Legislative Update, LAC 2020

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Well, like every other conference in the era of “Rona” curve-flattening, this year’s LAC pivoted to a virtual meeting.  To be sure it is a lot of fun cruising around (and under) Capitol Hill to meet our legislators, but like most Nevadans, I do not appreciate the heat and humidity of D.C., particularly while wearing a jacket and tie.  So, attending a meeting in shorts and the comfort of my home was quite enjoyable!

We met with two of our four representatives, including Rep Horsford on the call, and both senators, including Sen Cortez Masto on the call. 

There were no specific bills that we were pushing this year, but instead there were a number of issues that we wanted to discuss:

  1. PPE was front and center.  Basically, the “ask” is to ramp up the Defense Production Act so that we can have plenty of gear to protect us (and our families).  Let’s face it, we need to have a long term plan.
  2. Hazard pay.  Everyone seems to acknowledge that we are risking our lives every day in the ED, but less discussed are the costs associated with going to work during a pandemic or missing shifts because of quarantine.  The government should establish a supplemental fund, similar to the 9/11 fund, that reimburses physicians directly by using their NPI.
  3. Liability protection.  We want civil immunity for any alleged injury or death while providing medical care during the pandemic.
  4. Fair payment/coverage.  We still need to fix surprise billing/fair payment, but let’s get this sorted out when we are on more stable ground.  In the meantime, we need to keep the doors open.

We will see how things unfold, but I am confident that our representatives heard us.  Just like when we roll into the office, we started off each meeting by pointing out that we were there on behalf of 325 emergency physicians.  I can tell you that number gets attention. 

Every single member of NVACEP is important in giving us a collective voice.  Thank you for your membership.

Gregory Alan Juhl, MD, FACEP
NV ACEP State Legislative Liaison