Pardee UNC Health Care Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Greg McCarty Meets with Legislators on Capitol Hill to Advocate for Mental Health Care, Solutions to Surprise Billing
Pardee UNC Health Care emergency medicine physician Greg McCarty, M.D., joined peers from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to meet with local and state legislators on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to advocate for improvements in mental health services and solutions to surprise billing. Dr. McCarty met with Congressman Patrick McHenry, Congressman Mark Meadows, Senator Thom Tillis and their aides to advocate for the “Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act,” which was introduced into Congress on May 3, 2019.
According to ACEP, approximately one in five adults in the United States has some form of mental illness. Additionally, emergency department visits have nearly doubled for children who have thoughts of suicide or have attempted suicide.
“For many patients with an acute mental health issue, the emergency department is the only place for them to go,” said Dr. McCarty. “Emergency departments across the country have established solutions to help support these patients, including the use of telepsychiatry, bed availability tracking and management tools, regional emergency psychiatric units and improved transportation services. However, it can take hours or even days to locate appropriate follow-up or inpatient care in the community for these patients. Every community has its own needs, and the ‘Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act’ would provide essential funding to help communities establish and develop programs that work best for them.”
During their time on Capitol Hill, Dr. McCarty and his ACEP colleagues also advocated for protecting emergency patients from surprise bills by improving transparency from insurance companies regarding deductibles, particularly for out-of-network care.
“During an emergency, most patients don’t get to choose where they receive medical care,” said Dr. McCarty. “They should be able to get care where they are and not have to drive two hours to another location that is in their insurance network. We encouraged our representatives to support transparency in billing and not penalizing patients for going out of network for emergency care.”
To learn more about emergency services at Pardee, visit www.pardeehospital.org/care-treatment/emergency-medicine.
Pardee UNC Health Care is a not-for-profit community hospital founded in 1953 and is managed by UNC Health Care. The hospital is licensed for 222 acute care beds. Pardee has several locations separate from the main campus, including a comprehensive physician practice network, a cancer center, three urgent care locations and five orthopedic clinics. For more information or to find a physician, visit www.pardeehospital.org.