NAEMSP members gather to talk medical care access, quality
The organization has become a prominent advocate for legislation such as the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act
WASHINGTON — Members of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) gather in Washington, D.C. this week to advocate for the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act (H.R. 304), and other issues affecting access to and quality of out-of-hospital emergency medical care, such as EMS payment reform.
NAEMSP is an organization of physicians and other professionals partnering to provide leadership and foster excellence in the subspecialty of EMS medicine. In pursuing its mission to improve out-of-hospital emergency medical care, NAEMSP has become a prominent advocate for legislation such as the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act. This bill would amend federal law to allow EMS care providers to dispense certain life-saving medications that would otherwise require them to obtain physician permission and potentially delay critical patient care. Also known as a standing order, the ability for EMS care providers to administer these medications was put in question by pending Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulations. The bill passed the House in January and now awaits reintroduction in the Senate.
Another priority issue is reforming EMS care payment to reflect the medical care provided rather than the distance the patient was transported. Although EMS began as a hospital transportation service, it is transitioning to prehospital medical care, a strategy proven to save lives, particularly in rural regions.
“As EMS physicians we’re usually in the field, helping to save lives, but this week we’re in Washington to help protect patient access to out-of-hospital emergency medical care and medication,” said Dr. Ritu Sahni, Chair of NAEMSP’s Advocacy Committee. “As a patient-centered organization, NAEMSP is not beholden to any group and is uniquely positioned to be a policy leader, not only in the EMS but in health care as a whole.”
Dr. Sahni noted that attendance at the NAEMSP Government Relations Academy held this week was more than double that of last year, indicating a deeper engagement in the policies and programs at the federal level that impact members’ local communities. The Academy provides members with insight into the political system so that they may develop the skill set to be effective advocates in their local communities. Attendees also participate in NAEMT’s EMS on the Hill Day, which NAEMSP sponsors.
At the Academy, NAEMSP awarded Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) with the 2017 Friends of EMS Award in recognition for their leadership on the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act.
In presenting the award to Rep. Hudson, NAEMSP President, Dr. Brent Myers said, “We are proud to present the Friends of EMS award to Rep. Hudson for his tireless work championing the Protecting Patient Access legislation. He is well deserving of this award, which is reserved for leaders who have produced change to improve national EMS policy. Rep. Hudson was crucial to the bill’s success in the House and continues to be a valued partner in NAEMSP’s mission to improve out-of-hospital emergency medical care.” Senator Cassidy’s schedule did not permit him to accept the award in-person.
“I’m grateful to be recognized by NAEMSP and the EMS community for my bipartisan legislation, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act,” said Rep. Hudson. “I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on bipartisan solutions to ensure EMS physicians can do their jobs as effectively and safely as possible to best serve patients.”