Bill would increase payments for ED physicians

A new bill being considered by Congress would take steps intended to help ease the worsening situation in the nation's hospital emergency departments, a problem only made worse by the faltering economy.

The Emergency Services Act of 2009 would increase Medicare payments for emergency and trauma physicians, which would hopefully entice more of them to work on call for emergency departments. Higher Medicare payments would offset the losses such physicians suffer when they treat uninsured patients, advocates say.

Another provision of the bill would create standards for emergency department boarding policies, as well as diversions to other hospitals, rules which physician supporters say are needed to make sure such practices are standardized.

The bill would also create a bipartisan commission on access to emergency medical services, examining issues such as ED crowding, the shortage of on-call specialists and medical liability.

To get more information on the bill:
- read this piece from The Birmingham News

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