SAN DIEGO — The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today announced that Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, of Maitland, Florida, assumed the presidency of the organization during its annual meeting in San Diego, California. He will serve a 1-year term.
“As president, I will continue our fight for a patient’s right to access emergency care and insist that health insurance companies provide fair coverage to all emergency patients seeking that care,” said Dr. Friedman. “If a patient seeks emergency care 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. Patients should not be forced to diagnose themselves out of fear their insurance won’t pay for it.”
Dr. Friedman added that there is a national standard — the prudent layperson standard — that is federal law, which is designed to protect patients from this practice, but it currently under assault by the health insurance industry. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), for example, is telling policyholders in several states — don’t come to the emergency room unless you “know” it’s a medical emergency. In July, ACEP, along with the Medical Association of Georgia, filed a federal lawsuit against Anthem BCBS in Georgia to force them to reverse this controversial policy.
“This is dangerous,” said Dr. Friedman. "How can we possibly expect people with no medical expertise to know the difference between something minor or something life-threatening, such as an ovarian cyst versus a burst appendix."
ACEP’s Board of Directors elected Dr. Friedman in a special vote in June following the resignation of President-Elect John Rogers, MD, FACEP. That election was ratified by the ACEP Council today.
Dr. Friedman is the Vice President for Governmental Affairs for Florida Emergency Physicians (FEP) of TeamHealth. He was voted to ACEP’s Board in 2012 and 2015. Dr Friedman was a trustee of the Emergency Medicine Foundation (2011-17) and served as it’s Chair in 2015. Dr. Friedman is also actively involved with emergency medicine advocacy, having served as chair of ACEP’s Federal Governmental Affairs Committee during the Affordable Care Act (ACA) deliberations as well as Chapter President and Government Affairs chair for the Florida College of Emergency Physicians. For the past year, he has served as ACEP’s Vice President.
Dr. Friedman also served as one of the founding architects behind the creation of the Emergency Medicine Action Fund (EMAF), which was created to increase resources for regulatory lobbying in response to passage of the ACA. He earned his medical degree at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Michigan State University.
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.