Carson-Tahoe Emergency Physicians, Carson City, NV, has been in practice for over 35 years. In 2020, the group expanded to 26 emergency bays and has six FastTrack emergency bays. And Carson Tahoe Health is the first and only organization in Nevada to receive the esteemed Lantern Award from the Emergency Nurses Association. The ENA recognizes just 25 emergency departments worldwide that exemplify exceptional practice and innovative performance. Here’s more information on The Lantern Award and for information on Carson Tahoe Emergency Physicians, please click here.
Excerpts from a conversation with David Strull, MD, Chief Business Officer
Dr. Strull began his career with Carson-Tahoe Emergency Physicians (CTEP) and worked clinically for over 33 years. He continues to lead the business side of the group. Dr. Strull said 2020 was the most challenging year he has seen given the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the clinical challenges with the introduction of a new disease into the community, David said, the personal risk to doctors, nurses and the whole team combined with the sudden decline in patient volume, particularly in March-April, added up to an unusual and difficult year. Dr. Strull points out that most of the volume returned later in the year but it still has not returned fully to pre-COVID levels.
Dr. Strull was aware of EDPMA but it was the COVID-focused information that pushed him to join. EDPMA provided detailed information about COVID relief packages and advocated for emergency medicine throughout 2020. (See 2020 EDPMA Advocacy Successes.) Dr. Strull realized that he needed to better understand the various Federal programs and take advantage of the webinars that helped clarify the Paycheck Protection Act, the CARES Act and other programs, and he was pleased that EDPMA was a leader in advocating for emergency medicine physicians and participating in likeminded coalitions. In addition to all of the Coronavirus-related information, Dr. Strull discussed the critical importance of the Surprise Medical Billing (SMB) Act and the need to get involved in the operationalizing of this legislation. Dr. Strull is aware that this will be a top priority for EDPMA in 2021. And David points out that Nevada has its own Surprise Medical Billing bill. Thus, how the state and Federal bills will work in a real-world environment is of critical importance.
Dr. Strull also discussed that one key challenge in emergency medicine is that cognitive services are undervalued as compared with procedural services. David said, “emergency medicine physicians are often reimbursed at a lower level because they did not perform a procedure, such as surgery, but instead, provided an analysis and recommendation to treat the individual.” Dr. Strull believes this imbalance in the House of Medicine should be addressed. David also commented on the important work that EDPMA does in fighting commercial payers who try to limit reimbursements without reasonable justification. Dr. Strull appreciates the work that EDPMA does to rectify these situations. While David has not yet had time to join an EDPMA Committee, he plans to do so in 2021 so he can be directly involved in the idea generation and action plans for this year.