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Urgent Action Items: Contact Your Representatives Before August Recess

Congress is in the midst of making decisions on surprise billing that could have major ramifications for your profession, your earnings, and your patients. All stakeholders agree that patients must be taken out-of-the middle in any solution, but if not done right, there is potential for significant over-reach of government authority into physician practices. At risk are your livelihood as a physician (both in terms of sharp reductions in salaries and reimbursement expected, and reducing opportunities on where you can practice), and continued access to quality care for your patients.

Senate Action:

In the Senate, a bill was passed out of the HELP Committee last month that would cap out-of-network payments at the median contracted rate for that insurer in that geographic area. ACEP opposed this and we need your help in making sure this proposal does not continue to consideration by the full Senate without significant improvements.

House of Representatives Action:
In the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee recently considered the "No Surprises Act," which contains a bench-marking approach that caps reimbursement for out-of-network care at the median in-network rate for that geographic area. Pressure from stakeholders like ACEP and congressional supporters of an independent dispute resolution (IDR) model, precipitated a last-minute change to the bill that added an IDR mechanism. Although we appreciate the change, the revised proposal is structured so that over 99% of the care provided by emergency physicians will be ineligible for IDR. This leaves emergency physicians confined to the original legislation's bench-marked caps.

We must continue to advocate for the better alternative used in HR 3502, legislation introduced by Representatives Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA) and Phil Roe, MD (R-TN). Please urge your legislators to support the IDR approach in this bill. The bill is up to 65 co-sponsors and we need to keep the momentum going.

Contact your U.S. legislators now before the August recess to advocate for the best solution to protect patients and ensure that the future of the specialty and your livelihood is protected.

To learn more about how you can advocate at home on the surprise billing issue during the Congressional recess in August, please click here to register for ACEP's upcoming "ACEP Townhall: Advocating on Surprise Billing in the August Recess" on Aug 5, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. more

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