Washington, D.C.—In response to the recently passed end-of-year package that includes legislation to protect patients from surprise bills, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) released the following statement:
“ACEP has advocated for more than two years at the federal level to protect patients from surprise medical bills, and we’re pleased Congress has passed a thoughtful solution that should not endanger access to critical, life-saving care.
“Throughout this process, ACEP has been resolute in advocating for an accessible independent dispute resolution (IDR) process that takes patients out of the middle and provides a mechanism to fairly resolve out-of-network disputes between providers and insurers. While we still have concerns that the 90-day ‘cooling off’ period that slows down access to IDR may be detrimental to smaller emergency care practices, many of which are in rural areas, we look forward to working with Congress and the administration as this policy is implemented to ensure that smaller, independent practices are not disadvantaged.
“We are also grateful that the final legislation includes other important provisions to protect patients, including limiting deductibles for out-of-network emergency care to be no higher than in-network; a reasonable payment standard; and the requirement for insurers to print a policyholder’s deductibles on their insurance card—a concept ACEP conceived and requested of Congress at the start of federal efforts to legislate on surprise billing.
"On behalf of the millions of patients we treat each year, we are thankful that the threat of receiving a surprise bill will no longer deter people from seeking the emergency care they need.”