pleasure of having dinner with Senator Ralph Northam and his aide, Matt Strickler. As always, he was up to date on the issues facing physicians and it was a nice opportunity to thank him for all he’s done for doctors in the Senate. 
Finally, on the way back to Richmond, we stopped in Petersburg to have lunch with Delegate Dance, an integral member of the House Appropriations committee who is also the co-chair of the Allied Health Caucus during the legislative session. 
Thanks to everyone who gives to EMPAC- it’s your donations that allow us to continue to build strong relationships with delegates and senators and more importantly, thank them for all they do for physicians.  A simple thank you goes a long way with our elected officials. It’s not something they hear very much!

June 29, 2011:  James Dudley, MD, FACEP and Gwen Harry, VACEP Executive Director met with VDH, skilled/nursing home facility and other stakeholders about problems for readmission to a referring facility following a hospitalization or emergency department visit that crosses over the "midnight" rule.

June 11, 2011 2011 VHAC/Mission:Lifeline Stakeholder's Summit, Chesterfield, VA.   Hear the latest on the Virginia Heart Attack Coalition/Mission Lifeline STEMI initiative. 

May 3-4, 2011:  Del. Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) and State Health Commissioner Karen Remley received VACEP's first Heroes in Emergency Medicine awards at The EM Summit on May 3 – May 4. 
Stolle introduced and secured passage of HB 1690. This bill provides penalties, including a minimum two days in jail, for anyone who assaults emergency department workers. The law becomes effective July 1.  
Remley demonstrated significant leadership in the development and adoption of guidelines to help hospitals better manage emergency patients when inpatient beds are not available.
"Del. Stolle recognized the harsh realities we sometimes face in emergency medicine by sponsoring legislation that makes violence against us and our staffers a Class I misdemeanor,” said Dr. Tamera Barnes, president of the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians. “As someone who has seen violence in the emergency department, I can tell you firsthand that Del. Stolle’s legislation is good for Virginia’s emergency patients and workers.”
"Commissioner Remley led Virginia in taking a critically important step toward addressing emergency department crowding,” said Barnes. “The guidelines that Commissioner Remley helped develop can reduce emergency department wait times and help cut hospitals costs. My colleagues across the state tell me these guidelines have already helped address these important issues.”

Apr 15, 2011:  Five make the ‘Emergency Medicine Excellence Hospitals’ List.  We thought you might be interested in the attached study, including the listing of the 268 “emergency medicine excellence hospitals” by state, based on HealthGrades' criteria of risk-adjusted mortality outcomes for Medicare patients admitted through the emergency department.
Congratulations to our colleagues at:
Martha Jefferson Hospital, Charlottesville
Augusta Health, Fishersville
Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Harrisonburg
Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, Mechanicsville
Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital, Richmond

Mar 18, 2011:  Emergency Health Care Violence Bill HB1690 Enacted. VACEP was represented at the bill signing by Tamera C. Barnes, President and Aimee Perron Siebert, Legislative Consultant. 
Click here for the final version of the bill.  
Bill Signing

Feb 28, 2011: Sunday marked the last day of session, or “Sine Die,” finishing just one day late. Over the last six weeks, we’ve had many significant victories! Read all about these in Aimee's blog "The Capitol Connection" here.

Feb 22, 2011:   WUSA interviewed Pete Paganussi, VACEP board member and immediate past president, for a story on Virginia's recently passed legislation to protect emergency department workers from violence.  View it here.

Feb 17, 2011: VACEP joins in request for Governor McDonnel to support the measures to stabilize Virginia’s medical malpractice cap for the next 20 years, HB 1459 and SB 771, along with legislation that protects peer review and quality assurance documents from discovery in litigation proceedings, HB 2373 and SB 1469. Read letter here.

Feb 18, 2011. Del Stolle HB 1690 passes the Senate. It will now go to the Governor for signature! Read AP news story prominently citing VACEP President Tamera Barnes, picked up by the HR Pilot.

Jan 31, 2011: Advance copies of CMS Revised Anesthesia Services Interpretive Guidelines

Jan 27, 2011: VACEP Election Results. Meet VACEP leaders whose terms begin in February.

Jan 25, 2011: VACEP Members Support White Coats on Call at the General Assembly. Report and photes.