Debbie Fletcher, MD, FACEP, LA Councilor
Your Louisiana ACEP chapter was very active this year for council. Overall, there were a record number of resolutions submitted to council – 82 (and average is typically 40-50). Louisiana chapter submitted 11 of the 82, in addition to a few others submitted by those of us working with other individuals and sections. The overarching theme of our resolutions was to improve the ED life of working EM docs. We focused on issues of transparency, conflicts of interest, scope of practice encroachment, promoting EM physicians in marketing campaign, among others.
The Council started off with online asynchronous testimony available for each resolution on the ACEP website. The asynchronous testimony option was started last year when we could not meet in person due to Covid, and it was well-received so continued again this year. Unfortunately, not many members actually used this to express their opinions on the issues as it was not well-marketed. (Hopefully we can improve on this in the future.) Each resolution was assigned to a Reference Committee, which went through the resolutions and the asynchronous testimony to plan a preliminary report.
In-person Council started off Friday afternoon for us with the Small Chapter Caucus. This is a great way for the smaller chapters to get together and create some leverage/consensus on some of the discussions. We had a lively discussion. Saturday morning, live testimony was held on each resolution in the four Reference Committees. I was on a RefCom and it was an interesting vantage point to see how the process works. Following the live testimony, the RefCom went over all of the comments from asynchronous and live testimony, wordsmithed some resolutions, amended others, and came to a final consensus to present to the ACEP council for voting – the options were to adopt, not adopt, adopt as amended/substituted, or to refer to the board of directors for action. Saturday afternoon, we had the candidates for ACEP board of directors, vice speaker, and president give basically “campaign speeches” and discuss their platforms and plans in smaller groups. Following this, there was a cocktail reception to meet the candidates individually.
Sunday was the big day – Council day! Dr. Gary Katz was Council Speaker and Dr. Kelly Gray-Eurom Vice Speaker, and both did an excellent job keeping the Council on task, and also entertained. We had an electronic voting platform to vote with our electronic devices. Each Reference Committee submitted their official reports to Council, with a unanimous consent agenda as noted to be for adoption, for adoption as amended or substituted, not for adoption, or for referral to the BOD. Anyone who disagreed with the recommendations could stand up and ask for the resolution to be extracted, meaning it would have more discussion on the council floor. Most of the resolutions went as per the unanimous consent agenda, but there were many that were extracted and had great discussions on the floor. The electronic voting had a few glitches, but overall it was a great method to see the results counted immediately on the big screen. Speaking of “glitches” – lunch was a disaster. Councilors decided to have a working lunch, so we had to get our sandwiches, etc. from a location FAR away from the meeting room – Dr. Katz said it was like walking to the airport and back. We definitely got our steps in for the day.
Some highlights for us for Council:
1: Resolution 10 – Passed – on issues referred to the Board of Directors from Council – the BOD must give initial report 45 days after Council, and give quarterly reports on the progress of the resolution if it has not had final action.
2: Resolution 18 – Passed- submitted by Dr. Luke LeBas (Louisiana) and Dr. Howie Mell – to review the ACEP conflict of interest statement/policy to include family members/partners/children of leadership.
3: Resolution 19 – Passed as amended to keep resolved #1 – submitted by Louisiana ACEP chapter – adds that all councilors, alternate councilors, or anyone else who may speak on council floor to complete a disclosure form to the council meeting with specific questions regarding potential conflicts that may be of importance to the council at large to be aware.
4: Resolution 23 – Passed as amended – submitted by Louisiana ACEP chapter – to have media marketing campaign on value of emergency medicine physician in EM care, and amended to be “board-certified physician”.
5: Resolution 70- Passed as amended – Creation of Specialized scope expansion advocacy teams for state level advocacy
6: Resolution 74 – Passed as amended – submitted by ACEP Workforce section (I am current chair) that ACEP support anyone, physicians or non-physician practitioners, who engage in the practice of medicine to be regulated by the respective state medical board of their respective states, and that ACEP work with the AMA to create a universal definite of the practice of medicine to include the ordering of diagnostic tests, diagnosing clinical condition/disease, prescribing of medications, and/or ordering of treatments on human beings.
Following the Council voting on resolutions, we voted on the new leadership positions for this year.
- President-Elect – Dr. Christopher King
- Board of Directors – Dr. Anthony Cirillo and Dr. JT Finnell were elected as incumbents, and Dr. Heidi Knowles and Dr. Rami Khoury were newly-elected to the BOD
- Council Speaker – Dr. Kelly Gray-Euron – unopposed
- Council Vice-Speaker – Dr. Melissa Costello
ACEP awards included Louisiana EM physician and prior ACEP President Dr. Jay Kaplan. He received the John G. Wiegenstein Leadership Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by ACEP.
Though not during Council, later during the week of SA, EMRA held their elections. Louisiana Ochsner resident Dr. Blake Denley was elected to the EMRA board of directors as member at large.
Council is now over for this year, but we are already looking to next year! Some of the proposed Louisiana resolutions that did not pass were close, and can be adjusted/wordsmithed to gain more traction. We need to work with other chapters and combine resources and votes. Additionally, we really need ALL members to weigh in during the asynchronous testimony online time – this is seriously important as the Reference Committee actually tallies those opinions to help make the preliminary reports prior to live testimony. Louisiana had a few comments because we submitted so many resolutions – but it was all because of our passion for individual EM physician welfare overall. We made a joke that this is what we do during a hurricane – write resolutions.
We have more ideas for next year — but hopefully without the hurricanes. Please get involved with LA ACEP. We will be fighting scope of practice encroachment by NPs and PAs in the spring on a state level, and making ACEP better on a national level.