eNews 167 | May 2022


May is Mental Health Awareness Month and VACEP has been advocating for the health of your patients, your workplaces, and you.

We started the month at ACEP’s Leadership & Advocacy Conference in D.C. (recap below), advocating for the removal of the X-waiver and against further federal Medicare cuts. 

  • On the X-waiver, big thanks are due to Virginia emergency docs for the calls and letters you’ve sent to federal representatives. Congress voted strongly in favor of a bill that will hopefully remove the barrier to prescribing buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (by the way, one of the most popular pages of our website is the instructions and link to quickly get your X-waiver).
  • There are a few updates on the Medicaid Downcoding/fair pay issue in Virginia.
  • And as we ramp up state efforts to combat workplace violence in EDs, below, you can take immediate action to push this effort at the federal level.

Finally, this was yet another tragic week in American history. ACEP President Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP issued a statement on the Uvalde tragedy (she is a practicing emergency physician in nearby San Antonio).

If you have ideas or want to get involved on any of the issues in our May newsletter, contact VACEP Executive Director Sarah Marshall. 

Attend VACEP's quarterly Board meeting via Zoom.

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Members can join VACEP via Zoom for our Board meeting on Wednesday, June 8. If you've never attended a Board meeting, this is a great way to get involved. You don't need to participate; you can simply be present to listen and learn.

Register Now/Add to Calendar

The Federal Big 3: Due Process, Workplace Violence, Medicare Cuts


Earlier this month, a team of VACEP members attended the ACEP Leadership & Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C. Our geographic proximity to the nation’s capital offers the ability for many Virginia doctors to attend and bring our state-level expertise to national-level issues. While the focus was on federal legislation, Virginia has seen its own share of similar concerns. 

Read about our time at the Conference.

10-Second Poll: Communications Platform

VACEP is exploring the use of a message board, texting app, or some form of system for members to communicate with one another — outside of emails.

Would you use a dedicated VACEP communications platform to share resources and information?
Yes, that would be helpful.
No, let's stick to email.
Depends whether it's easy to use.
No, I cannot handle another thing to log into.

Steps to Stop ED Violence


VACEP is rallying support from U.S. Senators for S.4182, a bill to create enforceable standards to ensure healthcare and social services workplaces implement violence prevention, tracking, and response systems.

We need Virginia emergency physicians to ask the two U.S. Senators from Virginia, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, to co-sponsor the bill. 

At the link, find a pre-written letter that you can send to them, as 25 VACEP members already done. The process takes as little as two minutes. If you care to do so, you may also add a personal story to the letter.

Send a Letter to Virginia's Senators

Some of the comments from Virginia's emergency physicians to Senators:

"We routinely take care of those prone to extreme violence, those intoxicated or belligerent, and those too violent or agitated even for jail. ED physicians are unable to hide personal contact info and addresses from disgruntled patients and families and can't even protect ourselves after work within our homes. Just this week, a gun went off in the ED closest to my home where I routinely work by a patient assaulting a police officer, and another officer was hit. The physical and verbal abuse and violence toward all ED staff is out of control. This bill is a decent start, but we need even more. We are sitting ducks."

"I have been practicing as a full time Emergency Medicine Physician in Virginia for the past 30 years. I have been assaulted by patients hundreds of times; I have been punched, kicked, spit on, and had objects thrown at me and weapons pointed at me. All this from the patients whose lives I'm trying to save. I don't expect patients to thank me for doing my job. I do however insist on the same rights and protection other professionals, and society at large, receive. And I insist on being able to perform my work without fearing for my safety and the safety of the other Emergency Department staff."

"I have frequently had to check my own nurses and techs into the department as patients after combative patients have punched and kicked them in the face and other areas, leading to fractures and bleeding. This is on top of verbal abuse and threats to follow my staff home, or to shoot/stab them when they leave the department."

ACEP Calls for Stronger Protections for Emergency Physicians Who Raise Workplace Safety Concerns

ACEP spoke directly to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during a public meeting about whistleblower protections. ACEP Council Speaker Kelly Gray-Eurom, MD, MMM, FACEP, raised the need for due process protections for emergency physicians on the job.

Deadline Imminent: Apply to the VACEP Leadership & Advocacy Fellowship by May 31 (that's Tuesday)

Applications for the '22-'23 Leadership & Advocacy fellowship are open. Hear from recent L&A fellow Darwin Castillo, MD, MBA, FACEP on what his experience was like with the program (plus: bonus podcast with Darwin).

The Medical Society of Virginia's Advocacy Summit is Friday, June 17 from noon to 4 p.m.

VACEP Member and need Media Training?

VACEP communications partner Jeff Kelley recently developed modern guidelines for working with reporters and editors.

If you are a member and would like a free copy, email him. He can also answer any questions you may have and offer additional insights on working with members of the media.

Notes from ACEP

Upcoming Webinars (ACEP sign in required to register) 

  • June 1, Noon | Weird Baby Stuff: Managing Brief Resolved Unexplained Events | Register
  • June 16, 1 p.m. | Breaking Down Barriers to ED Care for People with Sickle Cell Disease | Register

View More.

Watch an update from ACEP President Dr. Gillian Schmitz on ACEP's progress on workforce issues to stem the coming oversupply of emergency physicians.

Are you a Graduating Resident?: Taking this 10-minute survey about the current job market to help inform ACEP's workforce efforts.

The May issue of ACEP Now features articles focused on behavioral health:

Register and book your hotel for ACEP22, Oct. 1-4.

Virginia College of Emergency Physicians | (804) 297-3170 | E-mail | Website
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