ACEP Hails House Actions on Liability Reform and Repeal of IPAB - Mar 22, 2012

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ACEP Hails House Actions on Liability Reform and Repeal of IPAB
PR Newswire
WASHINGTON
Mar 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medical liability reforms that include specific protections for physicians who provide EMTALA related services -- long a top priority for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) -- today passed the U.S. House of Representatives. These protections were included as an amendment offered by Representatives Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) to a comprehensive liability reform bill -- H.R.5, the "Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act," which passed 223-181. Also included in H.R. 5 are liability protections for physicians working in disaster situations and repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), both outcomes strongly supported by ACEP.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100616/DC22034LOGO-d )

"Thanks to the leadership of Reps. Charlie Dent and Pete Sessions, the House has passed specific liability protections for emergency physicians," said David Seaberg, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. "This is a critical step forward, and emergency physicians now are urging the Senate to pass the legislation as well to make the reforms a reality. The legislation not only will provide liability protections for emergency physicians, but also for on-call specialists, which will help make sure they are available to emergency patients in their hour of need."

H.R. 5 sets a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in malpractice suits, limits attorney fees and establishes other methods to rein in lawsuits. The bill would reduce health spending by $50 billion over 10 years. The amendment to H.R. 5, unanimously adopted, was language from H.R. 157 -- the "Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2011" -- introduced by Reps. Dent and Sessions. It provides limited liability protections to (emergency and on-call) physicians who perform the services mandated by the federal EMTALA law, which requires patients be screened, diagnosed and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Today's passed legislation also includes another amendment offered by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) granting limited civil liability protections to health workers who volunteer at federally declared disaster sites. It also includes language from H.R. 452 legislation, which repeals the section of the federal health care reform law which creates IPAB.

"Leaving Medicare payment decisions in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable body with minimal congressional oversight would harm quality health care for our nation's senior citizens and the disabled," said Dr. Seaberg. "Medicare spending cut recommendations also would be made without any input from actively practicing physicians, who daily care for patients."

IPAB was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. According to the law, if IPAB fails to report spending cut recommendations or does not become operational, the power to recommend cuts will rest solely in the hands of a single individual -- the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Many groups have expressed major concerns about eliminating the transparency of hearings, debate and a meaningful opportunity for critical stakeholder input.

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

www.acep.org

Follow ACEP on Twitter: go to www.twitter.com/emergencydocs

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

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SOURCE: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

ACEP Hails House Actions on Liability Reform and Repeal of IPAB

PR Newswire

 

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medical liability reforms that include specific protections for physicians who provide EMTALA related services — long a top priority for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) — today passed the U.S. House of Representatives.  These protections were included as an amendment offered by Representatives Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) to a comprehensive liability reform bill — H.R.5, the "Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act," which passed 223-181.   Also included in H.R. 5 are liability protections for physicians working in disaster situations and repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), both outcomes strongly supported by ACEP. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100616/DC22034LOGO-d )

"Thanks to the leadership of Reps. Charlie Dent and Pete Sessions, the House has passed specific liability protections for emergency physicians," said David Seaberg, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP.   "This  is a critical step forward, and emergency physicians now are urging the Senate to pass the legislation as well to make the reforms a reality.  The legislation not only will provide liability protections for emergency physicians, but also for on-call specialists, which will help make sure they are available to emergency patients in their hour of need." 

H.R. 5 sets a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in malpractice suits, limits attorney fees and establishes other methods to rein in lawsuits.  The bill would reduce health spending by $50 billion over 10 years.  The amendment to H.R. 5, unanimously adopted, was language from H.R. 157 — the "Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2011" — introduced by Reps. Dent and Sessions.  It provides limited liability protections to (emergency and on-call) physicians who perform the services mandated by the federal EMTALA law, which requires patients be screened, diagnosed and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Today's passed legislation also includes another amendment offered by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) granting limited civil liability protections to health workers who volunteer at federally declared disaster sites.  It also includes language from H.R. 452 legislation, which repeals the section of the federal health care reform law which creates IPAB.  

"Leaving Medicare payment decisions in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable body with minimal congressional oversight would harm quality health care for our nation's senior citizens and the disabled," said Dr. Seaberg. "Medicare spending cut recommendations also would be made without any input from actively practicing physicians, who daily care for patients."

IPAB was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  According to the law, if IPAB fails to report spending cut recommendations or does not become operational, the power to recommend cuts will rest solely in the hands of a single individual — the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Many groups have expressed major concerns about eliminating the transparency of hearings, debate and a meaningful opportunity for critical stakeholder input.

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. 

www.acep.org

Follow ACEP on Twitter: go to www.twitter.com/emergencydocs

 

 

 

 

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

CONTACT: Laura Gore, +1-202-728-0610, ext 3008, lgore@acep.org

Web Site: http://www.acep.org