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ACEP Hails House Passage of Campbell-Anti-Trust Bill; Warns that Senate Patient Protection Bill Contains Flawed Emergency Care Provisions

Washington, DC The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today hailed the U.S. House of Representatives on the overwhelming passage of the "Quality Health-Care Coalition Act of 1999" (H.R. 1304), which will allow physicians to negotiate with health plans for better care for their patients. In addition, reacting to Senate patient protection legislation that passed last night, ACEP leaders said the bill falls short of covering all Americans with health insurance and contains flawed provisions for covering emergency services and for coordinating a patient's post-stabilization care.

"The House passage of the Campbell anti-trust bill [H.R. 1304] will improve patient care, because it places physicians on a level playing field with health plans, increasing their ability to advocate for their patients," said Michael T. Rapp, president of ACEP. "The bill will help emergency physicians in private practice who work as independent contractors and are currently banned from collective bargaining. The House has taken an important step forward in helping physicians negotiate on behalf of their patients for better responsiveness from their health plans. Emergency physicians are urging the Senate to pass companion legislation."

With respect to the latest Senate patient protection bill, Dr. Rapp said the emergency care provisions are flawed and will cover only 56 million of the 161 million insured people in the United States. He said the two-hour time limit for health plans to respond to an emergency physician seeking to coordinate post-stabilization care is still not appropriate. It would cause unwarranted delay, impede efficient operation of emergency departments, and prevent prompt coordination of needed care for patients.

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ACEP is a national emergency medicine medical specialty society with more than 21,000 members. ACEP is committed to improving the quality of emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and a Government Services Chapter representing emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

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