First, thank you for all of your hard and exemplary work during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent crisis. Emergency Medicine physicians are the true frontline physicians. We see these patients before most anyone else and not always under ideal conditions. Lack of PPE, negative pressure examination rooms, adequate testing, hospital capacity are all difficulties that we have faced regardless of the type or location of the emergency department. I also applaud your families who have had to endure the risk that you may bring disease home with you. I know that many of you have isolated from your loved ones for weeks.
I cannot help but think how much and how quickly things changed and escalated for all of us since our annual meeting in Shreveport on March 11. Thanks to our Shreveport members and to LSU Health for hosting such a wonderful event
Surprisingly to those not in our specialty, the financial difficulties that we now face are ominous, and we all hope and pray for some normalcy in our Emergency Departments. Ironically, we now miss our frequent flyers and cases that we might often refer to as mundane. We all look ahead to when our volumes are increased and consistent.
I appreciate all the efforts of our members to advocate for our profession and especially our specialty. During the crisis, we have had our enemies try to undermine our ability to practice and earn a living. Unfortunately, efforts to attack us have been made by cowardly attaching their agenda to stimulus and funding bills. We must continue to advocate for us to bill and collect for the care we provide as well as the ability to ensure that patients are able to see emergency physicians and not significantly less qualified personnel seeking to replace and while never duplicating our vast education and experience.
On April 28, our chapter was very well represented as we had phone calls with our congressional delegation during ACEP’s virtual hill day. It was a great opportunity for our members to educate influential policymakers on the issues we face as well as give a firsthand account of the frontline war stories from our respective departments. We were clearly heard, and our efforts during this difficult time were appreciated.
The future of our chapter and our specialty is closely tied to this pandemic. Our physicians have been leaders through this crisis and will continue to serve as examples for the entire house of medicine. Thank you for being what you are: caring and compassionate clinicians for all patients and diseases, no matter the time of day or working conditions.
Roland S. Waguespack, III, MD, MBA, FACEP
President, Louisiana Chapter, American College of Emergency Physicians
On Wednesday, March 11, our annual meeting was held in Shreveport and hosted by LSU and put together by Jen Rivera, our ACEP chapter administrative assistant. It was a wonderful day of education and comradery led by Dr. Angela Cornelius, who gave a talk on her firsthand experience with Covid-19 during her military deployment. Thanks to our other speakers Dr. Tripp and Dr. Van Meter. We were also treated to presentations from Dr. Ryan Blanton, a current board member of ACEP. We also received a legislative update from Harry Monroe with ACEP. Thanks to our sponsors as well. R1 and Jamie Hildalgo provided breakfast (and a great raffle item of a bottle of LSU national championship wine), and lunch was supplied by Wes Turner from AstraZeneca. In hindsight, we were pleasantly blind to what we would be facing in the next few days as the Covid-19 crisis was brewing in our state. Thanks to all board members who have served our chapter well, and we welcome our new board members who will bring new insights and views to our leadership. We all look forward to our 2021 annual meeting and expected normalcy.
ACEP Virtual Hill Day:
On Tuesday, April 28, several members across the state had teleconferences with our Louisiana congressional delegation and respective staff members. Key issues that were discussed were PPE, liability, adequate payment/coverage for our services. The meetings were productive, informative, and educational for all involved. The telephone calls were effective, but we look forward to meeting with these individuals face-to-face next year back in Washington, DC. Special thanks to team leads Drs. Fletcher, LeBas, and Waguespack.
Thanks to all physicians who participated: Drs. Aiken, Cornelius, Denham, Kaplan, Muntan, and Shaheen. We also were joined by medical student Blake Denley who will start EM residency this summer.
A common theme in all of our lives is how Covid-19 has changed everything. The Louisiana legislative session is no exception.
ACEP will continue to monitor bills that have interest for our specialty. Please be prepared to advocate quickly and loudly for our profession and for our patients in these very different legislative times.
Balance billing, liability reform, scope of practice are all topics that will be followed closely and acted upon by our leaders with the help of our entire membership.
Our longtime director, Nancy Bourgeois, retired at the end of 2019 after many years of service. ACEP national office now serves the day-to-day operations of our chapter, and it has been a smooth and fruitful transition. We look forward to the continued growth and success of our strong chapter.