MUST Act of 2007: ACEP Update

March 9th I wrote about Congresswoman Mary Bono’s proposed MUST Act which would modify the tax code and effectively allow physicians to deduct unpaid emergency care off their taxes.  The American College of Surgeons is on board, but nothing was mentioned on her site about Emergency Medicine, the biggest group of physicians that are impacted by EMTALA and would be affected by this bill.

There’s been nothing on the ACEP site, so I emailed ACEP President Brian Keaton, who was kind enough to respond today:

We have been working with Sen. Bono’s staff on this one and are supporting the bill. We agree that it is a great idea, but the bill has some technical flaws that would, as currently written, exclude about a third of our members from eligibility for the benefit.

Best Wishes!

Aah, so they have at least one of the concerns I did in the March 9th blog post, and the only one affecting 1/3 of ACEP is the “Board Certification” requirement (this is just a guess, but it makes sense from here).  SO, let’s hope they can get the Board Certification requirement dropped for this bill.


An aside: I’m all for Board Certification, and think it’s both valuable and necessary.  My desire to exclude BC from this legislation is based on basic fairness, that if the doc is doing the job they deserve to be paid for it.  BC will work itself out over the next decade or two.


  1. Every ER doc in the country should be writing their congressmen (or congresswomen) and senators urging them to support the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act, H.R. 882 and S. 1003 (a version was just introduced in the senate this past week). Not only does it provide a financial reward to ER docs, but it also addresses some of the system problems that hinder our practice, and this will greatly improve things for all our patients. In reality, this bill has a much better chance of passing this year than the MUST act, but it is certainly worth supporting the MUST Act as well, I wrote my representative about it 2 weeks ago.
    For years lawyers and insurance companies have used legislation to make it more difficult and expensive for physicians to care for their patients, as physicians we need to be a lot more aggressive in working within the system to fix some of these problems, and these bills are a great start.