ACEP Urges Increased Emergency Medicine Representation on National Commission on Children and Disasters
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today expressed concerns about a new report delivered to the White House and Congress by the National Commission on Children and Disasters. The organization urged the Commission to include more representation from emergency physicians, the group of physicians considered the experts in disaster preparedness, and emergency nurses who care for these victims. Of the three physicians on the commission, none are emergency physicians, and all are pediatricians who normally do not respond to childhood medical emergencies.
"Emergency physicians and emergency nurses are at the front lines of responding to disasters, and it's critical to have them represented on this commission," said Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. "Emergency physicians treat more than 24 million children in emergency departments every year and are the most experienced of all doctors in treating childhood emergencies. Policymakers must include these experts."
Dr. Schneider said the Commission did include an emergency physician on one of the subgroups, but not until after the Commission began meeting, and no emergency nurses were included. She also cited the inclusion of outdated and inaccurate statistics about emergency department capabilities as evidence for the need for greater emergency medicine and pediatric emergency medicine input. In contrast to the report's claim that only 6 percent of emergency departments are properly equipped for children, the actual percentage is closer to 90 percent. In addition, the list on which those quotes were based has been updated by ACEP and the American Academy of Pediatrics to better reflect the actual practices in emergency departments (http://www.acep.org/practres.aspx?id=29134).
Also missing from the report was any mention of the policy statement on the ACEP/AAP Emergency Information Form and Emergency Preparedness for children with special health care needs, which specifically addressed the role of electronic and non-electronic information sources during disasters.
"Making sure that America is prepared to care for children in a disaster is very important, and emergency physicians agree that a cohesive national strategy is needed to support the critical needs of children before, during and after disasters," said Dr. Schneider. "This effort has to be part of a comprehensive approach to providing care for the victims of disasters of all ages. We also need comprehensive strategies to help all Americans including children, the elderly and people with special needs. Emergency physicians are dedicated to making sure all Americans are prepared to respond to disasters, and emergency physicians are available 24/7 to help in any way we can."
The report is 2010 Report to the President and Congress by the National Commission on Children and Disasters (AHRQ Publication No. 10-M037).
ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing 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. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.
SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians