WASHINGTON — The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today announced that Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP, from Napa, Calif., assumed the presidency of the organization during its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. He was elected in 2016 by ACEP’s Council to serve a 1-year term.
Dr. Kivela is managing partner of Napa Valley Emergency Medical Group, and medical director of Medic Ambulance in Vallejo, Calif.
“As president, I intend to do everything I can to protect access to emergency care and fair insurance coverage for emergency patients,” said Dr. Kivela. “If a patient comes to the emergency department with the symptoms of a medical emergency, their insurance company should pay for that visit, even if the diagnosis turns out not to be an emergency. This standard — the prudent layperson standard, that is written into federal law — is currently under assault by the health insurance industry. Patients should not be forced to diagnose themselves out of fear their insurance won’t pay for it.”
Dr. Kivela also said a major health insurance company — Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield — is telling its policyholders in several states — don’t come to the emergency room unless you know it’s a medical emergency.
“This is dangerous,” said Dr. Kivela. “Anyone who seeks emergency care suffering from symptoms that appear to be an emergency, such as chest pain, should not be denied coverage if the final diagnosis does not turn out to be an emergency”
“As well, even if covered, people often don’t realize how much cost they might still have to bear until they need emergency care, and then they are shocked at how little their insurance companies pay,” said Dr. Kivela.
Dr. Kivela has been actively involved with ACEP for more than 20 years and served as an ACEP councillor or alternate since 1994. He was elected to the ACEP Board in 2010 and 2013. Dr. Kivela has also served as chair of ACEP’s State Legislation and Regulatory Committees. On the state level, he has served as president of the California Chapter of ACEP.
Dr. Kivela earned his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in emergency medicine at the Los Angeles County-Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He received his MBA at the University of Texas.
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.
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