CO ACEP President’s Corner – May 2024

Rebecca Kornas, MD, FACEP
President-Elect CO ACEP

Still Fighting the Good Fight

We as emergency medicine physicians are not the most patient of people. EM docs often like to identify a problem and come up with a solution, promptly. For example, a 50 y/o man presents to the emergency department with left lower quadrant pain and is found to have ruptured diverticulitis (problem) and thereafter is dispositioned to an admission to the surgery team on antibiotics (solution, at least for our ED flow). When a problem is more complex, we can rise to the occasion but if there is no immediate solution at hand, it can be challenging for us to stay engaged and focused.

The Long Game
Advocacy is complex and multifaceted. Staying involved without becoming disheartened requires realizing that advocacy for our specialty is a long game. A marathon (or perhaps even an ultramarathon) and not a sprint. It seems like everything happens very slowly and then can come together all at once. Making that connection with a legislator during the preceding session over one issue, can open their door to you to be their medical content expert in the ensuing session and help to inform their votes on issues relating to medicine. Your team at Colorado ACEP has continued showing up, building relationships, being a constant reliable presence, and we have accrued political capital down at the capitol. We are currently on the short list of groups that legislators look towards to inform their decisions on bills that touch the house of medicine.

2024 Legislative Session EM Highlights
This year has been another wild ride down at the Capitol and your Colorado ACEP team has kept our boots on the ground in Denver fighting the good fight for our profession and our patients. We came up with proactive legislation to batch like claims for arbitration that have rallied support from national ACEP in some of our battles to protect small businesses and our state’s small democratic groups from challenges with arbitration in the state. Alas, this bill was killed in committee. Nonetheless, we shall persevere and will likely come back next year with some stronger arguments and more bill sponsors. In an effort to get in front of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s (CTLA) attempts to remove non-economic damage (NED) caps in Colorado and remove the protections from peer review (ballot initiatives 150, 274, 275, 276 and 277) we have joined a coalition of medical societies, COPIC and hospitals via the Coloradans Protecting Patient Access (CPPA). Where we get weekly updates and a seat on the CPPA board of directors to discuss and strategize how to best tackle this attack on our medical profession. Sen Mullica’s SB 24-130 with its reasonable increase in NED malpractice caps from $250k (currently 5thlowest in the US) to $600k (squarely middle of the pack) was introduced and passed out of committee, but it seems there is more to come on this matter even this late in the session. There are ongoing negotiations regarding CTLA’s ballot initiatives and how malpractice caps in Colorado will evolve in the coming years.

What You Can Do
Give Your Time -I encourage you to join your professional Society of choice. I am biased, I suggest that all emergency physicians join the American College of Emergency Physicians(ACEP) and our Colorado Chapter (then get all your friends to join too). The work that our team does is unrivaled and well worth both our chapter and national dues, in and of itself. The Colorado Medical Society (CMS) is our overarching medical society in Colorado which would be good to get involved if you were interested in the broader ramifications across the house of medicine or you can join your local county medical society (Adams, Boulder, Denver, etc.). If you want to think about policy from a federal perspective and see how things trickle down from federal changes to our local practice, delving into the American Medical Association could be for you. Figure out what works for you. Perhaps you join and then start getting involved with committee work, jump on the ACEP Board of Directors meeting (even months 12-2p on 1stThursdays), attend a fundraiser or come down to the capitol and learn to ways of Dan Jablan (our fabulous Colorado ACEP lobbyist). Or maybe just joining and perusing the updates from leadership is more your style. Respond to the voter voice requests to send and personalize letters to your representatives when this is suggested by your local ACEP leader or government affairs lead. Even covering a shift for one of your colleagues, who is contributing their time to meet with legislators or testifying in committee would be a fantastic way to contribute to our advocacy efforts.

Give Your Dollars
It is in your interest as an EM doc to contribute $50-100 (or more) to NEMPAC (ACEP’s national PAC) monthly to help us continue to have conversations in Washington DC and back in your home district with legislators. It would be fantastic if everyone donated $50 (max donation per person yearly) to the small donor committee of Colorado ACEP to build our ability to support our legislative champions.

We Can Do It
Getting involved with legislative advocacy and fighting for our profession as emergency physicians and our patients sometimes feels like a Sisyphean task. We do not always get what we want, but most of the time, we get what we need. However, we must keep showing up and being a part of the conversation to protect our specialty and continue to allow this to be the best specialty in medicine. We are always looking to build our bench and would love to help you get more involved. Please reach out to me ( or our Exec Director, Suzanne Hamilton ( with your interest or concerns that we should be addressing for EM across the great state of Colorado.

Thanks to you all for the care that you provide to the people of our state.

Keep fighting the good fight. I will be right there with you.