In 2006, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) advanced the concept of "coordinated, regionalized, and accountable emergency care systems" to address significant problems with the delivery of emergency medical care in the United States. Achieving this vision requires the thoughtful implementation of well-aligned, system-level structures and processes that enhance access to emergency care and improve patient outcomes at a sustainable cost. Currently, the delivery of emergency medical care is supported by numerous administrative systems, including economic; reimbursement; legal and regulatory structures; licensure, credentialing, and accreditation processes; medicolegal systems; and quality reporting mechanisms. In addition, many regionalized systems may not optimize patient outcomes because of current administrative barriers that make it difficult for providers to deliver the best care. However, certain administrative barriers may also threaten the sustainability of integration efforts or prevent them altogether. This article identifies significant administrative challenges to integrating networks of emergency care in four specific areas: reimbursement, medical-legal, quality reporting mechanisms, and regulatory aspects. The authors propose a research agenda for indentifying optimal approaches that support consistent access to quality emergency care with improved outcomes for patients, at a sustainable cost. Researching administrative challenges will involve careful examination of the numerous natural experiments in the recent past and will be crucial to understand the impact as we embark on a new era of health reform.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine